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History of the Student Union

The Boise State University Student Union, aka “The SUB,” is a multimillion-dollar facility that provides a wide range of services and programs to meet and anticipate the needs of our diverse student body, faculty, staff, and community members.
  • 1930s – Boise Junior College, originally located at St. Margaret’s School, sees Dr. Eugene and Lois Chaffee open their nearby residence for social gatherings, serving as the first gathering place for students.
  • 1941 – Boise Junior College relocates to the present-day site of Boise State University, where a room in the Administration Building becomes the first Student Union for students attending classes.
  • 1942 – Construction completed on the first Student Union building, now the Communications Building. “The Corral, a place to round up Broncos,” became the venue for everything from civic and social events to relaxing at the soda fountain.
  • 1950s – Student Union underwent an expansion and the first permanent director was hired to oversee operations. Dances and weekly club meetings were also being held on a regular basis, and the first dormitories were built, placing greater emphasis on the need for Union services and programs.
  • 1965 – Boise State Junior College becomes a four-year institution, resulting in record-breaking enrollment numbers and an even greater demand on t
  • 1967 – Construction is completed on a new Student Union facility, the site of today’s contemporary Student Union! The SUB featured a game room with a bowling alley, offices and meeting rooms, and even a barbershop.
  • 1970s – SUB underwent a facelift in the early seventies, enlarging portions of the south side. In 1974, the college became Boise State University, and by then was hosting internationally-recognized speakers.
  • 1980s – 1990s – Enrollment numbers rose for women and underrepresented minorities, prompting many Unions, like Boise State’s, to establish women’s and cultural centers.  New technologies required modifications that brought you a Cyber Café, laptop checkouts and wireless Internet in the SUB.
  • 2009 – The Student Union underwent a major $30,000,000 remodel and expansion to meet ever changing student needs
  • 2013 – The Student Union undergoes dining area and information desk remodel. Added features include multiple flatpanel tv screens, new flooring, an entryway focal point and variety of seating options. The area is lined in wood and has a glass wall facing the Info Desk.  The color schemes and height variety of furniture adds dimension and gives the room a more spacious feel.

Role of the College Union

The union is the community center of the college, serving students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests. By whatever form or name, a college union is an organization offering a variety of programs, activities, services, and facilities that, when taken together, represent a well-considered plan for the community life of the college.

The union is an integral part of the educational mission of the college.

  • As the center of the college community life, the union complements the academic experience through an extensive variety of cultural, educational, social, and recreational programs. These programs provide the opportunity to balance course work and free time as cooperative factors in education.
  • The union is a student-centered organization that values participatory decision-making. Through volunteerism, its boards, committees, and student employment, the union offers first-hand experience in citizenship and educates students in leadership, social responsibility, and values.
  • In all its processes, the union encourages self-directed activity, giving maximum opportunity for self-realization and for growth in individual social competency and group effectiveness.

The union’s goal is the development of persons as well as intellects.

Traditionally considered the “hearthstone” or “living room” of the campus, today’s union is the gathering place of the college. The union provides services and conveniences that members of the college community need in their daily lives and creates an environment for getting to know and understand others through formal and informal associations.

The union serves as a unifying force that honors each individual and values diversity. The union fosters a sense of community that cultivates enduring loyalty to the college.

Adopted by the Association’s general membership in 1996, this statement is based on the Role of the College Union statement, 1956.

Updated Nov. 25, 2008