The Indiana Memorial Union is considered the heart of IU's campus.
Located on Seventh Street next to Dunn Meadow, the IMU was dedicated during IU's Commencement ceremony in 1932 to “the sons and daughters of Indiana University who had served in the wars of the Republic," according to the IMU's website.
Some 86 years later, the IMU and the attached Biddle Hotel and Conference Center continues to serve as a hub of student and visitor activity on campus, with more than 17,000 events taking place inside the buildings each year, according to the IMU's website.
To learn more about the IMU and the different activities it offers students and visitors, the Indiana Daily Student spoke with James McHaley, the Director of Student Affairs Marketing and a 2001 graduate of IU.
Q: What are some things to spotlight in the IMU for visitors to go see?
A: I think IMU Bowling & Billiards is a big draw. It's family-friendly and something people can just drop into.
The Chocolate Moose has been here almost a year, now, I think the combination of the new Chocolate Moose and the old Sugar & Spice that’s been there since that wing of the building opened, I think those are big things.
I think another key component is IU Outdoor Adventures. IUA is introducing a new membership package where you can become a member for a semester at a time, and get access to workshops, access to the bouldering wall, there’s still rental gear for visitors. There are workshops and trips as well.
On Friday nights, another thing we’re trying to promote better is IMU Late Nite. Great alternative from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Union. They’ve partnered more and more with other student organizations, just so the student organizations can be featured. There’s the classics: free bowling, karaoke, usually some sort of craft, things like that. Those are a few things at least.
Q: What is something you think people wish they would have known about the IMU before coming to campus?
A: I think outdoor adventures is the big one. Just because it's in Eigenmann Hall, so they’re out of reach to many, or there’s not an awareness to many, that we’re certainly focusing on this upcoming school year. Giving them more attention, but also with the message of ‘you can do this, you don’t have to be an expert,' at stand-up paddle boarding or mountain biking or whatever.
Q: What are a couple of things you are looking to feature more prominently this year?
A: Probably IMU Late Night and outdoor adventures. I can’t really speak about what’s gone on in the past, but just being more aware of what’s going on in the building that’s maybe not being put on by the IMU, and how we can partner groups and student organizations that are having an event here. Give them that extra amplification because there is so much. The IMU is the heart of campus, it's one of those places that is for everyone in the IU community, so it's about how we can help send that message more and help those who already have those events and have their major, whether it's lectures or concerts, whatever is open to the public, how we can partner with that to make it better.
Q: Do you have a particular favorite place in the IMU?
A: Because of the longevity, Sugar & Spice. I have memories of going there on the way to Union Board meetings, like popping in there, getting something to eat. At least in terms of food, that would be the one.
Q: What can the IMU offer someone who is visiting campus for the first time?
A: I think it’s a glimpse of student life. I think it is that one-stop shop that can kind of fulfill many needs. Yes, grab something to eat or stop in the bookstore to grab apparel, but I think just the wide array of services and opportunities. It’s one of the unique places on campus because it really is for everyone in the community.
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