Memorial Union hours extended

After a bill was passed by UND Student Senate last semester, the Memorial Union is now open 24 hours a day, Sunday through Thursday. The semester is still in its early stages though, and student response to the extended hours is uncertain.

“The numbers right now are not extremely high,” Student Body President and author of the bill Tanner Franklin said. “We expect the numbers to increase throughout the duration of the semester. Students are receptive to the idea and are excited to be able to use the building at night.”

The Union hasn’t run into any problems in the first two weeks of the semester, according to Interim Union Director Cassie Gerhardt.

“It’s too early to gauge,” Gerhardt said. “We are looking at the space and what kind of services people are looking for in the middle of the night.”

Since the extended hours began, the convenience store in the Union is now open until 11 p.m. and a vending coffee machine has been added to the lower level for student use.

“We will utilize Stomping Grounds and the convenience store,” Gerhardt said. “We are still looking at the possibilities.”

Part of the bill included funding for an electronic door access system, which would only allow students in with their student IDs after normal hours.

The University Police Department put out bids for that system before winter break, but is waiting for those to come back.

Instead of overnight monitors to patrol the building, UPD will be in the Union to provide security. UPD is also working on setting up a kiosk in the old Athletic Ticket Office on the lower level of the Union.

Franklin is working with parking services to see if there is a spot close to the Union that students could use to park in overnight. He said information should be included in a report done by a parking consultant that is expected to be released by the end of February.

Franklin said he is hoping to get the word out about the building’s new hours to students in the next couple weeks through emails and posters.

“This is a pilot test for the future to see what’s needed and if students utilize the building and services,” Franklin said. “The idea is to start reaching out to students and make students aware.”

Megan Hoffman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].