EMU history documentary premieres June 6

The EMU stars in a June 6 documentary free and open to the public
The EMU stars in a June 6 documentary free and open to the public

In the early 1950s, the saying was “meet me at the SU” – a reference to the Erb Memorial Union.

That’s also the title of an upcoming documentary on the history of the facility: "Meet Me at the SU: A History of the Erb Memorial Union" premieres at 6 p.m. June 6, in the EMU Ballroom, free and open to the public.

Presented by the Division of Student Affairs and written and directed by Oregon journalism graduate Jonna Threlkeld, the film features interviews with Oregon alumni representing generations of students dating to 1945.

The film covers the 25-year struggle to build the student union and key players who led the campaigns, including late university president Donald Milton Erb, for whom the building was named. The EMU served not only as a common ground for students and their organizations, but also as a memorial to Oregonians who died in World War II and a facility for young men returning from service.

University of Oregon students voted recently to approve a fee that would support a $100 million renovation of the EMU. If the project is approved by the 2013 Oregon Legislature, groundbreaking could occur in the fall of 2014, and the building could be completed a little more than two years later.

Starting at 5 p.m. for the documentary premiere, five-cent ice cream cones and ten-cent root beer floats will be sold in the EMU Fishbowl cafeteria – just as they were in 1950. A display of movie stills and video footage from the film will be showcased, as well.

Wendy Polhemus, EMU interim director, championed the making of the film. What began as a proposed 15-minute video became a nearly hour-long documentary history of the building, the people who made it happen and its impact on campus and students throughout the years.

- by Division of Student Affairs