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BSU's Hobson Memorial Union celebrates 40 years

Bemidji State University's student union has turned 40.

This week, the BSU community marked the Hobson Memorial Union's birthday with a weeklong celebration.

"It's really been about having fun," HMU Director T. Todd Masman said.

With the 1960s as its theme, the celebration featured birthday cake, 1960s trivia, a snow sculpture contest, human sled dog races and a 1960s dance.

The student union opened the week of Jan. 15, 1968, when the school was still called Bemidji State College. It was named after C.V. Hobson, a long-time staff member and friend of students at BSU.

According to a Jan. 18, 1968, article in the Northern Student, the school's newspaper, the new $1 million student union replaced "the cramped quarters of the old student union in the basement of Sanford Hall."

Overlooking Lake Bemidji, the new building housed general offices, conference rooms, an information desk, Student Senate offices, student union board offices, food service and dining areas, two private dining rooms, a game room and lounges, according to the Northern Student article.

A couple of years after the HMU opened, an addition was built onto it. The addition, which is considered the upper level of the student union, opened in 1971. Included in it were the Beaux Arts Ballroom and more office space.

Today, the HMU continues to be a hub of student activity.

While it still includes a food court, lounges, an information desk, the ballroom and other original features, the HMU has undergone renovations over the past four decades.

The most recent renovation, which occurred in the summer of 2006, included updates to the food court, the addition of a coffee bar and the creation of the Hobson Harbor for Organizations: A Center for Student Involvement, which is a resource center for student organizations.

Masman said the HMU is like a "great room" on campus -- a place where students can interact with one another.

"A student union is really just that -- the students' union," Masman said.

He said the HMU is fully funded with student fees and revenues generated through its programs and services.

"So I think that says a lot about the space," he said.