View of the Memorial Union from the north side (2004).

The Memorial Union is one of the main buildings on UC Davis Campus, and arguably the most publicly traveled building. Often dubbed "the MU", it contains a variety of interesting places and things. Students pay a yearly "Memorial Union Fee" of $85.50. Open 24 Hours during the week of finals as to provide students space to study.


View of the Memorial Union from the east side (2010).

According to the UCD V-tour, it was "dedicated in 1955 to honor 128 UC Davis students and alumni who lost their lives in military service." Griffin Lounge houses the Golden Memory Book, which lists all of the names of former UC Davis students who died in the armed services.

At least part of the $1 million cost was raised by the then-new Cal Aggie Alumni Assocation (CAAA). It was built on the site of West Hall, which was constructed in 1917 and housed 67 men until 1955.

When originally built the MU was only a single story building, housing a dining commons, kitchen, faculty club, student lounge, Alumni Association offices, a soda fountain and a student store. But fund raising campaigns from 1961 to 1968 added the second, third and fourth stories along with the MU Games Area and the UC Davis Bookstore. It was last renovated in 1996 to bring the seismic safety rating from "poor" to "good", at a cost of $8.4 million. The 4 story concrete lattice that is visible from the south side of the MU was added at that time to reinforce the building.

In spring of 2007, one of the largest flashmobs in US history occurred at the ATM machines.

Memorial Union Renewal Project

The MU will be undergoing a massive renovation, beginning in Spring 2015. Most offices and departments will close or relocate during portions of the renovations. Lounge and study spaces will be expanded, ADA compliances and seismic codes will be met, retail spaces updated, the UC Davis Veterans Affairs Office will move in, and entry ways will be made "more dynamic."

Concept render of the new lounge spaces.Concept renderConcept render


Areas in the MU

The MU hosts to several commercial operations, some owned and operated by UC Davis itself, other private businesses that lease space from UC Davis via the MU Auxillary Services department (homepage: Other space in the union is devoted to University administrative offices related to students, student government, and various meeting rooms.

First Floor

The Memorial Union's flags and seal are prominent on the north side (2005).

Second Floor

Third Floor

Fourth Floor

Fifth Floor


Note: the MU Basement connects with Lower Freeborn Hall

Outdoor Meeting places

These are the default meeting places for many students, as they are more or less centrally located on campus and are well known to students by their first week at UCD.

Other points of interest

  • The Cleanest Bathrooms in the building are on the second floor and up. Avoid the first floor bathrooms if you can.
  • There is a bike pump located on the west side of the Catering trailer near the bike racks.
  • The Stanford Tree has been sighted here.
  • The elevators and stairs can connect you to Lower Freeborn, and vice versa.
  • The wind chimes on the north side are nice to listen to, particularly during the spring.

Surveillance Cameras

On April 5, 2007, Campus Unions installed a number of surveillance cameras in the Memorial Union sending a strong message to everyone who enters the building, "You are being watched."


In front of The Corral Between the bookstore and the Info Desk North-west hallway Post Office Entrance


On the North West corner outside the Griffin Lounge By the telescreen Across from the CoHo grill, south of the main entrance to the Griffin Lounge South of the entrance to the CoHo grill


By the main south-facing entrance By the elevators On November 29, 2006, construction workers were seen removing the tiles on the first floor. The MU's "chimes". You win this round, Cal.

Former places in the MU