The University Record, October 1, 1997

Michigan League welcomes students

A napkin-folding demonstration was just one of the activities enjoyed by those who attended the League's open house. Photo by Jean Muscat

By Jean M. Muscat

A new theme is taking over at The Michigan League: change.

Most changes look toward the future, but others are taking the League back to its past. Though many rooms have been recently renovated and modernized, staff members at the League are shifting its function back to the League's earlier appeal: a student presence.

When the League doors opened in 1929, it was a place of social, cultural and extracurricular activities for female students, who were denied access to the Michigan Union. It became a second campus union, later joined by a third, the Pierpont Commons on North Campus.

While women were not permitted to enter the Union, men also were not permitted to enter the League. This only changed in the mid 1960s, when the programming boards of each facility joined to become University Activities Center. With this change, the League became better known as the ideal place to hold the conferences, receptions and seminars of the University and the community.

But as Benita Murrel, League Program Coordinator, says, "While we are the number one conference, meeting and catering facility on campus, we are now trying to balance between that role and a renewed focus on students."

A major part of the recent renovations included the League Underground. Located in the basement of the League, the Underground is now home to two new fast food restaurants, Tim Horton's and Wendy's, as well as ample seating accommodations for eating and studying. A computer-generated mural by Sara Osborn, who has since graduated from the School of Art and Design, adorns the walls of the Underground. Titled "College Town," it depicts the activities of Central Campus.

On Sept. 15, the League held an open house to unveil the newly renovated areas. Tours were provided to guests, and the Catering Department showcased its talents. Many delicacies, including entrees and desserts, were available for sampling. As part of the catering facility, a napkin-folding demonstration took place in the Kalamazoo Room.

"We were extremely pleased with the number of University and community members who attended the Open House," said Bob Yecke, director of the League. "They had nothing but positive comments about the renovations, the catering facilities, and the new direction that the League is taking once they saw the finished product."