First students walk through Confluence Arts Center

Student Senate was given a tour of the unfinished building as a ‘thank you’ for their donation

More stories from Rachyl Houterman


Photo by Kar Wei Cheng

Student senators walk through the Confluence Arts Center on a tour guided by Jason Jon Anderson, the executive director of the project. The building is set to open in Fall 2018.

Student Senate was the first group of students to set foot in the unfinished Confluence Arts Center  last Wednesday morning during a ‘thank you’ tour for their donation to the building.

On Oct. 23, the Senate body passed a bill to gift $71,540 to the Confluence Center to fund the LED lighting in the building. The bill was a follow-up to a 2015 pledge to financially support the Confluence Center. The money was provided entirely from the Student Office of Sustainability’s (SOS) Green Fund.

Senate’s contribution will be marked by a permanent donor plaque and a special donors group plaque once the building opens.

Jason Jon Anderson, the interim executive director of the Confluence Arts Center, guided a group of student senators through the building early Wednesday morning, noting Senate’s contribution marks the first partnership between the UW-Eau Claire campus and the community.

The building, which is set to open September 2018, will provide two main theaters, rehearsal rooms, visual arts studios, instructional spaces and more for the community and UW-Eau Claire students.

The smallest theater is the black box-designed Jamf Theatre, which upon completion will hold about 400 people. Black box theaters are known for their flexible seating arrangements. The other theater is the traditionally styled proscenium RCU theater, which will be able to seat about 1,200 people.

The new building will also include a recording studio, which is the first of its kind for the UW-Eau Claire campus, Anderson said.

Kristina Haideman, the Student Office of Sustainability director, said the partnership between the campus and the community for the project is going to be “an integral part of what it means to be a student at Eau Claire.”

Haideman said she remembers when plans for the Confluence Center were first announced. Now, watching it taking shape, she said, it’s “so neat to see.”

Regarding Student Senate’s contribution to the Confluence Center, Haideman said student senators don’t always understand their impact on campus or in the community, but the tour showed students can have a significant impact financially.

“I look forward to how much the Confluence will influence Eau Claire and the spirit of Eau Claire,” Haideman said. “I think students will take it on as a great opportunity for them to learn and grow as students and become leaders within the community, too.”