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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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Students reminisce about MSC, anticipate opening

 
 

Countless Aggies have walked through the Memorial Student Center during its 71-year history. For the last three years, however, no student has been able to experience the building’s culture and tradition.
Known as Texas A&M University’s living room, the MSC was the primary gathering spot for students on campus, and those who were attending school when it was open still remember what it was like to be inside.
“For me, it was a home away from home,” said Sarah Welborn wildlife and fisheries sciences graduate student. “The MSC was instantly friendly and comforting because so many Aggies had been there before me. I liked the ambiance. I liked the old feel.”
Welborn, who has been an A&M student since 2005, said she can’t wait to explore the nooks and crannies of the new MSC to see if it measures up to the old one.
“I loved the MSC so much,” Welborn said. “I cried like a baby when it closed down. It was not cool.”
Senior human resource development major Gabe Marenco said the MSC unifies the University.
“The MSC is a place that connects all of campus together,” Marenco said. “It unifies Texas A&M. It’s a place where everyone can come hang out, have fun, eat, study and take a nap between classes. I’m really excited to have that sense of camaraderie in the center of campus again.”
Marenco said that one could feel the spirit emanating from the MSC, and during home football games, former students and visitors would crowd the center, further improving the atmosphere.
“I’m excited for the younger classes to get to experience the culture of the MSC and pass it on to future generations,” Marenco said.
The MSC was often a gateway into the Aggie experience.
“As one of the first places I went to on Texas A&M’s campus, it feels like the central part of campus,” senior industrial engineering major Will Davis said. “It’s a good place that encompasses Texas A&M’s spirit.”
In addition to showing Aggies the meaning of other traditions, the MSC has its own traditions.
“The MSC was a place where you could go to hang out between classes or meet up for lunch, and also go to learn more about Texas A&M and its traditions,” said senior finance major Bonnie Neal.
Neal said she had a difficult time adjusting to the building’s closure.
“You had to change what you did. We got in the habit of going there, and then they took it away,” Neal said.
Although there are many renovations and additions to the MSC, the overall culture as the heart of campus will be maintained.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what’s changed,” said senior agronomy major Sergio Espinal. “I want to see the new edge that they were going to add to it. I’m curious.”
Renovation planners sought to preserve the atmosphere of the building’s most iconic feature: the Flag Room.
“My favorite memory of the MSC was the Flag Room,” Espinal said. “You walked by and there was always somebody playing the piano. It was a nice place to go in and relax.”
Many organizations had to find other places to temporarily call home after the MSC closed. The Women’s Chorus held daily practices in the MSC prior to renovations.
“Basically I was there every day of every week my whole freshman year,” senior agricultural communications and journalism major and women’s chorus member Karyssa Zavala said.
The Women’s Chorus, along with the Singing Cadets and Century Singers, will move back in to the MSC when it reopens April 21.
“We actually scheduled a dance party for our new office,” Zavala said.
The 12th Man Cafe was a popular spot for Fish Camps to congregate during lunchtime. Other dining options included Rumours and Hullabaloo.
“The worst part about not having the MSC is not having a good community center for people to talk or eat,” senior civil engineering major Dustin Stoudt said. “It was a nice central location for students to meet.”
Stoudt, a four-year member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, said his favorite part about the MSC was the reflections display every year before Muster.
“It really meant a lot to see the stories of those Aggies that had passed away throughout the year,” Stoudt said.
One of the last major events in the MSC was a flash mob in the Flag Room shortly before the building closed. It was a break from the building’s somber tradition, offending some students and former students while others enjoyed the event.
“My favorite memory was definitely when they had the flash mob rave,” Neal said. “People were crowd surfing, and there were beach balls flying everywhere.”
A certified Flag Room tradition is napping. Students lie down on one of the many couches for a bit of sleep and sometimes hold signs indicating what time they needed to be woken for class.
“I’m going to be honest, I’m most excited about taking a nap in the MSC once again,” Marenco said.
The return of the MSC will be a big change, but a welcome one for many Aggies.
“There wasn’t a single day that went by that I wasn’t in the MSC at least once,” Marenco said. “It was a habit. Not going would have been weird.”

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