Purpose of this Page
I hope to document the Res Rat's (Rez Rat's) of Miami Universtiy Student Center, Redskin Reservation, "The Res" and Shriver Center. I goggled around searching for any internet reference and found little about Res Rats. If your here, you likely googled Res Rat and found very little, but this is the place and I'm interested in your Res Rat history. Already plans are underway to build a new student center to replace the Res (Shriver Center) so I'm hoping to capture as much information about Res Rat's as possible before they retire Shriver Center as a student center. Any information or stories from Alumni who called the Res their home away from home during their years at Miami are of interest to me. I'm hoping to capture the Res/Shriver Center history through the Alumni eyes.
What is the Res?
The Res was a slang name for the University Center Lower Snack Bar the Redskin Reservation and eventually slang term for the building.
In the lower ground floor of the original layout of the Res was a snack bar and common area with lots of tables and chairs and was called the "Redskin Reservation" and then shortened in name to "The Res" by students and faculty. Since "The Res" was where you usually ended up when you went to the University Center, "Going to the Res" ended up as a generic reference to the building and not just the Redskin Reservation downstairs. There is some historical indication that Dr. P. Shriver created a committee that officially declaired the the Redskin Reservation to be called "The Res" officially around 1972 to insure that the name was not offensive to native americans or the Miami Tribe. The building has mistakenly been called the "Student Union" at various times but I don't think the funding or operation was ever a Student Union model.
Defining Res Rat's
Res Rat's were people who frequented the "The Res" or Shriver Center, maybe too much. They came there before classes for a coffee and a quick check of notes before exams, to meet friends between classes, to buy and eat toasted rolls to survive on, and hold long study sessions in the Zebra Room during finals week. Eventually a Res Rat might get a job at the Res (since you were already there all the time), working the dishroom, building maintenance or in the food service area. You realized that if you could identify the Res Rat's in the building, that you might be one yourself.
The Res Rat Era
Res Rat's Some 1950s alumni have told me that there was a redskin reservation and "res rats" that predate the Student Center/Shriver Center, in an old building that served as the student center before Shriver. The Student Center/Shriver center res rats were around about three decades starting in the mid 1960s and ending in the late 1980s. The first (and maybe only) official historical reference I can find is in a Miami University M-Book in 1965 M-Books were student handbooks given to freshman as orientation material. In the M-Book there is a glossary of slang terms including one for the Res and a definition of Res Rat shown above. The Res Rat definition vanishes in subsequent M-Book issues. In 1981 the official name was changed to Shriver Center and the era of "The Res" started a slow fade. By 1985 plans were in place to remodel the building and replace the long standing Res grill with a food court as part of the rennovation. The name change and the remodeling wiped "The Res" and "Res Rat" from the student slang vocabulary by around 1990.
Res Rat Data
Were you a Res Rat? I want to hear from you! Did you waitress the 1809 room? Did you work in the dishroom with Big Ernie? Did you consume nothing but Cherry Cokes and 55 cent toasted rolls for months? Did you sleep in the Zebra Room during finals week, wash windows with that green and white can of window cleaner? Did you play pool with Ed? Buy your cigarette at the candy counter? Did you mop those hiddious green stairs in the east stairwell? I'm Looking for other Res Rat's to put on the hall of fame list, when you were there, what you did, stories, photos, anything you have, your Res Rat Memories. At one point there was a tee shirt, if anyone has one or a picture of one email me.
The University Center was finished in 1957 with the east wing being added around 1962. In 1981 it was renamed the Shriver Center to honor Miami's outgoing president Phillip R. Shriver. In the late 80s rennovations filled in the area between the east and west wings changing the C-Shape of the building to the shape it is today.
1959 - No East Wing