Evolution of the Davidson College Union Board
The Union Board’s first year was 1956-57, five years after the opening of Davidson’s first Union in 1952. Under the first Union Board advisor, Union Director and Union Board visionary C. Shaw Smith, the 1956-57 Board had minimal funding and produced very few of the many events for which they are now known. During its initial years, the Union Board helped with films and lectures, but played relatively little role in providing social opportunities beyond small gestures, such as occasionally serving coffee and donuts to students hanging out in the Union.
1964, the Student Activities Fee was expanded to include portions for the Union Board and Campus Social Council. These two organizations, who would merge
into one in 1969, began providing major events, especially concerts in the early years, to a delighted Davidson campus.
Co-education and a new Union (the building now known as the Sloan Music Building) together provided a terrific boost for the Union Board, which by the mid-1970s was the major campus student organization at Davidson. Providing two film programs, speakers, weekly faculty/staff/student luncheons, small and large concerts, the Artists Series, a fledgling outing club, a women’s committee (now a separate organization), and international activities, the Union Board of the late 1970s had grown to be an organization that students across campus relied on for the majority of their social activities.
In 2001, the Knobloch Campus Center opened its doors
as the new student Union, as a result of the vision and guidance of the second of Davidson's two Union Directors, William Brown. The Alvarez College Union and Duke Family Performance Hall brought new programming space and opportunities to the Union Board. With the opening of its doors, the Student Performers Committee was created to provide Thursday night programs featuring student bands, a cappella groups, and improvisational groups. At this time, The Women's Committee and Davidson Outdoors (former committees of the Union Board) formed as independent organizations with the new spaces provided for them in the state of the art facility.
The Union Board has served an important role in
creating major programs that have become important campus organizations/program initiatives on their own. The following organizations got their start as Union Board committees and are now independent organizations serving Davidson students:
• The Women’s Committee
• WDAV (initially a student radio station)
PS Student Restaurant
• DIA (Davidson International
• The Music Department’s Concert Series
(formerly provided by the Union Board
Chamber Music Committee)
• Davidson Quiz Bowl (initially provided
by the Union Board’s College Bowl
The Union Board of today continues to develop and grow out of its colorful past. The current Board is made
of 18 members, 3 staff advisors, and 11 committees. In 2008 the Outpost Committee and The Davidson Show committees were added to the Board after the aquisition of The Outpost on Patterson Court as an alternate location for late-night student programming and the successful media coverage of campus events in 2007-2008 by a new student, Austin Bell, under the title of The Davidson Show. Outpost Trivia began in October of 2008 by Michael Rogers and immediately became the place to be on Wednesday nights. In 2013, The Davidson Show moved under the direction of the student newspaper, The Davidsonian's media production team. With the transformation of the Outpost into the on campus pub/coffeehouse, the Outpost Committee is currently operating out of the 900 Room. In the fall of 2013, the Cats Excursion committee leading programming and transportation efforts to Charlotte was created and the Concerts Committee has split into two committees to focus on major and smaller concerts more specifically.
Some of the most popular Union Board events of recent years include Spring Frolics, Winterfest, the Annual Campus Christmas Party, Paint-Your-Own-Pottery, Casino Night, films on Fridays, concerts, the Hypnotist, Outpost Trivia, common hour surprises, and Live Thursdays. The Board now continues to program weekly in the late-night time slot every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, for an average of 5 events per week and approximately 150 events per year. Please explore the rest of this site to learn more about this year’s Board, getting involved, and upcoming events!