President Nelsen and cakePresident Robert S. Nelsen celebrates the University Union's 40th anniversary amid a shower of confetti on Thursday, April 14. (Sacramento State/Dixie Reid)

Union frontThis 1970s photo of the University Union includes the original South Lawn, an area now occupied by the Union Ballroom, the Hinde Auditorium, the Main Lobby, and the loading dock. (Photo courtesy of the University Union)

Union rearA ramp once descended from the second floor down toward the Library Quad. (Photo courtesy of the University Union)

Preview story: Students, faculty, and staff will gather Thursday, April 14, at the University Union, in the heart of Sacramento State’s campus, to help celebrate the major milestone that is the Union’s 40th birthday.

The University Union first opened its doors in Fall 1975 as “the living room of the University.” It now serves as a top break spot for members of the Sac State community to rest and refuel for their next class or study session. This campus hot spot gives students a place to eat in a large food court and study in the upstairs lounge area; it hosts major campus events in the many event rooms; and it provides a home for many services, programs, and amenities. Also in the works is a 70,000-square-foot addition. Construction is expected to begin in January 2017.

“We are excited to celebrate this milestone and to take the opportunity to reflect on our good fortune in having a vibrant, well-utilized Union at Sac State,” says University Union Director Dean Sorensen. “Our current campus community truly benefits from the foresight, involvement, and financial sacrifice of prior generations of students – along with the support of faculty and staff over the years – in making this possible.”

Union staff have been hard at work planning the 40th birthday celebration, which starts at 2 p.m. with remarks by President Robert S. Nelsen and birthday cake served to all attendees (while supplies last).

Music, dancing, and giveaways will follow from 2 to 6 p.m. This will include live music from Element Brass Band, a New Orleans second line band; and Funkengruven, a soul/funk/R&B ’70s cover band. Additional performances scheduled include the Quetzalcoatl Citlalli Aztec Dancers and Obsidian Butterfly. Following these performances, campus radio station KSSU will take over to complete the celebration. All live music and entertainment will take place in the main lobby area on the Union’s first floor.

To close out the night, the University Union will host a free Latin/funk/hip-hop concert by Grammy and Latin Grammy-winning band Ozomatli at 7 p.m. in Serna Plaza (or the University Union Ballroom, depending on weather). The concert is free and open to the public, and Sol Peligro and the Quetzalcoatl Citlalli Aztec Dancers also will perform.

To kick off the celebration a little early, students can participate in the 75 x 40 Instagram Scavenger Hunt from now until April 14. This is a game where students solve riddles, take photos of the answers, and post them on Instagram for a chance of winning a prize. More details on the scavenger hunt can be found at

For more information, visit or call (916) 278-6997. – Danielle Higley