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Engl 150: Critical Thinking and Communication - the Memorial Union

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Danyang Cui

Zachary Hoover

Amira Anuar

Engl 150: Critical Thinking and Communication

5 March 2017

Memorial Union

        The Memorial Union is one of Iowa State University’s most well known buildings on campus. The location of the building is convenient for all students as they go from class to class. The Memorial Union has our main food court as well as other restaurants inside the building. It also has the Iowa State bookstore where most students go to get their supplies for their classes. In our bookstore, is also where you can find Iowa State gear, so students can shop for family or themselves.  The Memorial Union is used each and every day by the students here at Iowa State.

        The Memorial Union was first thought of by the students of Iowa State University as they felt the University needed a memorial for fallen soldiers of World War 1. In 1920 the project was launched and ground broke in April of 1927. The memorial Union was opened in September of 1928 when enrollment was just 4,000 at Iowa State. There has been several renovations from that point to present day. There has been talk that there will be renovations of the Memorial Union happening in the near future. These renovations will include more dining area as well as larger meetings places for students to interact. The Memorial Union will also be up to date on technology with talks of charging stations in most every meeting room. Some main Traditions or Myths in the Memorial Union are the Zodiac, The Four Seasons Fountain, Gold Star Hall, the stained glass windows as well as much more.

        One of the aesthetic aspect of the Memorial Union is architecture. The architecture of this building was influenced by Greek and Roman classic style as architects from all over the western world were employed during the construction (Architecture) . Some significant aspects that symbolize the classic style of this building are Palladian windows, triangular pediments, columns with Corinthian capitals and formally balanced facades. Palladian window is a large, three-section window with specific design, the center is arched and larger than the other two side sections. Columns with Corinthian capitals is basically a pillar with a triangular pediment is placed above it. All of these features can be found in the architecture of Ancient Greek, Ancient Rome and Renaissance. Besides, one of the fascinating architecture in the Memorial Union is The Gold Star Hall. During World War 1, a card with a simple blue star was displayed in the window when son or daughter from a family was in service (Gold). The blue star card was changed into gold star if a life was lost. The tradition continues and name of Iowa Staters who have been killed in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Somalia and Iraq have been added onto the limestone walls and stained glass window (Gold). The stained glass window is not just a normal glass window. It is dedicated to the Iowa Staters who had lost their lives in war. They were remained in memories as said by T.T.Agg chairman of the Memorial Union Executive Committee, “Lest We Forget”(Gold). Other than that, the momentous architecture in this building is The Zodiac. As the Memorial Union is a classic Greek-Roman-style building, the designer, Proudfoot, chose to embodied the ancient symbol of the zodiac-classic Greek Roman mythology at the north entry floor. His plan was to make the bronze symbol above the floor surface so every visitor that come to the Memorial Union will able to leave their mark on the Zodiac (Traditions). Unfortunately for him, in 1929, the student had decided for those who stepped on the symbol will fail the next test. And the cure of the curse is by throwing a coin into the Fountain of Four Seasons.  This Fountain is classified as one of the notable architecture. There are four woman sculptures, each represents one of the four seasons, Spring-east-planting corn, Autumn-west-holding the harvest, Summer-south-sheltering a young corn plant and Spring-east-planting corn (Traditions).

Memorial union has many services which provide a lot of opportunities for all students to increase their own skills relax themselves and make friends. First, memorial union has many arts and entertainment facilities. For example, Cybowl & Billiards which is a place that “features bowling, billiards,  table tennis, video games, air hockey and more” (Memorial Union Arts & Entertainment). We can sometimes go there for fun and relax ourselves from many exams and assignments. Memorial Union also has Maintenance Shop which is a nightclub in Ames. Maintenance Shop is open on weekdays and it lives music, “hosts comedy shows, open mic nights, theater performances and more” (Maintenance Shop). Workspace is a community that located in Memorial Union. It provides art classes and open studios which include “ceramics, woodworking, metalsmithing, screenprinting, stained glass, fiber arts, drawing, painting, dance, writing and more” (Workplace). Besides, there are a lot of arts in Memorial Union. The exhibits can be found in the Gallery and Pioneer Room every few weeks and also you can exhibit your own art if you pass the application.  Also, “the Iowa State Lectures Program hosts a variety of lectures, forums, debates, cultural events and film screenings” (Lectures Program)  in Memorial Union. Second, there are five place to eat in Memorial Union, they are MU Food Court, MU Market & Cafe, Panda Express, Subway and ISU Catering. It is really convenient for students to get some food in there because MU is in campus and these restaurants are all sold fast food which can help the students to get energy during the break. On the other hand, there is a Bookstore in MU and it has many kinds of things. Students can buy textbooks, materials and tools of study and some electronic products. Besides, there is no tax when we buy things in Bookstore. Last, MU also has ATMs and US Post that can help us grab some cash and send mails. After all, Memorial Union is a good student-centered that helps a lot to students.

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