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Monday, October 20, 2014

MU Student Center opens additional offices

Deserted offices in Memorial Union will be used as meeting space.

The MU Student Center opened its doors for its new residents, organizations and departments moving into the facility's newly-constructed offices for the spring semester.

After merging office space to form the Center for Social Justice two years ago, the Women’s Center and the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention, Multicultural and LGBTQ centers are parting ways to each occupy their own separate space.

The Maneater also moved to its new space Thursday.

Student and Auxiliary Services spokeswoman Michelle Froese said the offices in Memorial Union were only temporary, in anticipation of the opening of the MU Student Center. Now that those spaces in Memorial Union are vacant, MU plans to restore them to meeting spaces – their initial purpose.

"We took those rooms offline and made some minor adjustments that would facilitate what the offices were using them for, but the plan has always been to return them to meeting room space," Froese said. "Meeting room space is really at a premium."

The new Women’s Center features a larger lounge, which allows for greater attendance at its programs. It includes a family room, where parents and caregivers can bring their children to study. A lactation station in the center is also now available.

“We’re excited,” Women’s Center Adviser Suzy Day said. “We’re in the large, downstairs lounge, so hopefully we’ll get more foot traffic and more people will see what’s going on in here and feel more comfortable to come in here and hang out.”

With additional workspace areas for students, the new RSVP Center now has a larger lounge and library.

“We’re really excited to actually have a nice, open, inviting and homey space for students, staff and faculty to utilize,” RSVP Center Coordinator Danica Pape said. “It’s definitely bigger than anything we’ve had before. We’re excited to show it off.”

At the LGBTQ Resource Center’s 15th birthday celebration in October, Coordinator Ryan Black said when the center merged with the other organizations to form the CSJ, some members of the community were not comfortable sharing their identity and consequently stopped visiting. He said he hopes the enhanced privacy will cause the center to flourish.

“Those people no longer come to the Center,” Black said. “They no longer hang out at our events, and they are no longer a part of the social justice community on campus, at least within the centers. I am so excited to see how that is going to change when we get to the new office.”

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