East Carolina University: Mendenhall Student Center

Quick Facts

East Carolina University

Four-year, Public, Suburban
Full-Time Enrollment: 28,289
Location: Greenville, N.C.

Mendenhall Student Center

Year Built: 1974
Size: 116,000 sq. ft.
Floors: 3
Director of Student Centers: Dean Smith
Student Staff: 137 part-time
Nonstudent Staff: 52 full-time

History
Beginning in the 1920s, the Wright Building served as students’ social, spiritual, and recreational home. While that facility was named after East Carolina University’s first president, Robert Herring Wright, in 1974 the university dedicated the Mendenhall Student Center, named after the first director of the student union, Cynthia Anne Mendenhall. Since then, the Mendenhall Student Center has been the primary destination for numerous student-centered activities, organizations, and services such as dining and the Central Ticket Office.

To accommodate a rapidly growing student population, there are two new student centers currently under construction on the medical campus and main campus to be completed this year and in 2018 respectively. This $155 million construction investment is the largest in the university’s history.

Unique Features
Among the many features available to students is one of the few remaining fully operational bowling centers on a college campus. The student center also offers a games room with table games as well as an “underground” theme for open mic nights and local bands to perform.

The student radio station is also housed in the building. Its broadcasts are played on every floor, adding to the student-first mentality throughout the building.

Students’ Role
"The role of students is highly valued in our student center with students being the first faces you see in all areas of the union,” said Dean Smith, director of student centers. “From the Welcome and Information Desk, to our event set-up and tech crews, to those staffing bowling and billiards you will see smiling students who take providing top-notch customer service seriously.”

The training program for student employees administered throughout the year focuses not only on skill building for the job at hand, but the long-term growth they need as they enter the workforce and post-college life.

Programming
ECU offers a wide range of programmatic opportunities including nearly 200 events hosted by the Student Activities Board annually, plus late-night weekend programs, faith-based services throughout the week, diversity and inclusion events, and the special traditions held in the student center or on the courtyard. With multiple open-space rooms, a ballroom, and two rooms equipped with a stage, there is always plenty of activity managed by staff or one of the more than 475 student organizations.

Dean Smith, director of finance and administration for student involvement and leadership, and Justin Janak, director of student activities and organizations, contributed to this article.
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