Jeff Barnett/Lantern photographer
Fanfare, festivities, and a community embrace were some of the highlights that composed the Ohio Union’s one-year anniversary on Tuesday.
“This is what I love about this university, these unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you really can’t get at another institution,” said Stefanie Lungre, a 2010 graduate of the university, who was one of almost 1,000 students, faculty, and alum gathered to physically hug the Union building. “It’s a great feeling to be a part of an occasion like this.”
Union huggers gathered in the Performance Hall of the building prior to the event to receive a crash course from Brutus Buckeye and Union staff worker Matt Couch on how to “properly” embrace a building.
“Platonic hugs only. Hug the building like you would a very good friend,” said Couch, who proceeded to demonstrate on an eager Brutus. “Brutus is a really strong hugger.”
The light-hearted precursor revealed to participants that their collective embrace would not go un-documented. Cameras were anchored in cranes and on the rooftops of nearby establishments along High Street to capture the loosely choreographed event from a variety of angles.
The footage will be compiled into a montage video that will be uploaded onto Youtube by the end of this week. The video will aim to promote both the Union and student organizations that utilize its facilities.
Event coordinators hope to make the video go viral and elicit support from the community and other individuals to come visit and contribute to the Union’s facilities.
Festivities began with a countdown at 11:30 a.m. that transformed the Union’s lobby into an open dance floor by noon. A cappella and ukulele performances, free pastries and paper crowns to make everyone feel at home in the center of the OSU “kingdom,” awaited those who entered the 318,000 square foot facility.
“It makes a big place feel a little smaller, and a little homier,” said Rebecca Delo, an office associate at the Union, who was on-hand to help administrate the festivities. “It’s great to work with the students all day, and see all the great and different ways they work with the building.”
An unveiling and dedicating of a stained-glass window featuring the faces of OSU students, faculty and staff on the second floor of the building followed the countdown.
The latest art edition to the Union’s collection, was a collaborative work between students, faculty and the Office of Student Life.
“This piece was meant to inspire students, and was inspired by our students,” said OSU President E. Gordon Gee, moments before leading the charge in removing the cloth tarp that masked the piece. “It’s an opportunity for good work, and good ideas, and good concepts to come together.”
The day’s activities concluded with a special dinner for students, The Ohio Union Anniversary Dinner, which started at 5:30 p.m. and lasted for two hours.