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1104 7th Ave South
Minnesota State University, Mankato, located in south-central Minnesota on a bluff above the Minnesota River, is a comprehensive university within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Although most of the University's 14,000 students come from... more.
Centennial Student Union
Dean of Institutional Diversity
Minnesota State University-Mankato
Henry Morris of Minnesota State University will head up the new off-campus MSU site known as MSU at 7700 France."One of the reasons we're putting it up there," said MSU's Henry Morris, who will head up the new site, "is that it's close to (the target market), so people don't have to drive down here."
Henry Morris Minnesota State University, Mankato
At his first job in college, working for food services, Henry Morris discovered he was hooked on people. Now the director of the student union at Minnesota State University-Mankato, Morris has spent the last 25 years working with students.Morris, a candidate for executive director of the Memorial Union, spoke to a forum of 25 people Wednesday, outlining three basic steps to making the Memorial Union the "living room" of the campus.During his introduction, Morris asked himself the question, "Why am I interested in Iowa State?" "Why not?"he answered.Morris said he wants a new challenge.He said he prefers to manage by moving around the union and talking to its inhabitants, rather than just relying on surveys and polls.He said he realizes it is important to attract students who would not normally use the union to come in and see the opportunities and facilities provided.Morris said he believes there are three steps to a great, modern union.The first step, he said, is the brick and mortar of the building, the foundation.The next step is the programming and services.Morris said he feels this is the life-blood of any union.Finally, Morris said he felt staff and personnel were key. "You can have a shoddy looking union with great services and staff and still have a good amount of people using it," Morris said."But you cannot have a gorgeous facility and bad programming and expect to attract anyone."Morris said he has had experience in upgrading unions and felt there are things which belong in a union and some things should be put elsewhere.At Mankato State, part of the plan to upgrade the union was to incorporate the student health center.Morris, as director of the union and a member of its planning committee, strongly objected to placing it in the union.Instead, an inter-cultural center and international student center were added at Mankato.Morris said he saw groups which would not usually plan events together, make great events together.He said he wished to eliminate barriers between groups, both physically and in programming.In addition to his duties at the university, Morris is also the head of building and grounds for the YMCA.Morris addressed the concern of some of the forum about the likelihood of the university continuing to support the union now when the Memorial Union is coming under the jurisdiction of the department of student affairs.He said when the mission of an institute is education, then he has hope, because he and his staff can show people what is done in the union, and how it is done."The mission of the institution is education, not academics," Morris said.Morris said he felt the best way to ensure the Memorial Union continues to increase in usage is to partner with other large groups on the campus, like the department of residence and the athletics department."Anywhere students experience learning outside a classroom is a natural partner [for the union]," Morris said.To get to the next level of performance for the union, Morris said he felt he needed to spend more time outside his office than in it and work to provide a union that is cheery, vibrant and open.
Henry Morris - Secretary/Treasurer
Henry Morris, Presidential Fellow, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Mankato, MN