March 15, 2017
K-State Student Union ranked No. 1 in Kansas and among 25 best in nation
Kansas State University has the best student union in Kansas and the second best in the Big 12 Conference, according to CollegeRank.net, which has ranked the top 25 student unions in the country.
The organization provides information about student life at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. For this ranking, it selected the 25 best student unions in the nation based on four criteria:
- Aesthetic design and architecture.
- Student offerings in campus life.
- Events and traditions.
- Proximity to other campus features.
The K-State Student Union's inclusion on the top 25 list of student unions in the nation during a time of transition as the Union is undergoing a $32 million renovation.
"This recognition confirms that, even during a major renovation, we are committed to making good things happen," said Bill Smriga, Union executive director.
The renovation is primarily funded by a student privilege fee increase of $20 per semester approved by the student body in 2013. Construction started in September 2015 and is expected to be complete in fall 2017.
The renovation is providing increased visibility, updated designs and larger spaces for several organizations and offerings, including the Office of Student Activities and Services, the Veterans Center, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Powercat Financial, the Union Bowling Center, Cat Tech, the Little Theatre, the copy center, catering kitchens, restaurants and several offices.
Three additional dining venues will open as the renovation continues: A branch of the locally owned Radina's Coffeehouse and Roastery is scheduled to open by April 1; Call Hall at the Union is expected to open in the summer; and a sports pub, Union Station by JP's, which will be operated by Housing and Dining Services, is set to open in the fall. A renovation celebration is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 13.
"We look forward to officially unveiling the renovated Union at our celebration so students, faculty, administrators, alumni and guests can discover the facilities, services and activities available at the Union," Smriga said.
The Union has remained open during the renovation, and it even increased its hours in 2016. Because the Union already employed night staff, Smriga said the increase in hours was made possible by keeping the doors unlocked and adding a few security measures.
"Keeping the Union open at night ensures that students' work is not disrupted, so they can hunker down and keep studying in one place, all night if necessary," Smriga said.
Smriga said the Union's design and architecture create a welcoming first impression that synergizes with Bosco Student Plaza and the new Berney Family Welcome Center to convey the message that Kansas State University is a vibrant academic place.
The Union showcases student life throughout the building, from Lunchtime Lounge musical performances in the Union courtyard and relaxation areas to student organization offices. The Union Program Council offers hundreds of activities and events yearlong to educate, enlighten and entertain students, Smriga said.
The Union is adjacent to the parking garage; the Berney Family Welcome Center; the under-construction building of the College of Architecture, Planning and Design; and other prominent campus facilities. Inside the Union, popular dining options and lounge areas are organized to enhance social connections and provide a comfortable, warm environment.
"The Union is the place where the K-State family meets to enjoy the various facilities, study in a quiet spot or just have fun," Smriga said.