The Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) ground floor re-opened in June 2015, after a seven-year closure due to flooding. One year later, students have become accustomed to the new services available in the ground floor, and usage is up.
According to Bill Nelson, the IMU's executive Director, the IMU as a building and an organization is seeing shifts in how student organizations organize and use the space, as well as interact with one another. Helping students understand how to utilize their student union, and the new space created on the ground floor, has been a priority during the past year.
"We are in the midst of the changing culture of the IMU, how student organizations collaborate and partner with each other, and how we value one another. The ground floor has made it easy to move forward and make progress," said Nelson.
Since the reopening in 2015, student organizations have taken advantage of higher foot traffic in the ground floor by using information tables to interact with students. Last year, information table reservations were up 62% over the previous year, with 280 total reservations.
Because the IMU ground floor was closed for just over 7 years, most current students never experienced the pre-flood IMU. In addition to the newly relocated bookstore, additional food options, the Student Health Clinical Outreach Office and the Academic Resource Center, the Hawkeye Room now "bleeds Black and Gold" with a photo gallery of Hawkeye history, a Herky statue, and the words of the fight song emblazoned on the walls.
"Since the renovation of the ground floor, the IMU is always bustling! I love that I can study, eat, and even purchase school supplies in the same place. Not only does the ground floor offer study space but the napping station is a great place to take a quick power nap during midterms or finals week," said Noopur Inani, chief financial officer for UI Student Government.
"The IMU ground floor has a ton of new dining options, and I'm here every day of the week trying something different. It's great to have such variety in one place," said Drew Lilienthal, a junior studying biomedical science.
Two dining options on the ground floor include Union Station Food Court and Union Market.
"Having Union Station in operation again means more students, faculty and staff are able to enjoy more food options in a more convenient location in the heart of our campus – IMU,” said Amanda Bittorf, marketing specialist in University Housing & Dining.
Academic Resource Center
New this year on the ground floor, the Academic Resource Center (ARC) is a central location for supplemental instruction, group meetings, and one-on-one tutoring sessions. During 2015-2016, the ARC saw 6,136 student visits specifically for supplemental instruction sessions.
Supplemental Instruction at the ARC
Different in structure from tutoring, supplemental instruction (SI) is a preplanned and structured group review session of specific course material facilitated by a trained leader. Currently, supplemental instruction sessions are available through the ARC for 38 major lecture courses. For each major lecture course covered by SI, there are three 30 minute sessions weekly, and students can attend any or all. SI assessment indicates that students who attend more sessions achieve substantially higher course grades.
The Iowa Hawk Shop
From June 2008 until June 2015, the Iowa Hawk Shop was located in the Old Capitol Mall, and recently wrapped up its first year on the ground floor of the IMU.
Transaction counts for the 15-16 academic year, after moving back to the IMU, were up 15,000 compared to the previous year. The new location allows the shop to provide a wide variety of products including backpacks, school supplies, and technology. These products saw a 30% increase in sales compared the sales in the Old Capitol Mall. New products offered include greeting cards, candles, blankets, and kitchen supplies.
Student Health Clinical Outreach
During its first year in operation, the Student Health Clinical Outreach Office at the IMU had 9,770 individual patient visits. The office is a branch of Student Health & Wellness, offering walk-in appointments for vaccinations, international student health screenings, health guidance for illness or injury, or assistance with medical forms. The office was integral to last year's effort to vaccinate students against a mumps outbreak on campus, with over 6,600 visits during the months of November and October, when the vaccines were distributed.
"Students have really appreciated having an east-side location where they don't need an appointment. They come in with health-related questions and we're able to either help them here or refer them on to our main clinic, depending on their needs," says Lisa James, Associate Director for Clinical Outreach.
The addition of new space last year brought new programming opportunities for student organizations on the ground floor. SCOPE launched the Lamplight Series of concerts featuring local and regional acts. Campus Activities Board offers free make-and-take crafts twice a month. Student organizations are encouraged to promote themselves each Friday in the Hawkeye Room while serving up free root beer floats.
"It has been really fun to watch the ground floor come to life, and plan some activities that will hopefully be longstanding traditions at the IMU," says Amy White, assistant director for Student Activities & Programming at the Center for Student Involvement & Leadership.