The new Student Union at Hubbard Hall hosted its day-long Grand Opening Tuesday, but Texas Woman’s University’s Student Life and Chartwells have already been preparing student organizations for the new policies and regulations that come with the new space.
While reserving space within the Student Union, Chartwells is the exclusive caterer, which applies to all students, faculty, staff and external groups using space, an email from Taylor Sandoval sent out Jan. 24 to organization presidents and advisors said. An information session hosted Feb. 20 and catering showcase held Feb. 26 helped student leaders get an idea of what to expect for their organizations in the new union.
“Overall the building has more to offer than our previous student union and once it is completely finished, it should be an asset to students and student orgs,” senior psychology pre-OT major and Fundraising Secretary for Athenian Honors Society Ryn Fazi said.
As a resident assistant, Fazi said she also anticipates that Housing & Dining will need to use these new spaces and follow the policies for events, despite it not being a student organization. For smaller organizations, senior health informatics major Zaynah Ali said that, though there are pros, new advertising and food policies are downfalls.
“One of the major pros is that student organizations will not have to pay for a good majority of event utilities, such as the A/V component and staffing that may be needed when running events,” Ali said. “A downfall is that all the food that is deemed ‘shareable,’ whether it be pizza at monthly meetings or more major events, it must be approved and run through Chartwells, which is relatively pricey for the amount of food students can receive. Along with this, advertising has been knocked down to a minimum, and though it’s understandable it is due to the cleaning aspect, it does make it difficult to market student organizations and events.”
Advertising in the Student Union now prohibits organizations from using loose flyers and only permits advertising on the first floor using table tents at a max of 15 table tents per event.
“The hope is to keep Hubbard looking clean and new for as long as possible, which makes sense, but requires some rules that are more strict than previous years,” Fazi said. “The people overseeing the operations and leading the presentation [on Feb. 20] all seem friendly and willing to work with students to help accommodate if able.”
Moving forward, Ali said she expects that organizations, especially smaller ones like the Muslims Students Organization she is a part of, will need to make changes to accommodate new policy.
“Food and pricing is a major component, and for smaller organizations such as MSA, it’s difficult to even afford the pricing that is offered,” Ali said.
Even for larger organizations, Fazi said the new policies will affect current practices in her organization.
“I think the rules of advertising will affect how [Athenian] Honors [Society] gets the word out about their events and force us to be more aware of how we spread the word of our programs,” Fazi said. “Policies pertaining to decorating also ties into Honors for events like banquet because you cannot hang anything on the walls. I foresee many organizations changing the way they feed the students coming to their programs due to regulations on what food is allowed to be shared in Hubbard Hall.”
Despite all the changes in the future for TWU student leaders, Fazi said she looks forward to the new space being fully operational.
“I’m excited for everything to be finalized in the building and see what it looks like without any construction,” Fazi said. “People have put a lot of work into this project and the final product should hopefully be pretty remarkable.”
To reserve rooms for events in the Student Union, visit the info desk during hours of operation. Additionally, arrangements for catering at events can be made directly through Chartwells at https://twu.catertrax.com.
Katelyn Garst can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Featured image: TWU students sit at tables at The Texas Woman’s University Student Union Jan. 23. Photo by Sarah Pham.