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Student Union Records


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

[Publications -  Removed to separate collection]

Financial Records

Publicity (includes press releases and newspaper clippings)

Agendas and Minutes

Student Group Materials

Student Union Handbooks and Manuals

General Office Files  (includes correspondence)

Photographs (most unidentified)

Memorabilia and Ephemera

Contact us about this collection

Student Union Records, 1936-2009 | WUA University Archives

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Collection Overview

Title: Student Union Records, 1936-2009Add to your cart.

ID: WUA/05/wua00259

Primary Creator: Student Union - Washington University in St. Louis

Extent: 35.0 Linear Feet


This collection is divided into nine series as follows:

[Series 1:     Publications --Removed to separate collection]

Series 2:      Financial Records             

Series 3:      Publicity (includes press releases and newspaper clippings)          

Series 4:      Agendas and Minutes      

Series 5:      Student Group Materials  

Series 6:      Student Union Handbooks and Manuals

Series 7:      General Office Files  (includes correspondence)

Series 8:      Photographs (most unidentified)            

Series 9:      Memorabilia and Ephemera

Materials within each series are organized alphabetically, and then chronologically.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection includes budget reports, minutes of committee and governing body meetings, general office files, newsletters (under various titles), clippings from Student Life and Washington Times articles, material regarding student groups, including the “Save Sociology” campaign, handbooks outlining organizational procedures, and records of the American Association of University Students.

Publications produced by Student Union, including Bearings, form a separate collection.  For more information see the finding aid for “Publications – Student Union.”

For further information on the earlier years of student activities, see the finding aid for “Office of Student Activities Records.”

Collection Historical Note

Student Union (SU) is Washington University's undergraduate student government. Student Union carries out three major activities: representing student interests, registering, funding, and supporting student groups, and planning campus-wide events.

In 1940 the “Student Senate of the Student Governing Body” was established at Washington University in St. Louis.  The organization was created to promote a positive relationship between students and faculty and to serve as the official representative body for students.  This early group of student and faculty representatives allocated money to student groups through the Office of Student Activities (later called Office of Student Affairs).

Gradually, students became unhappy with the restrictions on their funds and with the limited power they had to allocate money for activities. The Student Union organization was created in 1967 – 1968 when students were actively protesting the Vietnam War. In the spring of 1968, Kevin Funabashi, an undergraduate student, proposed a new form of government that would utilize a student activity fee to fund student groups. Funabashi was elected later that spring to the new governing body, Student Union.

With an original student activity fee of $25, Student Union began to allocate funds to student groups. In 1969, a new Constitution was ratified that covered pertinent topics of the day, such as setting up a bail fund for students who were jailed for protesting against the war. Concert performances by the Grateful Dead and Marvin Gaye helped to raise these funds.

During the 1970s, Student Union was a middle ground for coalitions and political parties on campus. Student Union committees were formed to address issues such as tuition increases. In 1979, Student Union established its permanent office in the garden level of the Women’s Building.  In 2008 the office of Student Union relocated to the newly opened Danforth University Center (DUC).

The organization’s governing body was formally known as the ‘Assembly of Student Union’ from 1967 – 1990, and as the ‘Student Union Senate’ from 1990 onward. (The term ‘Student Senate’ was also used to describe the 1940 – 1954 representative organization on campus).  It is divided into three branches: the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches.  Various committees exist within each of these branches.  Student Union also publishes Bearings, the unofficial student handbook.  In 2008 Bearings format changed and is published only on-line.  In conjunction with this, SPARK, an on-line calendar of student events started fall semester 2003.

Student Union represents the student body in the administration's decision-making process, ensuring that students have a voice in the academic and social decisions which directly affect them. As of 2006, over 200 student groups on campus are registered Student Union groups, utilizing a large portion of the overall $1.75 million budget.

For further information, please refer to the website of the Student Union of Washington University in St. Louis.

Administrative Information

Repository: WUA University Archives

Accruals: Accruals are interfiled.

Access Restrictions: Open

Use Restrictions:

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Acquisition Method: This material was donated to the University Archives by the Student Union at various times.

Related Materials:

Office of Student Affairs (Student Activities) Records (WU Archives)

Publications - Student Union (WU Archives)

Office of Student Affairs (Student Activities) Records (WU Archives)

Preferred Citation: [Item description]. From the [collection title, series, box, folder]. University Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Processing Information: Collection survey completed by Sarah Pabarcus in July 2006.  Finding Aid updated by Miranda Rectenwald and Leela Pandey in September 2006; by Adam Rothman and Miranda Rectenwald in April 2009.

Finding Aid Revision History: This finding aid was entered into Archon by Meg Tuomala in November 2012.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: [Publications -  Removed to separate collection]],
[Series 2: Financial Records],
[Series 3: Publicity (includes press releases and newspaper clippings)],
[Series 4: Agendas and Minutes],
[Series 5: Student Group Materials],
[Series 6: Student Union Handbooks and Manuals],
[Series 7: General Office Files  (includes correspondence)],
[Series 8: Photographs (most unidentified)],
[Series 9: Memorabilia and Ephemera],

Series 1: [Publications -  Removed to separate collection]Add to your cart.
Items located in the separate collection, "Publications of Student Union."

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: [Publications -  Removed to separate collection]],
[Series 2: Financial Records],
[Series 3: Publicity (includes press releases and newspaper clippings)],
[Series 4: Agendas and Minutes],
[Series 5: Student Group Materials],
[Series 6: Student Union Handbooks and Manuals],
[Series 7: General Office Files  (includes correspondence)],
[Series 8: Photographs (most unidentified)],
[Series 9: Memorabilia and Ephemera],

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