Category Archives: In the Unions

Value in College

by Molly Robinson

There are some hundred of organizations at JMU, some 20,000 students that attend classes, and over 50 majors offered. How does the average student sort through it all and find their path at JMU?Statue of James Madison holding a card that reads "thinking of you"

It all comes down to what you choose to take value in:

  • Family, friends, and close/meaningful relationships
  • Excelling academically
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Fun
  • Work: part time or full time
  • Networking—connections through meeting a plethora of people

The reality is that when in college, you can do everything you want. It is possible to value all the above items; but when push comes to shove, some weeks you will have to choose what is most important to you. Beginning each new semester, students should reassess their goals and rank the above items. That way, when you have an “off” week or weekend, you can look back at what you’re going towards and what you want from your college experience—long and short term. At the end of the day, its better to give your all to a few things then to give little pieces of your time to a lot of things.

If you value getting into medical school, perhaps your organizations will be centered around this goal—from research with a professor, to TAing, and perhaps a biology honors society. If you value having fun and being around others, maybe you’ll choose Greek life or Student Ambassadors. Whatever you choose to value in college, I hope it suits you well. People will notice where you stand in your values and goals, and while college is an opportunity to experiment, it’s also a time to narrow down what you want out of your life!

Study Unions

by Mike Bock

If any of you out there are like me and can’t get work done in your own apartment or dorm, you might be happy to hear that University Unions is planning the new “Study Unions” to help you prep for your exams.

JMU is opening up the Festival and Taylor and Warren Halls to anyone who wants to study during finals week. Each of the three buildings will be open 24 hours from Sunday, December 12 to Tuesday, December 14. That’s not even the best part; there will be food and a team of massage therapists giving out free head and neck massages.

Anyone who has spent more than a semester at JMU knows that, during finals week, both ECL and Carrier Library are going to be more crowded than D-Hall on Grilled Cheese Thursday. Since the Study Unions are so new, they haven’t really been publicized yet… which means that there should be plenty of room for you and your study group in any of the three buildings.

This sounds great for anyone who plans on cramming non-stop for finals, but what about all of the slackers out there? Well, the University Unions has got your back, too. Grafton-Stovall Theater will be showing free movies and episodes of Glee to help you goof off while your friends are studying. And if you’re dangerously low on Dining Dollars, there will be free food offered at certain times during the week.

What exactly is University Unions?

The term “University Unions” refers to the physical buildings of Festival and the Madison Union (Warren, Taylor, and Grafton,) as well as the programs and organizations they house. The goal of these services, programs, and facilities provided by University Unions is to create community at JMU, and to really cater to the needs of the students.

Students use University Unions facilities every day: from grabbing a cup of coffee in Java City, to playing pool in TDU, to meeting with group members in a room in Taylor, to asking a question at the Off-Campus Life desk in Festival. The buildings provide places for students to work and relax. There are also plenty of organizations within University Unions with which to get involved, like University Program Board, Make Your Mark on Madison, Student Activities and Involvement, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Kijiji Leadership, Student Government Association, and Mad4U. University Unions also provides valuable services including Ride Board, UDAP, Off-Campus Life, the Club House, and Outriggers.

University Unions is the “Heart and Soul of JMU.” Check out the University Unions website for more details of upcoming events and ways to get involved!

A Revamped Madison Union

by Elizabeth Short

While students were enjoying their summer vacation, faculty members at James Madison University were hard at work making changes to Madison Union.

Taylor Down Under (TDU), a popular hangout spot for students went under partial redecoration this past summer. After leaving suggestion cards for students to fill out in TDU last year, Assistant Director of Madison Union, Mark Cline, and his office learned that students wanted more comfortable seating. After working with designers, furniture (couches, chairs, and tables) that complements the newly painted walls was purchased. This $18,000 project, according to Cline, “provides students with a more welcoming and comforting feeling [in TDU].” Students seem to agree with that statement; Senior Marketing major, Kelley Smith said, “The area is a lot more opening and inviting. TDU feels more like a living room and is a nice place to relax.”

Another upcoming change includes adding rugs and floor lamps to each seating area. Students will be able to control the setting of the floor lamps. This control will add to the welcoming atmosphere of TDU. These changes should be implemented by the end of the month.

To add to the “welcoming” atmosphere, student artwork is displayed along the walls of TDU, and, by the end of the month, a slideshow of student artwork will be shown on the three flat-screen TVs hung on the far wall of the entrance.

Because of the remodeling of the patio area, the Grafton and Bluestone Dr. entrances of Madison Union were closed off during the first couple weeks of classes. The patio project has been in planning since September 2009, but it wasn’t until this past spring that renovations began. This $160,000 project includes an entire makeover of the patio area. Cline called in designers to help choose paint colors for the walls and ground that coordinate the elements of the space. Last spring, suggestion cards were handed out around campus to find out what students wanted to see more of. A majority of students wanted more of the white bar tables; more bar tables, umbrellas for the round red tables, and benches were purchased for the patio area. These tables and benches will be grouped together to give a community feeling to the area. Future plans include adding a roof off of Grafton to provide a shaded area for students to enjoy.

In addition, some subtle changes were made to Madison Union, including the switch from incandescent light bulbs to LED blubs, for a more green feeling, and the installment of a new surround sound system in Grafton-Stovall Theater.

As JMU continues to change, so will Madison Union.  Student opinions are important to the faculty of Madison Union and will always be taken into consideration. Students should keep an eye out for more changes that will be taking place in the future.

Another week at University Unions

Tuesday:

  • Kenya Safari Acrobats – A thrilling hour filled with stunts and high-flying action. Free! 8pm, Wilson Hall.
  • Open Mic Night in TDU – The JMU community is welcome to perform on the TDU stage. As an acoustic, small ensemble, or soloist showcase, take this opportunity to perform! 7:30pm-11pm.
  • Madison Meditates – Jared Featherstone will instruct “Mindfulness” Meditation, a non-religious practice that uses breathing and awareness of the body. No experience is necessary. Cushions, mats, and chairs will be provided. Everyone is welcome! 12:30pm-1:30pm, Taylor 405.
  • “One Night, One Ride, One Life” Speaker – Sponsored by Saferides. 6:30pm-9pm, Grafton Stovall Theatre.

Wednesday:

  • TeaTime – Join Student Activities and Involvement for a cup of tea and treat as well as an hour’s reprieve from the pressures of the week. 4pm-5pm, Student Activities and Involvement Office, Taylor 205A.

Thursday:

  • Poetry Open Mic Night – Once a month, Madison 4 U invites performance poets, MC’s, page poets and fans of poetry read aloud to step on the TDU stage and take the mic. No one style reigns and every voice is welcome.
  • Madison Meditates – 12:30pm-1:30pm, Transitions.
  • Farmer’s Market – Sponsored by Dining Services. 8am-4pm, Taylor Patio.

Friday:

  • Smash Brothers Tournament – Madison 4U fires up TDU with a Smash Brothers Blast Tournament! Sign-ups start @ 6! Get there early to make sure you have a spot!
  • Tunes at Noon – Enjoy the lunch hour with music selected during Open Mic Night on Tuesday. 12pm-1pm, TDU or on the Commons, weather permitting.
  • Late Night in TDU – A variety… Usually active, sometimes dance, sometimes games. 10pm-12 midnight.

Monday:

  • Kijiji Program – sponsored by the Dux Center. 6pm-10pm, Grafton Stovall Theater.

University Unions This Week

Check out some of the events happening in the University Unions this week!

Tuesday:

  • Open Mic Night in TDU – The JMU community is welcome to grab their “15 minutes of fame” on the TDU stage. This is an acoustic, small ensemble, or soloist showcase. As long as it’s legal, you’re welcome to perform! 7:30pm-11pm.
  • Madison Meditates – No experience is necessary. Cushions, mats, and chairs will be provided. Everyone is welcome! 12:30pm-1:30pm, Transitions.

Wednesday:

Thursday:

  • Live in the Drum – Live music, free pizza… what’s not to love! Student, local, and national acts will be featured during a campus show in the Festival Drum. 9pm – 12am, Festival Drum.
  • Madison Meditates – Meditation will provide an opportunity to practice Mindfulness Meditation and also explore other meditations modalities. 12:30pm-1:30pm, Transitions.

Friday:

  • Funny Freakin’ Fridays – UPB brings you a nationally touring stand-up comedian every month as an awesome way to end the week! This month: Nore Davis! 8pm-9pm, TDU.
  • Tunes at Noon – At Open Mic Night in TDU, a student artist is nominated to showcase for Tunes at Noon. Enjoy the lunch hour with music in TDU or on the Commons, weather permitting. 12pm-1pm.
  • Late Night in TDU – A variety… Come check it out! 10pm-12 midnight.

Feel free to comment with any questions!

This week at the University Unions

Of the many activities going on in Madison Union and Festival this week, at least one is bound to spark your interest!

Here are some of the events going on today through Friday:

Tuesday:

  • Open Mic Night in TDU – The JMU community is welcome to grab their “15 minutes of fame” on the TDU stage. This is an acoustic, small ensemble, or soloist showcase. As long as it’s legal, you’re welcome to perform! 7:30pm-11pm.

Wednesday:

  • TeaTime – Free tea and treat brought to you by Madison 4 U. Greet us with “Happy Humpday!” and receive a free travel tea mug. 4pm-5pm, Student Activities and Involvement Office, Taylor 205A.

Thursday:

  • Free Movie on the Lawn – UPB presents a free screening of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Bring a blanket and enjoy free popcorn and cotton candy on the Festival Lawn! 9pm.
  • Madison Meditates – Meditation will provide an opportunity to practice Mindfulness Meditation and also explore other meditations modalities. 12:30pm-1:30pm, Transitions.

Friday:

  • Tunes at Noon – At Open Mic Night in TDU, our scouts nominate a student artist to showcase on a Friday for Tunes at Noon. Enjoy the lunch hour with music in TDU or on the Commons, weather permitting. 12pm-1pm.
  • Nintendo Tournament – Here’s an opportunity to dominate in the Nintendo world! 4pm-9pm, Festival Drum and J.Madds.
  • Late Night in TDU – A variety… 10pm-12 midnight.