Union renovations make the front page

The Student Union piques the interest of the ACUI newsletter .

Bruce Fox/Instructional Resources

The Student Union piques the interest of the ACUI newsletter .

SUNY Buffalo State was recently featured on the cover of the Associations of College Unions International’s newsletter, The Bulletin, which highlighted the success on the renovation of the Student Union.

The newsletter is dedicated to illustrating academic spaces at colleges and universities.

A ceiling-to-floor photograph showing the interior design of the union and its main functions was featured on the cover of The Bulletin’s February 2014 issue.

Sarah Velez, student union director and member of the ACUI, said this is an achievement for the campus and makes Buffalo State stand out among other schools.

“It’s an accomplishment to be on a magazine of this magnitude and it’s another reason for students to be proud of going to Buffalo State,” Velez said. “This magazine is highly respected and the fact that we made the cover means that we’re really special.”

After the $6.3 million renovation project was completed, Velez submitted the story and photos to the publication. This also included statistics on the square footage of the renovation, the enrollment of the college and the history of the union.

“Every year they put out one of their magazines dedicated to renovations and construction showcases,” Velez said. “When we were renovating the student union it was always in the back of my head that it would be wonderful to submit this for inclusion in this showcase.”

The photos featured in the newsletter were taken by Bruce Fox, photography and graphics coordinator for Buffalo State, after he received a call from Velez asking for photographs of the union.

Fox said that the most important thing for him to capture in his photos was students using the facility and enjoying the union. He also wanted to show it as a place where students can hang out and meet people.

“Prior to the renovation, the union wasn’t as student-friendly as it is now. I wanted to make sure that there was student life really evident in the space,“ he said. “All the shots have students in them and using the facility and I think a lot of the renovations make the facility much more user friendly.”

The Student Life Office did a series of electronic surveys during the time of renovation, in order for students to give their opinions on the project. There were also meetings set up for students and faculty to critique and evaluate the progress of the construction.

Michael Bofante, facilities project manager at Buffalo State, said, “A lot of the planning that was originally on it didn’t have, for example, enough comfortable seating in a number of places and one of the biggest comments from the students on those surveys was that they wanted to see more comfortable seating.”

After the requests, the move was made to put in more lounge seating in areas such as the lobby and in the Fireside Lounge.

Bofante said he was surprised that Buffalo State made the cover of the newsletter, but that, in a way, he expected it.

“This student-based union is a resource, and it’s a place to be,” Bonfante said. “It’s up there amongst the top. So for the dollars and amount of time and work spent, in the end it achieved what it was set out to achieve.”


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