Some of the biggest news to come out of UW-Milwaukee this week is the new student union referendum. A vote, that’s up to the current students of UWM, will decide if the current union will be replaced with a brand new one in years to come.
All students are required to vote before they are able to register for classes, making it an issue that affects all students at UWM.
Before students are to vote, it’s important to know what they vote actually means.
If students vote “yes” for the union referendum, they will pay an addition $124 to the $75 fee they currently pay for the union. The new payment will be added to student’s tuition no sooner than Fall of 2019.
The “yes” vote would help fund a new union, that the UWM Union Project claims that this new union could be a “point of pride on campus,” according to their graphs.
The new union, according to the UWM Student Union Project, would be about the same size of the current union, over 300,000 square feet, but more space efficient. The Union Project also says on their website that the new union is hoped to have more comfortable spaces with natural light, improved meeting spaces, collaborative workspaces, improved restaurants and food options, more natural feeling and improved energy efficiency and sustainable building features.
The union will stay open in sections during the construction. The parking garage is also to stay open during construction, which is a goal of the project. Many of the offices that reside in the union are planned to either relocate or close temporarily during the construction.
The construction for the union would begin no earlier than 2020, with it taking about three to four years to complete.
A “no” vote would keep the yearly fee at $75, which would be put towards the repairs of the building. The Union project estimates that it could be up to $34 million in repair fees by 2024.
In an effort to show how much work the Student Union needs, band-aids and other stickers were placed around it, representing how much it would cost to repair parts of the union.
The current union was built between 1956 and 1987 and has since gone through a lot of changes. The Union Project site offers students a look into the past of the union, which includes a fun fact about an escalator (which is no longer there) that doubled as a slide.
This is an issue the students of UWM will decide.
“I personally am excited about the possibility of having a new union,” said Maureen O’Hara, a junior at UWM, “I have really enjoyed my time here at UWM, and I love to promote my school. I think for prospective students visiting a new union would be a way to make a great first impression!”
Voting for the union referendum began on Nov. 6 for students. Students are able to vote directly on PAWS, taking only a few seconds of time. Students will have the union referendum as a hold on their account until they vote.
Students can vote before they register for classes, taking the hold off the account right away.
For more information on the union referendum, visit the Union Project.