More than 30 years ago, the "Student Union" movement gained impetus and academic support throughout the country. Most resident colleges began to plan or erect facilities to meet and/or enrich the social, cultural and recreational needs of their students.
In the mid-1950's, primarily under the leadership of the dean of the School of General Studies, exploratory steps were taken at Brooklyn College to establish a Student Union building. The students of this commuter college had no lounges or free space to gather, relax or study other than the college cafeteria. A large, active cocurricular program with well-established "club hours" had no suitable facility to hold functions and present programs. An important adjunct to college life was missing.
The Board of Higher Education and the City of New York were not at that time willing or able to allocate the funds to provide a facility that would serve the college as a center for students. After a period of discussion and planning, the proposal to construct a Student Center was presented to the student body who, by a referendum, voted to tax themselves to build the center, which would fill this void. Fortunately, the federal government, through the Federal Housing Administration, had made loan money available to erect Student Union buildings at this time. In order to take advantage of this program, the Brooklyn College Student Services Corporation was created. Its directors included the chairman of the Board of Higher Education, the president and a group of administrators at Brooklyn College. They obtained a construction loan of $1,450,000 for 40 years with a 3.125% annual interest rate. This loan could not be used for furnishings. A faculty-student drive raised the funds to furnish the building.
The original basic plan was to erect a building to provide space and services that were not already provided by the college. A four-story building with public lounges, music, recreation rooms, a study lounge, conference rooms and lounges for club activities (social, intellectual and cultural programs) was opened in fall 1962.
If you have not been to your Student Center, come by and be part of its legacy.