Most Amazing Campus Student Unions

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

oklahoma state university student union

Year Built: 1948


  • 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


  • 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

university of north carolina

Year Built: 2008


  • 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’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

iowa state university

Year Built: 1929


  • Hotel
  • Food court that includes Panda Express and Subway.
  • Browsing library and chapel.
  • Gold Star Hall memorial with names of Iowa State deceased veterans.


Fun Facts:

  • This student union has had over 10 different additions in the last 70 years.
  • The real stained glass in the Gold Star Hall was designed by an Iowa State student.
  • The outside fountain features four women that represent the four seasons.



5. Wakehurst Student Center, Salve Regina University

Wakehurt Student Center

Year Built: 1887


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


Year Built: 1999


  • 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


  • Browsing Library
  • Bowling Lanes
  • Union Club Hotel


Fun Facts:

  • This student union was created to honor the Purdue student 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.