SCSU Strategic Planning & Reporting
Student Life & Development

DEPARTMENT: Atwood Memorial Center
DIRECTOR: Margaret Vos
PHONE NUMBER: 255-2905


Atwood Memorial Center is the community center of the university, serving students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests. It enhances community life and academic programs through a comprehensive program of activities, events, services and facilities. Atwood Memorial Center serves as a unifying force honoring each individual, valuing diversity and fostering a sense of community that cultivates enduring loyalty to St. Cloud State University.


  • Atwood Memorial Center will be one of the top ten student centers in the country for comparable universities.
  • It will be known for excellence in providing cultural, social, intellectual and recreational programs to enhance the educational experience and promote understanding of cultural diversity.
  • The services and amenities offered to the university and other organizations and individuals will be instrumental in increasing a greater sense of community and inclusiveness.
  • Through incorporation of leading edge technology and leadership opportunities, Atwood Memorial Center will enhance students' knowledge and skills while helping them train for leadership in our democracy.
  • The center will continue to build its comprehensive program within a framework that is very responsive to student needs while utilizing creative solutions that will allow it to move toward fiscal self-sufficiency.

OPERATING PRINCILES (division-wide):

We are committed to:

  • Providing the highest quality services possible to our constituents.
  • Respect differences and working toward greater diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Demonstrate civility in all discourse.
  • Responsible use of fiscal and human resources to serve students in fulfilling the goals of Student Life and Development and the university mission.



  • 165,000-square-foot facility is strong
  • mature/talented/strong full-time staff
  • strong student employment program
    -development based
  • food service options
  • student input
    -Atwood Center Council
    -staff meetings
    -food committee
  • heavily used center; 11,000 daily count
  • facility is student based
    -25+ meeting rooms
    -36 student offices/organizations
    -9 dining areas
    -student run art gallery
  • cultural venue
  • very responsive to policy change
  • strong community identity
  • facility is multipurpose for conferences
  • Theatre
    -video technology
    -sound system
    -weekly student run series
  • established pattern of increasing revenue from 30 to 40% to offset student fees


  • HVAC is inconsistent and not responsive
  • lack of convenient parking spaces
  • Rec Center is dated and worn
  • Quarry is under utilized and unfocused
  • lack of directional campus signage
  • the layout of the building is confusing; no main entrance
  • funding of student organizations and programs has remained constant or taken major cuts
  • student demands of space exceed our ability to meet them
  • lack of usable storage space
  • Theatre
    -lacks lights
    -lacks dressing room
  • placement of information desk
  • graduate assistant pay
  • technology funding not equal to need


  • Distance learning will allow us to expand our conferencing and lecture services.
  • Mississippi River walk/transit center on the south campus will increase traffic to the center of campus and Atwood.
  • The proposed St. Cloud area events center will attract more conference bookings to the greater St. Cloud area including Atwood.
  • The increasing non-traditional population will place a greater demand on services in Atwood.
  • City-issued alcohol permits will provide an opportunity to expand service options.
  • Academic partnerships will provide a venue for out-of-classroom experiences.
  • Corporate support has been identified as a source of revenue but there are concerns about meeting the needs that are attached to the donation.


  • Lack of 550 parking spaces due to the new library.
  • The proposed student services/bookstore building placement may reroute student traffic away from Atwood.
  • The proposed Pouring Rights contract may reduce Atwood revenue due to lack of beverage options.
  • The new library may duplicate services already available in Atwood:
    • 24 hour coffee shop
    • small lounges
    • meeting rooms
  • The proposed Lawrence Hall renovation may reduce the heavy use of Atwood by International students.



  • library
  • Eastman expansion (expanded recreational opportunities)
  • student services/bookstore
  • Lawrence Hall renovation
  • debit card development delayed
  • Pouring Rights (potential source of revenue for student organizations)
  • technology initiatives


  • Proposed St. Cloud area events center
  • Mississippi River walk

What are the trends you can identify from research literature, experience in the field, etc.?

  • shift of funding sources (less M & E, more student fee and revenue based)
  • recreation facilities and wellness center located in student unions
  • contract service for cleaning of building and printing services
  • distance learning for conferences and lectures
  • student center becoming the community center, therefore students not always priority in reserving space
  • service learning; connecting in class with out-of-class experiences
  • higher level of technology
    • computer labs
    • computer stores
  • cashless operation/debit card and smart card
  • pubs in student centers that serve alcohol
  • leadership centers generating academic credit for workshops
  • orientation/first-year experience centers located and connected to student unions

University Themes

Theme #1: Academic Distinction goes to the heart of the University's aspirations and springs from its heritage of excellence.

Student Life and Development will, through its programs, services and cooperative ventures with faculty, complement the academic mission of the university. In addition, SLD will provide students with distinctive opportunities to develop cultural, sensitivity, leadership, social and career oriented skills necessary for future success.

Academic Distinction - Continuing/ongoing programs and services

  • We are an ideal venue that provides various educational fairs, institutes, conferences, and workshops.
  • We provide out-of-class experiences in management and skill development for more than 75 student positions employed in all areas of Atwood.
  • There is an advanced level of intensive training for six building manager positions.
  • We provide venues for special classroom needs, e.g., mid-term exams and video conferences.
  • Classroom experiences through the areas of programming and leadership. Students are given credit for attendance at these various events.
  • Class curriculum based experience in studying our art collection, bowling classes, marketing projects, and customer service initiatives.
  • We provide graduate assistantships in areas of leadership, programming and management.
  • We provide management of Ritsche Auditorium and give assistance in scheduling classes and special events.
  • A permanent art collection committee made up of faculty, staff and students selects art for the building.
  • We provide quiet lounge space in an environment that is conducive to student study and small group discussions.
  • We house testing facilities that are:
    • computer based
    • providing all entrance exams (ACT, PPST, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT)
    • TOEFL
  • On-line research from library available in main lobby.
  • Involvement in University-wide committees.
    • Strategic Planning
    • Technology Y2K
    • Academic Council
    • Cultural Diversity
    • Excellence in Leadership
    • Institutional Review Board
    • Search Committees
  • Designate unused meeting rooms for study group use

Academic Distinction - New initiatives for this academic year

  • Develop marketing internship in conjunction with marketing program to provide the expertise needed to promote revenue areas in the building.
  • Increase graduate assistant standards and programs through university-wide discussions and research.
    • increase pay/benefits
    • improve recruitment techniques

Academic Distinction - Future initiatives

  • Work toward graduate programs in the areas of leadership and higher education.

    In order to accomplish this goal, the following departments and committees will be involved:
    • Academic Council
    • IFO Curriculum Committee
    • Graduate Studies
    • Department of Speech Communication
    • Department of Education

      Cost: N/A
  • Academic credit for leaders involved in student groups and programming.

    In order to accomplish this goal, the following departments and committees will be involved:
    • Academic Council
    • IFO Curriculum Committee
    • Graduate Studies
    • Department of Speech Communication
    • Department of Education

      Cost: N/A

Theme #2: A Service Community will lead to a more respectful and secure campus environment for everyone.

Student Life & Development will put students first in everything that we do. Guided by periodic assessment, we will provide the highest quality student services possible, cognizant of the diverse needs of our students. Further, SLD will model and advance the values of civility and service to others in an effort to develop a safer and more effective living-learning community.

Service Community - Continuing/ongoing programs and services

  • In-house retail services which generate approximately $400,000 annually
    • Copies Plus
    • Recreation Center
    • Information Desk
    • Meeting room rental/conferencing; 14,000 reservations annually
  • Contracted retail services which generate approximately $250,000 annually
    • credit union
    • ATM machines
    • reader board
    • hair salon
    • convenience store
    • vending
  • House 9 food service venues which generate approximately $200,000 annually featuring 4 name branding concepts - Hardee's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks Coffee.
  • House external services/offices
    • Minority Student Programs (newly renovated and expanded)
    • Student Life & Development
    • Student Disability Services (newly renovated and expanded)
    • MnSCU Student Data Center (established September 1998)
  • House 36 student organizations
  • Built and maintain cultural center
  • Extended office hours from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Extended the midnight closing time of the building during finals week to match library hours
  • Staff training
    • fall retreat required for all full-time staff and student management staff to set year-long goals, staff development and team building activities
    • Noel-Levitz customer service training required for all student staff
    • safety training for CPR, fire, tornado, bomb threats, snow emergency closing
  • Information
    • Atwood Web site
    • Atwood brochure
    • information desk staffed 17 hours a day
    • electronic sign updated daily
  • Assessment tools
    • Approximately 500 customer service surveys since 1996 indicate 92-95% satisfaction
    • Annual traffic counts since 1994; last year's count was 11,161
    • Focus groups on topics as needed (e.g., Rec Center renovation, Hardee's RFP)
  • Atwood Center Council, which meets monthly, serves as an advisory committee to review policy changes, needs, budgets, etc. The council is made up of student representatives from Residential Life, Student Government, Minority Student Programs, University Organizations, University Program Board, and Graduate Studies. Representatives from faculty, alumni, and Atwood staff also serve on the council.

Service Community - New initiatives for this academic year

  • To improve customer service in Atwood, we will pursue the following:
    • ongoing training to all full-time and student staff
    • all job descriptions to incorporate customer service in working objectives
    • information sessions to be scheduled with resident advisers, University Program Board, and student organizations to describe process for reserving rooms
    • create tools to educate on how to reserve rooms/use facility
      - video
      - information packet/checklist
      - Web site
    • Update scheduling software for faster, more efficient and customer friendly print-outs.
  • In order to provide a more effective living-learning community, we will develop an information system to advertise events that occur in Atwood.
    • directional signage within building including new area signs and directory
    • directional signage on 6th Avenue South
    • new electronic billboard needed to replace current one
    • improve Today in Atwood format to highlight events taking place in the building
    • Master Calendar Information system will be put on line by Learning Resources and accessible to everyone
    • information electronic kiosk in main lounge
    • create marketing internship
    • create conferencing information packet

Service Community - Future initiatives

  • Renovation of Recreation Center

    In order to accomplish this goal, the following people or departments will be involved:
    • Steve Ludwig, Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management
    • Buildings & Grounds
    • General Maintenance Workers
    • Atwood Center Council
    • Student Government

      The cost estimate is at $150,000, which has been budgeted from our R&R account.
  • Assessment of service areas

    Dr. Steve Frank, Director, SCSU Survey, will be hired to conduct a qualitative assessment of usage of service areas.

    Estimated cost of the study is $1,000, which will be budgeted.

Theme #3: Diversity and Justice will allow the University to better serve our rapidly changing world and foster a community of people of many backgrounds and perspectives working successfully together.

Student Life and Development through staff contacts, programs and services will foster an understanding of human differences and promote a just community in which every student is free to learn and grow.

Departments within Student Life and Development will provide a supportive, civil and welcoming environment for all members of the university community.

SLD will improve staff understanding of human differences and needs as they pertain to the delivery of services.

Diversity & Justice - Continuing/ongoing programs and services

  • Ongoing diversity training for all employees in Atwood.
    • Bernard Franklin seminar
    • Bassey Eyo presentation
    • Affirmative Action session
  • ongoing training on hate crime reporting and training on new protocols.
  • 13 cultural dinners and celebrations held in facility.
  • cultural buffet in Valhalla during lunch hour.
  • major policy changes which allow ceremonial burning by various cultural groups on campus.
  • to support and provide a variety of services and resources to students of color and International students that promote cross cultural interactions/learning and sharing. meals, festivals, organization space, cultural activities, cultural center, promotional space, storage of supplies

Diversity & Justice - New initiatives for this academic year

  • All service areas will be encouraged to provide for the diverse needs of the university population.
    • hair salon - services and hair products
    • Campus Mart - food items
    • food service - selection of menu choices
    • Information desk - magazines representing various cultures
  • Post a monthly calendar of holidays celebrated by all cultures.
    • encourage more celebration of culture during the daytime (e.g., luncheons, speakers, ceremonies)

Diversity & Justice - Future initiatives

  • Integration of orientation of international students to the university and services provided by Atwood.
    In order to meet this goal we will need to work with the following departments:
    • International Center staff
    • Records & Registration
    • Division of Student Life & Development

      Cost: None
  • Lawrence Hall renovation will provide opportunity for cooperation of services.
    In order to best serve the needs of international students, we will need to work with the following departments:
    • Buildings & Grounds
    • Residential Life
    • International Center

      Cost: None
  • In order to meet the growing needs of the students using the cultural center, we will be involved in locating additional space or a new location.

    Groups involved:
    • Atwood Center Council
    • Cultural Center Council
    • Minority Student Programs
    • Buildings & Grounds
    • Maintenance
    • Administrative offices

      Cost: $100,000

Theme #4: Information Technology is an important tool to realize many strategies.

Student Life and Development will develop and utilize information technology ethically and appropriately to improve services and program access to students and other constituents, with the goals of enhancing academic success and learning in the context of global society.

Information Technology - Continuing/ongoing programs and services

  • 7 e-mail terminals exist in main lounge of Atwood.
  • 8 web explore stations exist in the Quarry.
  • Full computer lab with 7 stations in cultural center.
  • We are wired for network/Internet access in all 23 meeting rooms.
  • Satellite down-link capabilities in the 3 major meeting rooms.
  • Internal server for all staff and student organizations in facility.
  • All rooms have motion control lighting system.
  • We have color technology printer/copier in Copies Plus available to the campus community.
  • State-of-the-art printing with digital network copier for all students/faculty/staff in Atwood.
  • Scanner available in Copies Plus.
  • Data projector system in theatre.

Information Technology - New initiatives for this academic year

  • Portable computer station to meet the needs of Power Point presentations.
  • Portable data projection system to be purchased which would allow us to be mobile with this service.
  • We will pursue the development of ITV broadcast capability for the various events that take place in Atwood.
  • Develop and install main lounge interactive kiosks for information on the university, its programs and activities.
  • Supporting role in the development of a web-based university calendar which would provide access to all campus constituents.

Information Technology - Future initiatives

  • Invest in upgrade to building network including server, computers and printers.
    Departments involved:
    • Academic Computer Center
    • Student Fee Committee

      Cost: $50,000-$100,000
    Plan to meet the needs of a wireless computer system which may include labs, ports and equipment.

    Departments involved:
    • Academic Computer Center
    • Learning Resources Center

      Cost: $100,000

Theme #5: University-External Relationships will be the key to many of our aspirations.

Community perception of the value that the University provides determines the level of our support. As a public university, SCSU has the responsibility to be a leading force in intellectual, cultural, and economic development and contribute to the fabric of Central Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.

Student Life and Development, through its programs and staff leadership, will contribute to the intellectual, cultural and economic development of the citizens of Central Minnesota.

Student Life and Development will promote and model positive involvement in the community by St. Cloud State University students and staff.

University-External Relationships - Continuing/ongoing programs and services

  • Host to more than 40 conferences annually including Association of College Unions International (ACUI), National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), and Midwest Association of College University Residential Housing (MACURH).
  • Major testing center for community that provides licensing from real estate to cosmetology.
  • The telephone information line for community after 4 p.m. and on weekends.
  • Venue and staff support services for community-wide events:
    • Founders Day, Homecoming, May Bowle, Wheels Wings Water, Chamber Connection, Mississippi Music Fest, Blues & BBQ.
    • encourage and support staff involvement in community committees, projects and events.
  • Community invited to participate in events, festivals, institutes, meetings, and performances.
  • Work in conjunction with Convention & Visitors Bureau in attracting conventions to the greater St. Cloud area.
  • Support and encourage staff involvement in professional organizations.

University-External Relationships - New initiatives for this academic year

  • Assist in the development and maintenance of on-line events calendar.
  • Involvement with the development of newly proposed event center.

University-External Relationships - Future initiatives

  • Work toward a university-wide solution for special event parking for the north side of campus venues.
    Departments involved:
    • Public Safety
    • Buildings & Grounds
    • Administrative Affairs
    • Music Department
    • Theatre Department
    • Continuing Studies

      Cost: $500,000 - millions
  • Update electronic information display board
    Departments involved:
    • Buildings & Grounds
    • University Relations
    • Administrative Affairs

      Cost: $250,000
  • Campus beautification project should also involve signage to locate venues and parking.
    Departments involved:
    • Buildings & Grounds
    • City of St. Cloud
    • Maintenance

      Cost: $100,000
  • New Mississippi River Walk would tie into Atwood as a rest stop/service center.
    Departments involved:
    • Buildings & Grounds
    • Administrative Affairs
    • City of St. Cloud

      Cost: N/A