In addition to being the hub of student affairs on campus, student unions offer a variety of programs, activities, services, and facilities that attract both new and current students alike. Universities and colleges are currently in the midst of a building boom nationwide, as they are investing tens and hundreds of millions of dollars to revitalize their student unions. The following are some highlights from the Best College Reviews’ list of most amazing student unions. Check out the other schools that made their round-up here >>
UNION SOUTH, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
Situated adjacent to the Memorial Union, the Union South is the newest addition to the University of Wisconsin campus. The opulent student union first opened on April 15, 2011 after a $94.8 million dollar construction project. Considered the new heart and soul of the campus, the building was influenced by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright with its organic, prairie-style architectural design. It is home to a 330-seat cinema called the Marquee, which presents hundreds of film screenings each year. Union South also features a climbing wall, eight-lane bowling alley, several pool tables, scores of high-definition televisions, and a wine and coffee bar.
STUDENT UNION, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA
Rather recently opened in 2009, the Student Union became the first campus building dedicated to student activities in the history of the University of North Florida. The 150,048 square feet structure cost approximately $50.4 million dollars to construct, but it was apparently well worth every penny. On April 18, 2012, the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects ranked the Student Union fourth on its list for Florida Architecture: 100 Years, 100 Places. The UNF Student Union is comprised of two buildings that are connected by a walkway known on the campus as Osprey Plaza. It contains a convenience store, several restaurants, a game room, the UNF bookstore, an LGBT Resource Center, and an auditorium. It is also the location for the university’s student newspaper The Spinnaker, as well as Osprey Television and Osprey Radio.
GEORGE SHERMAN UNION, BOSTON UNIVERSITY
As the community student center for Boston University, the George Sherman Union provides social, recreational, and cultural activities to enrich student life. The Brutalist-style building houses administrative offices, two banks, nine restaurants, and several auditoriums. After recent renovations in the summer of 2010, GSU was one of the many buildings that were transformed to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. Moreover, the Green Restaurant Association recently designated the George Sherman Union Court as a Certified Green Restaurant, which means it is the most environmentally friendly dining spot in the state and the only such food court in the nation.
HOUSTON HARTE UNIVERSITY CENTER, ANGELO STATE UNIVERSITY
Encompassing more than 110,000 square feet of the Angelo State University campus, the Houston Harte University Center is a student union with all of the cutting-edge multimedia, technology, sound, and lighting features. The university prides itself on the display of flags throughout the building, which represent every country that enrolled international students have traveled from. The centers houses a large recreation center for students with several billiards tables, ping pong tables, air hockey tables, large flat-screen plasma televisions, and gaming consoles. The University Center Snack Bar also features all of the college life staples, such as breakfast burritos, pizza, sandwiches, salads, and Starbucks.
WILLARD STRAIGHT HALL, CORNELL UNIVERSITY
As one of the first structures in the United States dedicated solely to student life, Willard Straight Hall on the Cornell University campus was built in 1925. The stunning Gothic structure was modeled after the famous Hart House on the campus of the University of Toronto. It was named in honor of Willard Straight after his widow, Dorothy Straight, funded the building as his memoriam. Today, Willard Straight Hall provides support for most of the university’s student activities. At 103,000 square feet spread over six floors, the student union is home to art galleries, international lounges, television rooms, student lounges, meeting room lofts, dining facilities, and the popular Cornell Cinema. The Resource Center also offers student services with the browsing library, lobby information desk, mail room, and athletic ticket sales box office.
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