In 1937 Oklahoma State University president Henry Bennett mapped out a 25-year campus plan. The plan, which included the addition of a Student Union and ten other buildings, was adopted in 1937. When early planning took place it was the wishes of the students and administration for the Union to become the hub of campus life as well as a venue for public use when not in conflict with student schedules. After years of careful planning, the official Union groundbreaking took place in 1948.
On September 9, 1950, the 543,441 square-foot, block-long structure opened its five stories and 176 rooms to the public. Since then for more than 58 years, students, staff and alumni have filled the hallways bringing Bennett’s dreams to life. The Union has cultivated leadership in generations of Oklahoma State students from committee work to student employment. It has hosted countless visitors by providing facilities, services and conveniences for the diverse needs and activities of the campus community. The Union has created a sense of community that fosters loyal and true ties to OSU.
Though the Oklahoma State University Student Union is unmatched in size, recent studies confirmed the university’s assumption – today's building does not meet the needs of its students on many levels. Below are a few of the findings from the extensive studies and focus groups conducted during the last four years:
Current Student Union Physical Environment
|•||Doesn’t meet contemporary student needs|
|•||Bookstore is small and inconvenient|
|•||Food options are not viewed positively|
|•||Building accessibility issues|
|•||Mechanical systems are inefficient|
|•||Use of space is inefficient|
|•||Doesn’t offer students adequate gathering space|
For many visitors, including prospective students, the Union is the first impression they have of Oklahoma State University. The university envisions the Union as central to the core academic mission of learning, socializing and community building. For alumni, the Union serves as an important focal point for their collegiate experiences and everlasting memories. Let's continue building on tradition and make the Union a building that will forever be in the hearts of generations of Cowboys.