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  /  Legacy

Our Mission

UC Berkeley’s Student Union, in partnership with student leaders, supports student learning, development, and community building. We collaborate and engage with students, campus partners, and the greater community. As a sustainable and inclusive organization, the Student Union enhances the co-curricular experience at UC Berkeley.

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1884

The Cal Student Store opens. Providing students a place to purchase their textbooks, stationery, and other materials, including coal! The Cal Student Store was originally located where Bancroft Library now stands and was known as “The Co-op” since it was student owned and run.

1887
ASUC student government is founded. The Associated Students of the College of Letters and Sciences (later shortened to just ASUC) was officially founded by students on March 2, 1887 as a student government independent of the University.

1931

The ASUC Student Union opens. The ASUC was heavily involved in developing the first real “Student Union” on campus in Stephens Hall, and the adjacent “Student Publications Building” (now Moses Hall) south of the Campanile. 

1961

A new student union opens. By the mid-1950’s it had become clear that the Stephens Hall complex was too small and antiquated for the student body. The Alumni Association had undertaken a study which proposed a new Student Union complex at Bancroft and Telegraph and, in the late 1950’s construction begun. By 1961 the ASUC Student Union buildings were designed and built by Vernon DeMars.

1985

17 years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s anti-Vietnam War speech on Sproul Plaza, our main building is renamed the “Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union.” The renaming was proposed by undergraduate Ronald Stevenson. The namesake building stands both as a reminder of Dr. King’s courageous advocacy and as an inspiration for leadership within our community.

2010

Graduate and undergraduate student leaders negotiate a groundbreaking agreement to rebuild the Student Union complex. It is agreed that revenue made in the MLK Jr. Building and in Eshleman Hall is shared to support student programs directly. The pact, along with a ballot measure to increase student fees, make the renovation possible.

2015

The newly renovated MLK Jr. Building and Eshleman Hall open. The new buildings become the true heart of campus and provide a campus living room for students. Both integrate sustainable features including: natural cooling through automatic window movement, window coating to lessen glare and heat build up, a gray-water system for irrigation and restroom facilities, solar energy provided by photovoltaics, a white roof to reduce heat island effect, and a rain garden to capture storm runoff. Both buildings obtain LEED Gold certification. The new Student Union complex is completely ADA compliant.