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Fifty years later, Student Centers still the glue that hold UH together

The exterior view from the University Center, taken in 1967. | Courtesy of UH Special Collections

This Valentine’s Day, the University of Houston will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Student Centers. This addition to the sprawling layout of the campus really added a personal and cozy touch to our campus.

The Student Centers North and South, always bustling with noise and activity, are home to a range of resources such as restaurants, offices, arcades and hangout spots. This emphasis on providing a spot for student affairs and life shows how UH brings students together by making the campus feel like more than just a spot for commuters.

As it was founded in 1927, UH seemed minuscule in comparison to our current city-like campus. The name UH was adopted in 1934, and the first building on this campus was completed by 1939. Our campus has a rich history, from our mascot to the continual addition of buildings, and as a result, UH grew, thrived and prospered with its students.

Interior view of the University Center in 1976. | Courtesy of UH Special Collections

Professors and students alike have seen this progression toward a new and better University. Robert Zaretsky, a French history professor in the Honors College, has watched the University transform for almost 30 years.

Buildings don’t change lives,” he said. “They instead reflect the priorities and values of those who commission them.”

Buildings don’t have the immense influence that is often ascribed to them. Memories that take place within them have more to do with atmosphere and company than geological location. The hope behind the commissioning of the original University Center was to present an opportunity to students for making everlasting memories.

Memories ranging from friendships to relationships and all the way to boredom-inducing studying are made here. 

UH remodeled the University Centers in 2012, reworking and  making many additions to the existing North and South wings of the building. The Initiative for the New UC, which was planned to be a “beacon of student life and student success,” had two phases which concluded in August 2014.

The motivation behind the construction of the University Centers displays a cultural shift for this campus, away from the primary focus on academics. It follows a long line of traditions, from Frontier Fiesta to wearing red on Fridays, that emphasize unity as a student body.

After all, nothing brings students together quite like Chick-fil-A and comfy sofas.

Opinion Editor Anusheh Siddique is a finance freshman and can be reached at [email protected].

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