More than 19,000 people joined the University Union at the University of North Texas for Union Fest, celebrating 63 years of college unions. Students, faculty and staff were treated to a full day of entertainment, food and fun at this annual tradition event.
More than 140 Union staff arrived as early as 6:30 am to decorate the 199,000 square foot facility for the party-themed event. The staff worked for several months to design and prepare decorations for the day. Twenty vendors set up food and beverage samples of their latest products. Students enjoyed previews from companies like Reese’s, Frito Lay, Boar’s Head deli, Vitamin Water, Coke, Monster, Ben E. Keith, Green Mountain Coffee and more.
Entertainment was coordinated throughout the entire building, featuring local musicians, balloon artists, characacher drawings, zoo exhibit, comedy game show, chocolate strawberries, giveaways, and the decorating of the extra-large 10-foot by 10-foot cake. The cake is carefully decorated by a team of more than eight people and serves as the cornerstone of the day’s celebrations.
Dr. Elizabeth With, vice president of student affairs, spoke to the crowd of hundreds about the importance of the college union and the role that it plays on campus.
“The college Union plays a vital role in supporting the educational goals of our students,” said With. “Students are engaged and encouraged through the programs and services offered in the Union. Whether it be attending an event, meeting with a group or grabbing something to eat, the Union provides a common place for everyone on our campus to gather.”
Popular music from different genres played throughout the building, prompting impromptu dancing and strolling in the hallways and open spaces.
“This is really what our Union is all about, bringing all different groups from different backgrounds together sharing and collaborating and exposing each other to unique experiences,” said Zane Reif, director of activities and the university union.
Students really appreciated the change of environment. “It was great to see all of the students walk through with amazement as they took in all of the decorations and everything that was happening in the building. It really highlighted that the Union is an awesome place to be on campus,” said Sarah Horn, a senior theater and marketing major.
Union staff coordinated with their partners in food service and Wells Fargo bank in order to make this event a success.
“It truly was a team effort. The staff and volunteers have always been very dedicated to a high level of service every day but they really step it up for Union Fest to coordinate such a large scale event and make it successful,” Reif said.
One of the biggest team efforts was the serving of the cake calling for more than 20 people to help. The entire 10-foot by 10-foot cake was eaten in less than an hour. People from all over campus come by just to see the decorated cake and stop by for a piece.
“Visitors often stop us and say that they wished every day was Union Day,” Horn said.
Keep checking back for information regarding this year's Union Fest.