In 1941 the chemistry and biology departments moved into a brand-new building (now Fine Arts) leaving the greenhouse without a purpose for a time .
Although the university had a cafeteria in the Liberal Arts building (Haag Hall) it was only open during serving hours and closed in between. The Student Council therefore petitioned for the creation of a “canteen” — a place where students could grab a snack between classes, ‘hang-out’, and socialize — and in 1944 their petition was granted.
The greenhouse was converted into what was initially called the Kangaroo Kanteen and opened for business on November 6, 1944.
The Student Council quickly sponsored a contest to determine the official name of the space and the moniker of Kangaroo Kanteen lost out to “The Kangaroost”. Other suggestions had included “The Pouch”, “The Kangaroo’s Pouch”, “Decker’s Dungeon” (named for then-University President Clarence Decker), and “The Last Resort”.
The Kangaroost became the site of formal (and informal) Bridge tournaments and other card games, and student dances. A nickelodeon was purchased for the space at the cost of $80 to facilitate the latter. As for the Bridge games — it was not long before Bridge actually had to be banned in the Kangaroost because the Bridge players took up all the tables for marathon games!
Despite all of this the university was growing rapidly and even the greenhouse would be hard-pressed to keep up….