Most Amazing Campus Student Unions - Best Value Schools

    Most Amazing Campus Student Unions

    February 12, 2021 | Staff Writers

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    When visiting a campus university, you often start at the student union. Here you find dining and shopping opportunities, university bookstores, and students in their natural habitat, “studying and hanging out.” However, not all student unions are created equally–some stand out and are nationally famous! Check out 15 of the most amazing campus student unions for their unique features and history!

    1

    Student Union, Oklahoma State University

    • Stillwater, Oklahoma
    • Graduation Rate: 63%
    oklahoma state university student union

    Features:

    Food court including: Chick-Fil-A, Jamba Juice, and Johnny Rockets.
    Steakhouse called “The Rancher’s Club.”
    University Store
    Credit union and UPS store.
    Atherton hotel that houses 81 guests.
    Student Services
    Movie Theater

    Fun Facts:

    This student union wasn’t paid for by any taxpayers. It was entirely funded by student fees and 75% of the building’s operating expenses are covered by its revenue.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1948
    Visit School Website
    2

    Michigan Union, University of Michigan

    • Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • Graduation Rate: 91%
    michigan student union

    Features:

    Food court including: Wendy’s, Panda Express, Starbuck’s, Ahmo’s Mediterranean Grill.
    Barnes & Noble Bookstore
    Computer Repair Center
    Student Services
    Credit Union
    Quiet study lounge.

    Fun Facts:

    Originally was used as  barracks and a mess hall during WWI for the Student Army Training Corps.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1917
    Visit School Website
    3

    Student Union, University of North Carolina – Charlotte

    • Charlotte, North Carolina
    • Graduation Rate: 56%

    Features:

    Art Gallery
    Movie Theater
    Salon
    Restaurants including: Wendy’s, Starbuck’s, and Einstein Bro Bagels.
    Barnes & Noble
    Norm’s Lounge
    Student Services

    Fun Facts:

    This student union is not UNC-Charlotte’s first. There used to be the Cone Student Center, but when it didn’t meet campus standards, they decided to build this new student union.
    Students can have their artwork featured in the gallery.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 2008
    Visit School Website
    4

    Memorial Union, Iowa State University

    • Ames, Iowa
    • Graduation Rate: 75%

    Features:

    Leadership & Service Center
    Three rotating art exhibits & a public art studio
    Bowling alley
    900+ student clubs & organizations

    Fun Facts:

    Iowa State’s Gold Star Hall memorial is engraved with the names of Iowa State students who lost their lives while fighting for our country.
    The real stained glass in the Gold Star Hall was designed by an Iowa State student.
    The fountain outside the MU features four Native American women who represent the four seasons.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1928
    Visit School Website
    5

    Wakehurst Student Center, Salve Regina University

    • Newport, Rhode Island
    • Graduation Rate: 68%

    Features:

    Bike loan program.
    Study Lounges
    Global Café

    Fun Facts:

    This student union is an exact replica of an Elizabethan England house.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1887
    Visit School Website

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    6

    Willard Straight Hall, Cornell University

    • Ithaca, New York
    • Graduation Rate: 94%

    Features:

    24 hour Computer Lab
    3 Eateries
    Fraternities & Sororities
    Music Room
    Cornell Cinema

    Fun Facts:

    This student union was built to honor of Cornell’s College of Architecture students.
    The architecture reflects gothic-style buildings.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1925
    Visit School Website
    7

    George Sherman Union, Boston University

    • Boston, Massachusetts
    • Graduation Rate: 87%

    Features:

    U.S. Post Office
    Food court including Panda Express and Starbuck’s.
    Student Services

    Fun Facts:

    The interior of this student union looks like a shopping mall.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1962
    Visit School Website
    8

    Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia University

    • New York City, New York
    • Graduation Rate: 95%

    Features:

    Two different cafes.
    Counseling and psychological services.
    Computer labs and kiosks.
    Citibank

    Fun Facts:

    This student union houses a Double Discovery center for low-income high school juniors and seniors.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1999
    Visit School Website
    9

    Purdue Memorial Union, Purdue University

    • West Lafayette, Indiana
    • Graduation Rate: 76%

    Features:

    Browsing Library
    Bowling Lanes
    Union Club Hotel

    Fun Facts:

    This student union was created to honor the Purdue students who gave their lives fighting for their country.
    The architect who designed the student union of Michigan University designed this student union too.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1924
    Visit School Website
    10

    O’hara Student Center, University of Pittsburgh

    • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    • Graduation Rate: 81%

    Features:

    Math Assistance Center
    Writing Center
    Ballroom with three chandeliers.
    Dining Rooms

    Fun Facts:

    This building was originally built for the Concordia Club. The University of Pittsburgh purchased it from the club in 2009. It then underwent massive renovations to become the current student center.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1929 (student center since 2011)
    Visit School Website
    11

    Memorial Union, Oregon State University

    • Corvallis, Oregon
    • Graduation Rate: 63%

    Features:

    Food court including Panda’s Express, Javastop, and Joe’s Burgers.
    Bowling Alley
    Shuffleboard
    Art Gallery
    Craft Center
    28 Student Programs

    Fun Facts:

    This student union was entirely built by donations from students and alumni.
    The ballroom at this student union is a popular venue for special events.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1929
    Visit School Website
    12

    Ohio Union, The Ohio State University

    • Columbus, Ohio
    • Graduation Rate: 83%

    Features:

    Barnes & Noble
    Dining opportunities including Woody’s and Sloopy’s.
    Discount ticket sales for sporting events, and all shows.

    Fun Facts:

    This student union was the first student union created at any public university.
    Until the year 1960, men were required to take off their hats before entering the student union.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1909
    Visit School Website
    13

    Texas Union, University of Texas at Austin

    • Austin, Texas
    • Graduation Rate: 81%

    Features:

    Cactus Café
    Bowling Alley
    Tower Tours
    Black Box Theater
    Food court including Chick-Fil-A, Zen, and Starbuck’s.

    Fun Facts:

    The Student Activity Center is highly sustainable with green roofs, natural day lighting, and a rainwater collection system that helps water the landscape.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1933
    Visit School Website
    14

    EMU Student Center, Eastern Michigan University

    • Ypsilanti, Michigan
    • Graduation Rate: 54%

    Features:

    Food court including Starbuck’s, Subway, Wendy’s, and the Green Market Bistro.
    Chase Bank
    Student Services
    Two Art Galleries
    Fireplace Lounges
    Retention Pond

    Fun Facts:

    This student union is very eco-friendly, with over 80% of the Student Center services using natural lighting.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 2006
    Visit School Website
    15

    Memorial Union, Arizona State University

    • Tempe, Arizona
    • Graduation Rate: 67%

    Features:

    MidFirst Bank and Arizona State Credit Union
    Scoular Study
    Fraternity and Sorority
    Bowling and Billiards
    Food court including Burger King, AFC Sushi, Pei Wei, and Chick-Fil-A.

    Fun Facts:

    There is free music every Tuesday at the outdoor plaza.
    The first director of this student union was a woman named Cecilia Scoular, after whom the Scoular study was named.

    School Overview

    Year Built: 1956
    Visit School Website

    1. Student Union, Oklahoma State University

    oklahoma state university student union

    Year Built: 1948

    Features:

    • Food court including: Chick-Fil-A, Jamba Juice, and Johnny Rockets.
    • Steakhouse called “The Rancher’s Club.”
    • University Store
    • Credit union and UPS store.
    • Atherton hotel that houses 81 guests.
    • Student Services
    • Movie Theater

    Fun Facts:

    • This student union wasn’t paid for by any taxpayers. It was entirely funded by student fees and 75% of the building’s operating expenses are covered by its revenue.

    2. Michigan Union, University of Michigan

    michigan student union

    Year Built: 1917

    Features:

    • Food court including: Wendy’s, Panda Express, Starbuck’s, Ahmo’s Mediterranean Grill.
    • Barnes & Noble Bookstore
    • Computer Repair Center
    • Student Services
    • Credit Union
    • Quiet study lounge.

    Fun Facts:

    • Originally was used as  barracks and a mess hall during WWI for the Student Army Training Corps.

    3. Student Union, University of North Carolina-Charlotte

    university of north carolina

    Year Built: 2008

    Features:

    • Art Gallery
    • Movie Theater
    • Salon
    • Restaurants including: Wendy’s, Starbuck’s, and Einstein Bro Bagels.
    • Barnes & Noble
    • Norm’s Lounge
    • Student Services

    Fun Facts:

    • This student union is not UNC-Charlotte’s first. There used to be the Cone Student Center, but when it didn’t meet campus standards, they decided to build this new student union.
    • Students can have their artwork featured in the gallery.

    4. Memorial Union, Iowa State University

    Year Built: 1928

    Features:

    • Leadership & Service Center
    • Three rotating art exhibits & a public art studio
    • Bowling alley
    • 900+ student clubs & organizations

    Fun Facts:

    • Iowa State’s Gold Star Hall memorial is engraved with the names of Iowa State students who lost their lives while fighting for our country.
    • The real stained glass in the Gold Star Hall was designed by an Iowa State student.
    • The fountain outside the MU features four Native American women who represent the four seasons.

    5. Wakehurst Student Center, Salve Regina University

    Wakehurt Student Center

    Year Built: 1887

    Features:

    • Bike loan program.
    • Study Lounges
    • Global Cafe

    Fun Facts:

    • This student union is an exact replica of an Elizabethan England house.

    6. Willard Straight Hall, Cornell University

    willard straight hall, cornell university

    Year Built: 1925

    Features:

    • 24 hour Computer Lab
    • 3 Eateries
    • Fraternities & Sororities
    • Music Room
    • Cornell Cinema

    Fun Facts:

    • This student union was built to honor of Cornell’s College of Architecture students.
    • The architecture reflects gothic-style buildings.

    7. George Sherman Union, Boston University

    boston university student union

    Year Built: 1962

    Features:

    • U.S. Post Office
    • Food court including Panda Express and Starbuck’s.
    • Student Services

    Fun Facts:

    • The interior of this student union looks like a shopping mall.

    8. Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia University

    lerner-night-rev

    Year Built: 1999

    Features:

    • Two different cafes.
    • Counseling and psychological services.
    • Computer labs and kiosks.
    • Citibank

    Fun Facts:

    • This student union houses a Double Discovery center for low-income high school juniors and seniors.

    9. Purdue Memorial Union, Purdue University

    purdue memorial union

    Year Built: 1924

    Features:

    • Browsing Library
    • Bowling Lanes
    • Union Club Hotel

    Fun Facts:

    • This student union was created to honor the Purdue students who gave their lives fighting for their country.
    • The architect who designed the student union of Michigan University designed this student union too.

    10. O’hara Student Center, University of Pittsburgh

    o'hara student center

    Year Built: 1929; student center since 2011

    Features:

    • Math Assistance Center
    • Writing Center
    • Ballroom with three chandeliers.
    • Dining Rooms

     

    Fun Facts:

    • This building was originally built for the Concordia Club. The University of Pittsburgh purchased it from the club in 2009. It then underwent massive renovations to become the current student center.

    11. Memorial Union, Oregon State University

    memorial union

    Year Built: 1929

    Features:

    • Food court including Panda’s Express, Javastop, and Joe’s Burgers.
    • Bowling Alley
    • Shuffleboard
    • Art Gallery
    • Craft Center
    • 28 Student Programs

    Fun Facts:

    • This student union was entirely built by donations from students and alumni.
    • The ballroom at this student union is a popular venue for special events.

    12. Ohio Union, The Ohio State University

    ohio union

    Year Built: 1909

    Features:

    • Barnes & Noble
    • Dining opportunities including Woody’s and Sloopy’s.
    • Discount ticket sales for sporting events, and all shows.

    Fun Facts:

    • This student union was the first student union created at any public university.
    • Until the year 1960, men were required to take off their hats before entering the student union.

    13. Texas Union, UT Austin

    texas union

    Year Built: 1933

    Features:

    • Cactus Cafe
    • Bowling Alley
    • Tower Tours
    • Black Box Theater
    • Food court including Chick-Fil-A, Zen, and Starbuck’s.

    Fun Facts:

    • The Student Activity Center is highly sustainable with green roofs, natural day lighting, and a rainwater collection system that helps water the landscape.

    14. EMU Student Center, Eastern Michigan University

    EMU Student Center

    Year Built: 2006

    Features:

    • Food court including Starbuck’s, Subway, Wendy’s, and the Green Market Bistro.
    • Chase Bank
    • Student Services
    • Two Art Galleries
    • Fireplace Lounges
    • Retention Pond

    Fun Facts:

    • This student union is very eco-friendly, with over 80% of the Student Center services using natural lighting.

    15. Memorial Union, Arizona State University

    arisona state university

    Year Built: 1956

    Features:

    • MidFirst Bank and Arizona State Credit Union
    • Scoular Study
    • Fraternity and Sorority
    • Bowling and Billiards
    • Food court including Burger King, AFC Sushi, Pei Wei, and Chick-Fil-A.

    Fun Facts:

    • There is free music every Tuesday at the outdoor plaza.
    • The first director of this student union was a woman named Cecilia Scoular, after whom the Scoular study was named.

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    Degree Finder
    BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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