The CSU celebrates its 56th birthday

Minnesota State’s Centennial Student Union celebrated its 56th birthday Friday with free cake for the campus community.

Lenny Koupal, the Communications Coordinator of the CSU, has been working at Minnesota State since 2010 and was present at the 50th anniversary of the CSU. He said the CSU first opened on Oct. 27, 1967.

“At that time, they were celebrating the centennial of 1967, so that’s how the CSU got its name because we were open on the homecoming of the centennial year,” Koupal said.

Over the years, the CSU has gone through several remodeling phases. There used to be a wooden wall surrounding the MavAve, and it was called the Stockade because it resembled a fort.

“Where the Hearth Lounge is, that used to be an outdoor patio,” Koupal said. “Since then, Ostrander has been remodeled, the ballroom has been remodeled, pretty much everything in the building has been remodeled in the last 12 years.”

During its 50th anniversary, the CSU had an event called Serendipitous Memories. Alumni were invited to retell memories from their years at the CSU, and these memories were recorded on placards near Ostrander Auditorium.

“What we are doing here today is remembering that this is a student’s house. We want to celebrate with the students the annual birthday of their house,” Koupal said.

The mission of the CSU is summarized in three words written in various places at the CSU: Invite. Involve. Inspire. Koupal said the CSU wants to continue maintaining these goals into the future.

“That’s not just three words, that’s about a progress, a growth,” Koupal said. “Students are invited and getting involved, and suddenly they are inspired.”

Mark Constantine, Director of the CSU, said the CSU will be replacing various windows in the building, such as the large windows running from Starbucks to Ostrander Auditorium, as well as windows on the second floor. He said those windows are old and lack proper insulation. Constantine said meeting rooms 201 through 204 will also undergo remodeling in the summer of 2025.

“We’re just freshening them up, new carpets, new walls, not furniture necessarily,” Constantine said.

Senior Henry Bowring-McDonough  works in the Student Activities office as a board member of the Student Events team and likes the way the CSU bustles with activity.

“In elementary school or high school, there’s a feeling when you walk through a certain set of doors, usually it’s your school building; but in college, that’s lost because there are so many buildings,” Bowring-McDonough said. “I feel like that same sentiment comes when walking into the CSU because it can be really busy, you see a lot of people you know, you can get food,  and you can take classes.”

Junior Jaxson Karline also previously served as a board member of the Student Events team and was also previously active in MavPass and as a community advisor.

“I like the bullpen because a lot of my friends live in different sections of campus, so it’s a common area where you all know you can meet up,” Karline said. “My first year here, my friends and I tried to do pool at least once a week to catch up and see each other.”

Write to Tracy Swartzendruber at

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