The Edgewater Hotel
Sure, it might be cheating, but we really wanted to see that thing get built, and since every day looks more and more like we’ll never set foot in a new Edgewater, we might as well embrace a new union called “The Edgewater.” So what if it isn’t actually on the edge of any body of water? It’s not like the Humanities building is even remotely humane.
Essentially, the Edgewater Hotel on Langdon Street is what Union South was: ugly, old and typically devoid of human life. But by naming the union after the Edgewater, we’re killing two albatrosses with one segregated-fee-stone. The NIMBY’s get to keep their pristine lake view and “historic neighborhood” (if history is equivalent to old and run-down), and the campus wouldn’t be forced appease the three kids, who care about the union’s name and, complain about it. It’s the greatest compromise since Col. Hans Landa ended World War II.
Let’s just sell it
To the freshmen of this campus who never knew the old Union South: unless you were an engineering student, you didn’t find many reasons to go there after SOAR.
The Wisconsin Union Directorate knew that, and it did its best impression of your 6-year-old cousin Howie in its fight for a new Union South. After putting it on the ballot for student approval time-and-time again, and failing time-and-time again, they eventually whined enough to find some people to vote for it, despite the fact that so little of the student body actually supported the plan.
Now, we as a student body are left paying for something we never voted for . Thirty years from now, the currently-unnamed-Union-that’s-near Wendt-and-that-big-glass-sciencey-building will finally be paid off.
So, WUD should sell the naming rights of the new Union South to the highest bidder.
The Proctor & Gamble Union could get us a nice discount on Ivory soap for university bathrooms. The Exxon Mobil Union would help inspire us to cut this silly “We Conserve” thing out of the budget. And the O Magazine Union might help land Madison bike trails on Oprah’s Favorite Things of 2011.
So, the next time you’re drinking a pitcher on a Terrace chair spray painted with the Outback Steakhouse logo, remember the day the Union sold out 66 semesters of UW students as the day the Union lost all credibility, not the day the students sold out the Union to pay for that shiny new building.
The Union Depot
There are many theories as to why Union South never really worked. Some would suggest the vintage, Soviet-era construction style, others would argue that engineers and psych majors are a bunch of nerds and don’t know how to get down and properly support our facilities. But really, it is none of those.
Union South failed because it had a lousy name. Sure, it was functional. It told people where (“South”) and what (“Union”), but never became a destination. So, we must ask where do people go and how do they get there?
The freshly named Union Depot would be a gathering place for faculty and staff across campus. Workers would serve food wearing conductor hats and those solar panels would be replaced with good old-fashioned coal-fired boilers.
On tycoon floor, students could sip brandy beneath portraits of Leland Stanford and Cornelius Vanderbilt and muse about the latest Pullman workers strike. On the Chunnel floor (aka the basement), visitors could experience cultures on both sides of Chunnel, or, if they so chose, see Tom Cruise fight off a helicopter.
Picture a brand new building closing at night for the first time. The red lights flash and a striped gate descends to bar the doors for the evening. Tears flow. Strangers hug. In the distance a whistle blows.
The Piccolo Pete Student Union
Last December, students rejoiced in revelry beyond imagination with the fall of a few feet of snow, and a good time was had by all. The lesson there was that the primary virtue lacking in the student body was not the work ethic nor the baseline intelligence, nor even having the strength to walk those three blocks instead of clogging up the bus. What we lacked — and perhaps still do — was joy.
That’s why I propose to name the new union south something that will be a sign of great joy: the Piccolo Pete Student Union. If there is anything good, worthy of honor and any sign of joy’s brightness in the drab gray of State Street, he’s it. The gray-haired, orange-clad legend seems to incarnate the joy that hours of classes and sleepless nights have sucked out of students’ souls. Let’s give him some props.
Best of all, the only changes you’d have to make to the original design are real simple: orange paint and the sweet sound of the piccolo. The sprightly tunes floating through the air may seem bizarre to some, but we’re calling that whimsy. And we’re sticking to it.
Can’t get enough of the humanities building? You know you dream about it day and night — What? It haunts your nightmares? Please! But since our cherished old friend faces the possibility of being (gasp!) demolished, I’m taking this opportunity to propose ensuring that we never lose our formative times at Humanities, and allow future generations the chance to experience its glory. I mean, you’re not really a UW-Madison student until you race, flustered and sweaty, around the labyrinth that is allegedly the second floor (2200? 2100?), into what is supposedly your English discussion section, in a room that may or may not exist, and may or may not be an English discussion section (wait, how did I get to Starbucks?). So, what better way to ensure our beloved building’s legacy than by making the new Union an exact replica! In fact, since Humanities I will be even grander than the original, we can even throw in an extra floor, which will actually be suspended in thin air, and will feature a hidden stairwell, with an entrance on floor 1200 (But don’t ask where that is; that’s part of the fun!). In case you get stranded, there may or may not be a Union deli…somewhere.
The Dan Cornelius Exploding Head Memorial Union
There once was a man, so dedicated to his mission to defend the Union from criticism that he went to nearly absurd lengths to make its democratic progress known to the student body. So very far that he nearly crashed The Badger Herald Editorial Board to make this known after their publication of unwarranted slanders. This man was Dan Cornelius, the former Vice President for Project Management for the Union Building Project.
Over the summer, his allegiances changed after the Union callously refused to keep a design committee open to the public for the noble task of picking seat upholstery colors. He defected to the Associated Students of Madison and found his way back to Union Council through a Shared Governance appointment. You see, his allegiance was, after all, to a democratic process.
However, this latest tussle over the naming rights between the two quasi-governmental institutions will be too much for him to take. In the pointless struggle for dictatorial constraint of the will of the people, Dan Cornelius will simultaneously lose his faith in his fellow students and, as many do in these situations, spontaneously combust.
Therefore, this inevitable tragedy should be immortalized for the purpose of a lesson: Never again will we quibble in a way that makes our fellow man explode so hilariously. The Union will feature a sculpture of the incident not only as a reminder, but also as a water fountain. The blood pouring from his head will be recreated through proper red flood lights — although once the campus has learned the error of its ways, we can change the colors for St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas and other festivities to lighten the mood.