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July 14, 2006
CONTACT: Ron Podell

McKenny Union, Campus Life, Diversity Programs undergo reorganization

YPSILANTI - The Department of McKenny Union, Campus Life and Diversity Programs will undergo a reorganization that took effect July 1. Under the reorganization, predicated in part on the impending move to the new student center this fall, the functions of the current department will be divided into three distinct areas — new student center, Campus Life programming, and diversity and community service.

“The (current) operation is so much larger and complex now. It’s being broken into three areas: operations of the new student center,  Campus Life programming and diversity and community service,” said Jim Vick, vice president for student affairs. “Now, we’ll not only have a bigger building, but a larger amount of programming and services.”

“With the new student center, we will have new opportunities. The new building will give students an opportunity to experience community, access convenient services and go to events together,” said Glenna Frank Miller, director of McKenny Union and Campus Life, whose title will change to executive director of the student center.

The reorganization is as follows:

  • The student center will focus on operations of the new building, which is slated to open Nov. 6. McKenny Union will be renamed Charles McKenny Hall (its original name) after renovations, a remodeled Dining Commons 3 that will be used for student dances, and Roosevelt Auditorium events also will fall under these operations. Carlos Costa, associate director of McKenny Union, will become director.
  • Programming will include Campus Life, Greek Affairs, student center programming, new student orientation, excursions, leadership development, campus lectures, student ambassadors and student organization services. Melissa Ginotti, associate director of Campus Life, will be director of Campus Life.
  • Diversity programs and community service will include the Center for Multicultural Affairs, the Women’s Center, the LGBT Resource Center, and VISION, which includes Alternative Breaks, America Reads, Best Buddies, Habitat for Humanity, JumpStart and other community service activities. Human Resources posted the position of director for diversity programs and community service June 19.

While the decision to reorganize the department is due, in part, to the move to the new student center, much of the groundwork for reorganization was laid in the past few years, Vick said.

In an attempt to combine programming and building functions, McKenny Union and Campus Life operations fused in 1997. In 2004, the Division of Student Affairs  underwent a major reorganization to expand its delivery of diversity programs and enhance its ability to respond to student needs. That reorganization included dissolving the dean of students office with the creation of the position of ombudsman. In addition, the position of associate dean of students was eliminated and an associate director of diversity programs within McKenny Union and Campus Life was created; and two assistant deans positions, one overseeing Greek Affairs and the other in charge of LGBT, moved to McKenny Union and Campus Life. The first position was converted to a full-time program coordinator for Greek Life and Student Organization Services. The second became an 80 percent FTE program coordinator for the LGBT Resource Center.

“I would describe this reorganization as formalizing what has been happening the last year or two,” Vick said.

The $40 million new student center will be approximately 180,000 square feet and will include a dining marketplace, bookstore, meeting space and retail on the first floor. The second floor will include the Admissions Welcome Center, a 24-hour computer lab, auditorium, a 650-seat ballroom, galleries, lounges and relaxing spaces for students. The third floor will house the Center for Student Involvement, meeting rooms, and offices for Student Government,  Diversity Programs, Campus Life, VISION, Event Planning and the building administration.

            “I think that the new student center will have a very positive impact on campus as well as on the individual experiences of students at EMU,” said Student Body President Daniel Cicchini. “Our student center will be able to cater to the unique needs of our residential and commuter student populations. It also will centralize many services and activities, which are important to students. The student center will help generate excitement for activities on campus and enhance the overall college experience of all of our students.”

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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