Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville, Morris University Center
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY–EDWARDSVILLE
Full-Time Enrollment: 14,142
Location: Edwardsville, Illinois
MORRIS UNIVERSITY CENTER
Year Built: 1967
Size: 202,207 sq. ft.
Annual Operating Budget: $20 million
Director: Kelly Jo Karnes
Student Staff: 640
Nonstudent Staff: 180
Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville’s Morris University Center (MUC) is celebrating 50 years. The MUC, affectionately pronounced “muck” by the student body, opened in 1967 to its brand new commuter college university and has continued to serve a growing student body on a now residential campus.
The MUC is recognized as the living room of campus. The Goshen Lounge, a sunken space in the center of the building located under beautiful skylights, is a welcoming sight when entering the building. Students enjoy the built-in seats surrounding the lounge all day. As evening arrives, student government meetings, step shows, receptions for ballroom events, and more occur in this high-traffic space.
The MUC is, and always has been, the main dining facility on campus. Options include several franchises, such as Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Auntie Anne’s, and Pizza Hut. Dining services is also proud to operate several of its own restaurants like Cocina, an in-house Mexican concept restaurant, as well as a sit-down restaurant fondly called Fixins’.
The Morris University Center is a student fee-funded building where the students’ voices are integral in the decision-making process. Students and full-time senior leadership staff comprise the University Center Board (UCB), an advisory board that reviews monthly all major decisions and policies.
“Daily, student organizations meet in the MUC, organizations hold fashion shows, Campus Activities Board invites major speakers, fraternity and sorority chapters hold weekly meetings, and so much more,” said Kelly Jo Karnes, director of the Morris University Center. “Students comprise the majority of the MUC employees. Without our student staff, the MUC could not offer the amount of restaurants and services currently available.”
Event services connects clients with the ballroom and conference center space, complete with gorgeous views of campus. As the chosen destination for large events in the Edwardsville community, the Morris University Center has accommodated guests like astronaut Jim Lovell, past Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Autism rights activist Temple Grandin.
The Kimmel Student Involvement Center houses and serves as a resource center for all student organizations on campus. One of the main programming constituents is the Campus Activities Board. This board provides the majority of student-led programs on campus, coordinating major events like homecoming, Black Heritage Month, and SpringFest.
Each August, the MUC welcomes all first-year students through a program called “Freshmen First Night.” Students move in to their residence halls on the same day and are then escorted to the MUC that evening for food, music and dancing, face painting, craft activities, and photo booths to commemorate the beginning of their college adventure.
Contributed by Kelly Jo Karnes