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Student Life Traditions: PSUB Adapts to Preserve Traditions of Entertainment, Enrichment

Students attending Movie Night at Ross-Ade

Purdue Student Union Board has been part of the fabric of the Student Life experience for 100 years. Founded in 1920, the first Student Union Board consisted of five students. Today the organization, affectionately known as PSUB, boasts nearly 100 active members.


PSUB provides a variety of programs and services that exist to enrich the lives of college students through cultural experiences and entertainment. In addition to working hard to present exciting programs to the campus community, the board also provides a hands-on experience in event planning and innumerable leadership and professional development opportunities for its members. PSUB also serves as the voice of Purdue students in the cooperative management of the Purdue Memorial Union.

Generations of Boilermakers have enjoyed movie showings in Fowler Hall, social hours, trivia nights, the annual Holidays at the Union celebration and more, thanks to PSUB. Holidays at the Union is an annual favorite of Boilermakers and visitors to campus. The board began procuring a Christmas tree for display in the Purdue Memorial Union during the 1930s. Originally, the tree was brought in Wisconsin or Northern Indiana; since 1975, the trees have come from local, philanthropic residents. The iconic display of the tree in the Great Hall has been enjoyed by generations of Boilermakers. Other aspects of the celebration include a tree lighting ceremony, events highlighting holiday celebrations around the world, musical entertainment, breakfast with Santa and more.

While specific activities and events presented over the years by PSUB have changed, the tradition of providing enriching experiences for students remains intact – even in the face of challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s modified Holidays at the Union celebration included a light display in Academy Park designed by Purdue alumnus Jim Heath. Virtual events included Zoom visits with Santa and live readings of holiday stories by Mrs. Claus on the PSUB Facebook page. The ability of PSUB to modify these events for the Purdue community is a testament to the organization’s persistence.

Students holding popcorn at a Ross-Ade Movie Night

PSUB has additionally taken advantage of outdoor space to present movie nights in Ross-Ade Stadium, where a limited audience can enjoy a showing on one of the largest video boards in a college football stadium. PSUB additionally played a lead role in a collaborative effort to host outdoor student watch parties for the first two Purdue football games of the season. The organization has also hosted online trivia nights, virtual talent shows, game nights and a speaker series.

As PSUB begins its next 100 years of work, the organization remains in a strong place thanks to the commitment and ability to adapt to challenges by its members. Connect with PSUB via social media to stay informed of upcoming events.

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