Work Group Assesses, Will Make Recommendations for Current Role Statement

The 2016–18 Strategic Plan called for some of the Association’s core elements to be reviewed, including the Role of the College Union Statement. In June 2017, a committee was formed to assess the current statement and determine what revisions should be made.

During the past several months, the Role of the College Union Statement Working Group has conducted research, including:

  • Reviewing the statement’s history and previous revision processes.
  • Reviewing work done by the Future of the Brand Task Force in 2015–16.
  • Examining the history of college unions, statements from sister associations, and current research and literature reviews.
  • Collecting data from the membership and nonmembers who have engaged with the Association within the past three years.

Information gathered from this process was used to identify general trends.

  • “Inclusion” should be incorporated in a prominent manner.
  • The current statement is too long and too complex; contemporary language and formatting updates should be considered to improve the flow and become more user-friendly.
  • The concepts of “community building” and “directly supporting the educational mission” should become focal points within the statement.
  • The terms “college,” “university,” and “union” need to be reviewed as the terms have varying meanings that can cause confusion and misalignment for some campuses.
  • The “living room” and “hearthstone” terminology is either strongly liked or disliked.

The working group just finished conducting focus groups based on a new draft statement. Next, member feedback will be incorporated and a revised draft will be presented to the Board of Trustees in November. Members will have another opportunity to offer feedback before the new statement is finalized.

Re-examination of the Role of the College Union Statement is not new to the Association. Originally written in 1955 by the Committee on Professional Relations to “create a widespread understanding of the union and its purpose,” the statement was reaffirmed in 1964 and 1989. However, it underwent a revision in 1994 as some members felt that the statement was not inclusive. At that time, a committee reviewed each line, phrase, and word to create a new statement that was adopted in 1996.

The current Role of the College Union Statement is displayed in the lobbies of member institutions around the world, presented in Association publications, and shared with professionals and students as a training tool. The goal is to have a statement that is inclusive, can serve as a guidepost for the profession, and will be embraced strongly.

For the latest from the Role of the College Union Statement Working Group, please visit


  • Liz Stringer

    Liz Stringer serves as ACUI's director of outreach, overseeing the membership, marketing, branding, and member services areas of the Association. Stringer has been with ACUI for more than 15 years.