Rudder Plaza became a beach on Wednesday to celebrate the Memorial Student Center’s 68th birthday.
University Center and Special Events hosted the shark sighting-themed party from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Anyone with a Texas A&M UIN was able to participate and receive a free T-shirt and goody bag. The event offered yard games for prizes, free samples from several vendor booths and a photo opportunity with Reveille.
The MSC opened in 1951 to fill the need for a student union. As the number of students increased and technology improved, the MSC was renovated from 1971 to 1974, and again from 1989 to 1991 and 2009 to 2012.
University Center and Special Events communications coordinator Kelly Jo Eblen said the birthday party became an annual event after the MSC was remodeled and rededicated in 2012.
Eblen said the marketing team picks a new theme every year and incorporates an educational component into the party. This year, there were infographics about different types of sharks and a shark trivia booth.
“We also do an assessment every year after the party, so we get suggestions from everyone who takes that survey,” Eblen said. “We just thought this would kind of be a fun, cool theme for our students to get behind.”
Sponsors included the Association of Former Students, Transportation Services and Barnes and Noble bookstore. McAlister’s catered sandwiches, and Bahama Bucks and Nothing Bundt Cakes gave away free samples.
“It could not be possible without the support of our sponsors, so it’s a really great opportunity for us to connect with all of the support around campus and in our community,” Eblen said. “More importantly, it’s a way for us to give back to students for their support of the MSC throughout the year. Students treat the MSC like the living room of campus.”
Communication sophomore Claire Shenkir works at the event services desk in Rudder Tower and helped with MSC Birthday last year. Shenkir said the turnout this year was a little smaller compared to last year because it started to rain about 30 minutes before the event ended. However, Shenkir said the event was still a great opportunity to connect with the student body.
“I love when everyone can come out and everything’s free,” Shenkir said. “It’s a super cool event to give back to the students because they give a lot to us.”
International studies sophomore Jillian Poe helps set up rooms in the MSC and Rudder Tower for events and said this was her first year helping with MSC Birthday.
“[It took] a lot of teamwork coming out here and setting up all the tables and the tents, and making sure all the vendors were happy with where they were and what they had,” Poe said. “I came in at 8 a.m., but people were here at 7 a.m.”
Poe said she has worked in the MSC for a year and a half and was excited to get involved in MSC Birthday this semester.
“It’s about bringing the whole Aggie family together and honoring the awesome building that we have and everyone loves,” Poe said.