Photo by Yan Krukau

College is a time of exploration and growth, and student centers are essential to that experience. From providing resources to helping students find their place on campus, college student centers are the hub for many activities. The student center usually has the best dining spaces, social events, study areas, and meeting facilities on campus. On top of that, many universities also place their administrative office, career center, writing lab, and other critical resources in their student centers. 

This article will discuss 50 of the best college student centers in the United States and what makes them notable. Some schools are featured because they are enormous and have abundant resources. Others have invested much time and money in things like top-notch dining experiences or esports arenas. Still, others are listed because of their beauty or the many social programs that help create safe and vibrant places for diverse student populations to grow and flourish. Because it’s virtually impossible to rank these schools, they are listed in alphabetical order. If you find yourself near these campuses, you will undoubtedly want to visit their student centers!

Angelo State University (San Angelo, TX)

Houston Harte University Center - Student Centers
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At the Houston Harte University Center, students have convenient access to the multicultural center, pool tables, big TVs, mail services, the bookstore, the career center, and the student life office. Between classes, hungry students flock to the Crossroads Café food court to enjoy a wide range of delicious dishes, and the on-campus Starbucks is a great place to stop by for a quick caffeine fix to get through the day. 

Boston University (Boston, MA)

Student Centers - Boston University
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The George Sherman Union’s Metcalf Hall is one of the premier event centers in all of Boston. With mobile and on-site ordering at the George Sherman Union Food Hall, students at Boston University can always fit breakfast, lunch, and dinner into their fast-paced days.

Brandeis University (Waltham, MA)

one of Brandeis University's Student Centers
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Located in the center of Brandeis University’s stunning campus, the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Campus Center has everything that a student could need. This student center boasts comfortable study spaces, a technology library, offices for student organizations, the university’s bookstore, and a wonderful café. People from all corners of New England regularly gather at the student center’s 248-seat theater to enjoy some of the best undergraduate productions in the region. 

Brigham Young University (Provo, UT)

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The Wilkinson Student Center serves as Brigham Young University’s hub for academic support, multicultural student services, student employment services, career services, and other vital campus resources. This student center stands out from student centers at other universities with the Studio 1030 salon, which offers convenient haircuts, hair coloring, facials, makeup application, waxing, brows and lashes, and nail services for busy students. 

California State University (Long Beach, CA)

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Featuring a broad range of vendors, administrative offices, auditoriums, meeting rooms, and everything in between, California State University’s three-floor University Student Union is one of the most expansive student centers on the list. The billiards tables, bowling lanes, swimming pool, and various lounges make the University Student Union the perfect place for students to relax whenever they have a minute to spare.

California State Polytechnic University (Pomona, CA)

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The Bronco Student Center has a great food court, plenty of lounge spaces, and a few big halls for larger meetings and events. Unlike most student centers, the Bronco Student Center is open seven days a week, so students can always find something exciting to do at California State Polytechnic University.

California University of Pennsylvania (California, PA)

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Like the other buildings at California University of Pennsylvania, the Elmo Natali Student Center is among the most beautiful architectural marvels in the state. The three-floor building hosts a large performance center, various student services, the Gold Rush Culinary Center, and the Vulcan Theater. Fans of gaming and streaming spend a lot of time on the cutting-edge PCs and consoles at the Esports Zone.

Central Connecticut State University (New Britain, CT)

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The CCSU Student Center has some of the best culinary and recreation offerings of any university in the United States. Renovated in 2020, the Devil’s Den has four state-of-the-art dining destinations. Students enjoy video games, billiards, and all kinds of fun activities at the Breakers Game Room and the Esports Center.

Columbia University (New York, NY)

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Open seven days a week, Alfred J. Lerner Hall is the place to find anything a student could need at Columbia University’s New York City campus. The 212 Café and Lounge’s flexible seating and massive range of dining options can satisfy any student’s hunger. Students who want to unwind without worrying about making noise can relax at Lerner Central’s study-free zone.

Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

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Opened in 1925, Willard Straight Hall stands out on campus with its iconic gothic architectural style. This five-floor student center contains student life offices, various eateries, a library, lounges, an art gallery, and several meeting rooms. The Cornell Cinema is a top-rated destination for people who want to enjoy their fellow students’ films and media productions.

Davidson College (Davidson, NC)

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Built in 1928, the five-floor Knobloch Campus Center boasts several meeting rooms, eateries, a fitness center, a game room, and other valuable amenities. The 600-seat Duke Family Performance Hall is an iconic part of the Charlotte Metro area. It has become one of the most important cultural destinations in North Carolina.

Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti, MI)

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Eastern Michigan University’s Student Center offers free parking and holds a series of fun and exciting events throughout the year. With state-of-the-art study spaces, plenty of dining options, student services offices, comfortable lounges, and meeting halls for student organizations, the Student Center has something for every student’s needs.

Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL)

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Since 1972, the Student Union has been the primary place to enjoy student programs, arts, and dining at Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton campus. The Student Union’s Esports Arena and Gaming Center and the university’s performing arts center give students plenty of options for relaxation and entertainment.

Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)

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Students enjoy access to comprehensive services and amenities at Florida State University’s Student Union. If your friends aren’t chowing down at Brooklyn Pizza or sipping a latte at Starbucks, you can probably find them hanging out at the Student Union’s Bowling and Billiards area.

Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL)

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Opened in 2003, the McCormick Tribune Campus Center has been the campus hotspot for two decades. This student center contains an expansive rec center, retail shops, offices, and lounges. The center’s proximity to the Chicago Transit Authority’s Green Line commuter rail track makes getting around Chicago extremely easy and convenient.

Iowa State University (Ames, IA)

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The Memorial Union hosts dozens of weekly events and has plenty of meeting rooms, dining options, and other amenities to meet students’ needs. CyBowl & Billiards, the Memorial Union’s primary recreation center, features bowling lanes, billiards tables, table tennis, air hockey, and other fun things to do for students who want a little excitement.

Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS)

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At the K-State Student Union, students can grab a bite to eat, bowl with their friends, or sit down at a comfortable booth to study for an upcoming exam. Open throughout the year, the William T. Kemper Art Gallery regularly hosts exciting art exhibits and cultural events.

Marist College (Poughkeepsie, NY)

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The Murray Student Center covers over 129,000 square feet. This massive building boasts a wellness center, dining, a student lounge, meeting rooms, and practice rooms. Students often enjoy poetry readings and symphonies at the Murray Student Center’s 3,700-square-foot Fusco Recital Hall, which has room for up to 350 performers and 175 visitors.

Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI)

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Marquette University’s Alumni Memorial Union has diverse dining options, meeting rooms, lounges, and study areas to satisfy their students’ many needs. The Union Sports Annex Bowling Center and Restaurant is an excellent location for students to unwind, play some pool, enjoy arcade games, and get a bite to eat.

Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)

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Students enjoy access to a helpful resource room, flexible dining options, fun and informative campus events, and more at the New Ohio Union. The New Ohio Union’s Center for Belonging and Social Change holds several exciting workshops and cultural events that promote diversity, inclusion, collaboration, and awareness.

Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, OK)

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The Student Union has all of the spaces and dining facilities necessary to nurture students’ growth and facilitate their success. Students interested in streaming, virtual reality, and competitive gaming love to spend their time hanging out at the Student Union’s Esports Arena.

Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)

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Sitting at the center of Oregon State University’s Corvallis Campus, the Memorial Union hosts a wide variety of dining options, various recreation facilities, a convenient bank, printing services, and more! Students clearly can get whatever they need without going too far out of their way. The Memorial Union Gallery showcases a diverse range of thought-provoking art exhibits. 

University of Delaware (Newark, DE)

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The University of Delaware’s Student Centers provides plenty of opportunities to engage with fellow students and enjoy interesting events. Students who enjoy gaming often visit the Blue Hen Esports Arena to play games with friends and participate in tournaments. The two student centers are Perkins Student Center and Trabant University Center.

Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN)

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Designed by Irving and Allen Pond, the Purdue Memorial Union is one of the most iconic structures in West Lafayette. Many students spend their weekends bowling and playing billiards at the Union Rack and Roll.

Randolph College (Lynchburg, VA)

Randolph College’s Student Center is an excellent place for students to enjoy delicious meals, collaborate on projects, and hold impactful cultural events. The Student Center’s wraparound deck gives students a great view of the university’s stunning brick architecture.

San Francisco State University (San Francisco, CA)

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Students spend much time unwinding with friends and classmates at the Cesar Chaves Student Center’s many lounges, rec facilities, and eateries. The student-run and student-funded Art Gallery allows the student body to showcase students’ art and conduct many fun and exciting cultural events. 

Temple University (Philadelphia, PA)

Distinguished by its red, white, and black design, the Howard Gittis Student Center is one of Philadelphia’s greatest architectural marvels. There is no shortage of things to do at the Howard Gittis Student Center, and many students love to catch inexpensive movies at The Reel Cinema.

Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)

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The Memorial Student Center features a salon, billiards tables, a state-of-the-art computer lounge, delicious eateries, and other valuable amenities for Texas A&M’s hardworking students. Accommodating up to 1,700 guests, the Bethancourt Grand Ballroom is a popular venue for all kinds of events. 

Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX)

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Students at Texas Tech University love to participate in campus life. Many of these unique events, happen at the Student Union. Every Thursday and Friday, the university hosts free movies and offers free popcorn and drinks at one of the Student Union’s theaters. 

University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR)

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Located at the heart of the Fayetteville campus, the Arkansas Union connects students with top-of-the-line services. With more than 20 meeting spaces of various sizes, the Arkansas Union is a popular venue for meetings, guest speakers, and events.

University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

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UCLA’s Ackerman Union boasts an incredible array of meeting rooms, event centers, and offices. Ackerman Union’s Bruin Plaza and the Wescom Student Terrace are some of the best places in Los Angeles for students to dine and relax outdoors. 

University of California, San Diego (San Diego, CA)

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The Price Center is one of the world’s biggest student centers. It contains several restaurants, the campus bookstore, a computer lab, meeting rooms, event centers, and other essential amenities. Students interested in media production can record high-quality videos with the push of a single button at the Price Center’s One Button Studio.

University of Colorado, Denver (Denver, CO)

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Constructed in 1870 as part of the Colorado Brewery, the Tivoli Student Union maintains its original brick design and stands out as one of Denver’s oldest and most beautiful buildings. The Tivoli Student Union is especially notable for its massive food court.

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

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The Reitz Union boasts many dining locations, a bike repair shop, various meeting rooms, and a state-of-the-art graphics center. At the Reitz Union’s Game Room, students can access several game consoles, 14 bowling lanes, two foosball tables, ten pool tables, a snooker table, table tennis, and spaces for board games and other recreational activities.

University of Georgia (Athens, GA)

Tate Student Center has incredible amenities. Some include a large arcade, print services, delicious dining options, event venues, and meeting rooms. In the warmer months, students love to cool down and get some exercise at the Tate Student Center’s Legion Pool. 

University of Houston (Houston, TX)

The University of Houston has such an expansive campus that it requires two student centers to fulfill students’ needs. Student Center South houses an array of lovely dining options, a gaming center, the CreationStation multimedia center, and important campus offices. At Student Center North, visitors can find a range of helpful meeting rooms, media centers, and a student-run TV studio. 

University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)

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The Oklahoma Memorial Union primarily hosts events and meetings for students and the general public. This campus hub also has dining facilities, a radio station, a computer lab, a bank, and many other vital services and amenities. 

University of Maryland (College Park, MD)

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At the Adele H. Stamp Student Union, students can access a bookstore, many meeting rooms, a video studio, and various shops and eateries. The Adele H. Stamp Student Union regularly hosts concerts, lectures, artistic performances, movie showings, comedy shows, and special events to entertain students and community members.

University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

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Featuring dining establishments, study spots, meeting spaces, plenty of shops, and student service centers, the Michigan Union has something for every student’s needs. The Michigan Union’s IdeaHub is among the most innovative collaborative co-working spaces at any university in the United States.

University of Nebraska, Lincoln (Lincoln, NE)

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The Nebraska Union features seven high-quality eateries, a laptop checkout, various student centers, a bank, a computer lab, the campus bookstore, a career center, and other valuable amenities and spaces. At Nebraska East Union, students enjoy their time at the Husker Bowling Center, which hosts the student bowling league.

University of North Carolina, Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)

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University of North Carolina’s Popp Martin Student Union has a movie theater, diverse eateries, event centers, meeting rooms, and various shops. The Student Union Art Gallery allows students to showcase their art and enjoy several exciting events and exhibits. 

University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND)

Aerial View of a large Public University in Grand Forks, North Dakota
By Jacob

Built to be the central point of the Grand Forks campus, the Memorial Union is rich in resources. It has all the student services, meeting areas, recreation facilities, and dining facilities tha students could need. This student center stands out from other student centers with its Mothering Room, a welcoming place for lactating mothers to care for their needs in comfort and privacy. 

University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL)

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The John A. Delaney Student Union gives students convenient access to dining facilities, a gaming center, event spaces, meeting rooms, the campus bookstore, and other vital facilities. Every Wednesday, the Student Union hosts its Market Days event, which provides a space for vendors from the local community to peddle all kinds of appealing goods.

University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)

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University of Pennsylvania’s Student Union has set the standard for student centers worldwide since 1896. The Student Union features a large game room, a rehearsal room, a family room, meeting rooms, and many other valuable facilities.

University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)

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The University of Pittsburgh is so large that it needs two student centers to serve its students properly. At the William Pitt Union, students can find a gym, an expansive dining facility, a dance studio, study spaces, and a printing station. The O’Hara student center contains a thrift store, the Math Assistance Center, the Student Writing Center, and office space for student organizations.

University of Saint Thomas (St. Paul, MN)

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With a wide range of dining options, various shops, a bowling alley, an art museum, and student support centers, students at the University of Saint Thomas can look to the Anderson Student Center whenever they need something. Creative students spend much time at the Anderson Student Center’s create[space], a multimedia center that features laser printers, vinyl cutters, sewing machines, and other useful equipment.

University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)

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The A. Ray Oplin Student Union’s mission is to provide a space that gives students access to various social, academic, and cultural opportunities. Students can unwind and clear their thoughts at the Mediation Space after bowling. They can also play a few rounds of billiards with their friends.

University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI)

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Students can access several delicious restaurants, charming shops, art galleries, meeting areas, and study spaces at the Memorial Union. On the first floor students and visitors can marvel at a broad range of beautiful multicultural murals. The University of Wisconsin also has a second student center called Union South. It has a climbing wall, dining options, an eco-conscious hotel, and many other amenities.

University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY)

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Constructed in 1939, the Wyoming Union stands out as one of the most stunning buildings in Laramie. The Wyoming Union provides a unique sense of community with its pub, game room, meeting rooms, student centers, and dining facilities.

West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV)

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The Mountainlair has eateries, a theater, ballrooms, student services offices, meeting rooms, and other vital facilities for the students at West Virginia University. If you are looking for ultimate fun, check out the game area. It has a 16-lane bowling arena, ten full-sized pool tables, table tennis, and a large lounge.

The Best Student Centers

College student centers are an integral part of any college campus experience. They provide a safe haven for students to learn, grow, and connect with their peers while enjoying all their university offers. The best 50 college student centers across the United States have been identified as some of the best places for students to take advantage of all their school offers. Whether you’re looking for delicious food or just want a place to hang out with friends, these college student centers have something for everyone!

Additional Resources

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