Historically, college unions began as public debate facilities, where students, faculty and staff could meet to discuss the topics of the day. They then evolved into places where the university community could gather in meetings, engage in self-governance, eat, and enjoy lectures and entertainment. Unions have also emerged as central areas where campus services are housed and campus visitors stop by to see what’s happening on campus or locate a specific office or service.
After passing a referendum for student body center fees to fund a student union, Fresno State opened its University Student Union (USU) on November 11, 1968. It was built for a student enrollment of 10,000 with 52,000 sq. ft. Led by a board of student leaders with administrative support, the USU housed the Daily Collegian and Alumni Offices. Changes have occurred over the years, bringing in new services, dining areas, and programs to respond to the needs of students. The USU continues to be where the University community gets involved with campus life.
As part of the 2011 Fresno State Centennial Celebrations, a Centennial Time Capsule was created and buried near the Memorial Fountain on campus as part of the ceremony.
Original USU Mission Statement:
"The University Student Union at California State University, Fresno strives to meet the ever-changing needs of our diverse campus community by offering within our facilities a multitude of services, programs, and events in an inviting and interactive atmosphere. In harmony with the academic mission of the university, we are committed to fostering student success by providing a positive learning environment. This is achieved through volunteer leadership experiences, educational and entertaining events, recreation and leisure activities, cultural programs, and student employment opportunities"