Strategies and Recommendations in a Time of Ongoing Organizational Change

The State of the College Union, Part Two

It was late in 2023 when Wisconsin Public Radio reported on student reaction to an announcement that nearly 220 staff and faculty at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh would either be laid-off or asked to take early retirement. Despite administrative assurances that the cuts would “have minimal impact on students and student success,” the news report recounted students’ observations of “we’re losing mentors,” and “we are losing things we absolutely took for granted.” Former members of the Oshkosh Reeve Union team, which lost 10 of 12 professional staff to the cuts, recalled advocating for the importance of the union and working to meet the changing needs of the institution, all while dealing with the stress of waiting for the announcement of how deep the cuts would be. Reflecting on the personal toll on the Reeve Union staff of the period leading up to the cuts, as well as the organizational change itself, Missy Burgess, the former associate director for student involvement, noted that, “People do not fear change; they fear being changed.”

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Authors

  • Ian Crone

    Ian Crone serves as the director of the University of Tennessee Student Union, having previously served as director of the Holmes Student Center at Northern Illinois University and associate dean of students and director of the Frick Center/Student Activities at Elmhurst College. Crone is active with ACUI, presently serving as an at-large member and president-elect of the of the Board of Trustees, and previously serving on the ACUI Education Council, the Conference Program Team Chair for the 2015 Annual Conference in San Antonio, a regional director and a contributor to The Bulletin.

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  • Hank Walter

    Hank Walter has been executive director of Indiana Memorial Union at Indiana University–Bloomington since 2015. Prior to that he served a decade or more in leadership roles at the Wisconsin Union at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Illini Union at the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign. In addition to his campus commitments, Walter has served ACUI in volunteer roles as regional director, Conference Program Team member, several Regional Leadership Team roles, and on the Education and Research Fund Team, of which he currently is co-chair.

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