As director of the Popp Martin Student Union and Cone University Center, Morgan Meehan has a passion for creating environments that promote 49er engagement.
A graduate of Indiana University with a Master of Science in Higher Education and Student Affairs, Meehan said she has always envisioned herself working with students and quickly obtained experience as a graduate assistant.
“I gained a breadth of experience in a short amount of time. I was fortunate to be a member of a cohort that challenged me to think critically about my own experiences and how they shape our views,” Meehan stated. “My experience in graduate school allowed me to expand my horizons and understand other people's life experiences, which has made me a better professional and person.”
Meehan began her career as the night and weekend coordinator for the events team at Ohio State University. She assisted in coordinating nearly 32,000 events each year. She joined the Division of Student Affairs at UNC Charlotte in January 2017 as the senior associate director of the Popp Martin Student Union and Cone University Center, before being promoted to director in September.
“The Division of Student Affairs is an organization where I could see myself making a difference,” Meehan said. “Having a bigger role on what was going on campus and what is happening in the Student Union was an opportunity I could not pass up.”
As the community center of the University, the Popp Martin Student Union functions as a place where students can feel they belong on campus.
Meehan’s multifaceted vision for the Union and Cone University Center is to ensure that both buildings support students and enhance campus life today and well into the future.
"Research shows that in order for students to be successful, they need to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness where they are; our goal is to create the spaces on campus for that to happen," Meehan said.
That connectedness impacts students after graduation, too.
“You don’t stop being a 49er just because you graduated; it’s important to fuel lifelong connections among students,” Meehan said. “Students who feel connected to their university become successful and engaged alumni.”
With the University on the cusp of change and rapidly growing each year, Meehan sees the Student Union as a place to foster pride among Niner Nation members.
“Architecturally, the Student Union is beautiful, but we hope to bring in some life to make it uniquely a part of UNC Charlotte,” Meehan said. Plans in the works include a graphics branding project with a design firm and technology upgrades in meeting and event spaces.
The Popp Martin Student Union will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its opening in fall 2019.
“We aren't the ‘new’ Student Union anymore, we are part of the student experience, and we need to reflect the modern needs of today's students and the needs of the UNC Charlotte community," Meehan said.
When she isn’t spreading Niner pride, Meehan enjoys traveling and spending time with family, including her dog.
This article originally appeared in Inside UNC Charlotte.