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First Year Programs

Red Square: A Central Space for Meeting and for Resistance

Surrounded by two libraries, a performing arts theater, a lecture hall, and the administration building, Red Square is the heart of the University of Washington’s scenic campus. The plaza earned its moniker after concerns about wet grass causing damage in the underground parking garage constructed in 1969 motivated officials to have the space paved with red bricks. From the 1920s until the late 1960s, the center of campus was a grassy field, referred to as the Central Plaza or the Suzzallo Quadrangle; before that, the space was briefly occupied by the Government Building, a monumental structure built for the 1909 Alaska-Pacific-Yukon Exposition and demolished shortly thereafter. 

Before and since 1971, Red Square has been the site of a wide variety of events and gatherings and demonstrations, and protests. As early as the 1930s, students convened in the space for anti-war protests; other causes that have sparked protests in the space include nuclear weapons (1950s), the mistreatment of Black students on campus (60s), the draft and the Vietnam war (60s & 70s), and the World Trade Organization (1999). Notable community events held in Red Square include the Late Night Carnival and the RSO Fair during Dawg Daze and the Night Market hosted by the Taiwanese Student Association (TSAUW) every spring. 

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