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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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MSC to host 66th birthday celebration

MSC+Birthday
Photo by Provided
MSC Birthday

On any given day of the week the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M is buzzing with student life. Although it has changed aesthetically since it was first built, the MSC still sits at the heart of campus and serves as a gathering place for all who visit the university.
The MSC turns 66 this year, and marks five years since its most recent renovation. To commemorate the birthday of the landmark often referred to as the living room on campus, University Center & Special Events is hosting an “Out of This World” themed celebration on April 19 in Rudder Plaza from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The purpose of the birthday celebration is to give back to students who bring life to the MSC, according to Judy Marrs, UCEN administrative associate director.
“Initially it started off as a very small event that was set up as a way to say thank you to the students for helping us by providing the student fee to do the renovation and continue with its upkeep,” Marrs said.
In addition to celebrating current students, the celebration provides a time to look back and reflect on changes and improvements at the MSC, Marrs said.
“The facility has a nice balance of preserving the past and looking to the future,” Marrs said. “When we look to the future and look at how we need to adapt and meet the needs of our current student population we want to make sure that there’s still some resemblance of the past for those who came before.”
UCEN communications coordinator Caroline Lopez said the MSC’s greatest accomplishment so far has been creating a more welcoming environment for students.
“A former student said that when he was here in the 80s the MSC was a place that after walking in he immediately wanted to walk out,” Lopez said. “When he visited after the renovation he said it was much more inviting.”
The “Out of This World” theme of the event was chosen as a way to highlight the MSC’s commitment to creating a welcoming space for all students. Recent improvements have been added to the MSC to make the facility more accessible and welcoming to the diverse community on campus, according to Bill Bielamowicz, UCEN director.
“We, to this day, continue to update the MSC with newer styles and whatever students tell us they feel more comfortable with,” Bielamowicz said. “As time goes on we want the MSC to be what the students want it to be. We want it to be inclusive. We want every student, no matter where they came to Texas A&M from, to feel comfortable when they walk into the MSC.”
Marrs chairs the Presidents Inclusion Council Subcommittee for Physical Spaces and said updates to visual branding elements will soon be seen in the MSC. One of these updates will take place on the Howdy wall in the Respect Lounge where “Howdy” is written in the different languages spoken by the student population.
“The word howdy might be there in a language, but it might not be there in the proper script,” Marrs said. “We have come up with a plan to correct that. What we will implement is a much more dynamic, rich, inclusive element, but it will also have an educational piece to it that is going to be really neat.”
The 2017 MSC birthday celebration will be bigger than celebrations in the past and will be the first birthday celebration with food brought in from off-campus. Grand prizes for a student drawing include iPad minis, Beats headphones, an Amazon Echo and more. Five thousand dollars worth of gift cards will be given to students and faculty who participate in games.
Communication junior Allison Vaughn has been working as a USCE marketing student assistant throughout the yearlong process of planning and preparing for the birthday celebration. As a student, Vaughn said the MSC holds a special place in her campus memories. She said she is proud to give back by helping to plan the celebration, which is expected to see attendance of over 2,000.
“Yes, it’s a building and a memorial, but it’s also a happy living place,” Vaughn said. “The students who come in are what make it a happy living place. I’m excited to see people enjoy it. Giveaways, free T-shirts, potatoes, they’re all happy things. I’ve enjoyed planning it and look forward to seeing others enjoy that work, too.”

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