Mark Bourassa of Bluffton is one of seven contributors to "The College Union Idea, Second Edition," published in May.
It is the only comprehensive history of the college unions from their early start as debating societies to modern-day facilities at the heart of campus.
Originally edited by Porter Butts in 1971 ("Beginnings" through the 1960s), seven individuals collaborated to add 1970-2010:
. Elizabeth Beltramini, ACUI
. Mark Bourassa, Bluffton University
. Patrick Connelly, Smith College
. Robert Meyer, Indiana University-Bloomington
. Sue Mitchell, Old Dominion University
. Jeannette Smith, Elmhurst College
. TJ Willis, North Carolina State University
"It was both tedious and rewarding to delve through musty, brittle archival documents identifying salient statements reflecting the union's history," Bourassa said. "However, the greater task was in filtering our findings to leave only the most significant statements of the times."
As a longtime union director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and active member of ACUI, Butts had been a legend in documenting and advancing the college union. Therefore, the new chapters were modeled after his style with excerpts compiled from ACUI archives, major and campus media, speeches, other associations, journals, and governmental reports.
"We liked Porter's concept of this being an 'adventure story,'" Willis said. "It's not a textbook, but I could definitely see 'The College Union Idea' being used as part of an academic course, research project, or training program."
The first chapters of the book highlight college unions as debating societies, then men's social clubs housed in small, student-funded facilities. As time progressed, unions gained staffs, incorporated revenue-generating amenities, and increasingly became known as buildings not just educational programs.
In the later chapters, long after Butts' retirement and subsequent death, his argument that a college union is not just an auxiliary or a student-centered facility, but a "well-considered plan for the community life of the campus" reverberates.
"In working on the book, it was noteworthy to see the cyclical nature of certain trends," Meyer said. "The need to do more with less, changing student demographics, and the question of what to name a building, for instance, are not new challenges."
As universities have been established around the world, the creation of a union is never far behind. The reason is because of the learning that occurs outside the classroom. The union is where individuals come together through activities and work, forming a community and growing into more well-rounded members of society. "The College Union Idea, Second Edition," tells that story.
"If you care about higher education, you will benefit from reading this book," Mitchell said.
To order, visit www.acui.org/bookstore.
Founded in 1914, ACUI is a nonprofit educational organization that brings together college union and student activities professionals from hundreds of schools in seven countries. Its members work on urban and rural campuses, in two-year and four-year institutions, and at large and small schools. They are students and administrators whose mission is to build campus community. ACUI enriches them all through education, advocacy, and the delivery of services