In 1948 the Student Union began merely as a social room adjoining the cafeteria available to students. A larger social room in White Hall later began serving students in 1956. This room is now the dean’s suite of offices. As Nicholls reached more milestones, an influx of student spirit and loyalty prevailed. This heightened element led to the desire and need for more student space. At a cost of less than $24,000, a temporary student center was built and opened to students and faculty in the fall of 1960. Funds allocated to the construction of the science building paid for the temporary student center. The temporary center opened where the Powell-White hall patio is today.
As enrollment increased, the temporary student union became unbelievably crowded. Suitable to students needing ample space for relaxation and recreation, Galliano appeared before the Student Senate in hopes of attaining a permanent and more modern facility. The temporary structure was deficient of many conveniences that normal unions had. Galliano’s proposed self assessment ($5 each spring and fall, $2.50 each summer) was approved, allowing the college to borrow as much as $1 million to build a modern day, permanent student union.
In 1960, Acadia Hall, known as Galliano, opened as a student union–cafeteria combination. As to not confuse the proposed student union with the student union-cafeteria, a “wall” was created using movable bookcases in order to separate the two spaces. Although the new student union-cafeteria would be adequate for many years, the vision of having the cafeteria separate from the student union was unrelenting.
Although the state board allocated $1 million towards remodeling and expanding the five-year-old Student Union in 1972, the project was not completed until the fall of 1988.Upon completion of the $1,135,000 project, the Student Union facilities were well planned, modern and most importantly, inviting. The newly renovated snack bar area offered a fairly broad menu, prompt service and table seating at three levels. Constructed where the bookstore was once established, Le Bijou Movie Theater included 180 seats available for viewing in videotape rather than film format.
Reflective of the diverse population at Nicholls State University, activities and programs have also changed and evolved over the years. The Student Union continues to remain the center of campus life, while creating a sense of community and enhancing the quality of life on campus.