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Building Information

A page within Student Union

History & Architecture of UWL's Student Union

The original idea of a union was to form a university-wide society which cut across college lines, aiming to achieve a semblance of unity through understanding differences. The name "union" was used as the organization “united” the existing debating societies (Butts, 1967). The first of all unions was organized at Cambridge University in 1815. In 1866 the students built a permanent building, (Butts, 1967). Houston Hall, at the University of Pennsylvania, was the first official union building in the United States. It was built in 1896.

The architect used the natural features of La Crosse area to guide the design of the Student Union:

  • There were attempts to bring the outside into the building
  • The columns in the first floor level resemble trees with leaves
  • The terrazzo floor on level one represents three rivers meeting at the Information Counter
  • There is a lookout, like in the marsh, when you walk down the stairs from level one to the lower level
  • Recycled barn board used in some spaces
  • Bamboo used for some wood floors
  • Stone used throughout the building

The student union is the community center - the living room - of a university, providing services, conveniences, and amenities the members of the university need in their daily life on campus. It is part of the educational program of the college where students, faculty, and staff can come together for informal interactions, as a place to relax, eat, and recreate. It is important that the student union provides a safe place for all who enter - a place that fosters increased understanding of all people.

UW-La Crosse has had five Union Directors since 1959. Dr. Robert Steuck, Mr. Donald Strand, Mr.  Calvin Helming, Dr. Robert Mullally, and Dr. Larry Ringgenberg. In 2021 UW-La Crosse welcomed it's sixth University Centers Director, Mr. Kyle E. Burke. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Campus Food Pantry is located in The COVE on the second floor of the Student Union (Room 2220), and is open to all students and staff at UWL. The pantry is accessible whenever the Student Union is open. Students will be granted access to the pantry via their Student ID card once they have complete the following Registration Form. Once the form has been completed, please allow 1-3 business days for your card to be activated.

If you have any questions about the Campus Food Pantry, please reach out to the Leadership and Involvement Center.

Lost and found items are housed at the Information Center on the first floor. Items in the lost and found will be discarded at the end of each semester.

The PLAY arcade on the lower level of the U offers an opportunity for you to unwind and de-stress with your friends! Challenge them to a game of pool, air hockey, foosball, basketball or darts and ignite your competitive side! 

Equipment can be checked out from the Info Center (on the first floor) with your Eagle ID. 


  • Catch a free movie in the Student Union Theater. 
  • Find Waldo in the UWL mural on the lower level near The Cellar.  
  • Get geared up! Find the newest UWL apparel in the University Bookstore. 
  • Find Stryker and stryke a pose! Stryker loves a good photoshoot!  
  • Attend Involvement Fest to learn about the 200+ Student Orgs here on campus. 
  • Attend an event hosted by the Campus Activities Board (CAB) in the lower level of the E-Café. Keep your eyes peeled for their BIG YELLOW TAXI CAB!  
  • Get a breath of fresh air while studying on one of the 3 patios! 
  • Check out the lawn game equipment and have some fun on the union lawn!  
    Corn hole, badminton, bocce ball, and giant Jenga are available to rent at the Information Center with your Eagle ID! 
  • Stryke a pose in front of the wing wall and tag us on Instagram! @uwlacrossestudentunion 
  • Pop into the 3200 suite on Wednesdays from 11- 2 for free popcorn! 
  • Attend or host an event at the outdoor fire pit. 
  • Challenge your friends to a game of pool, air hockey, foosball, or darts in the PLAY arcade! Equipment can be checked out from the Info Center with your Eagle ID. 
  • Swing into the COVE and learn about how you can get involved! 
  • Try your hand at the piano on the second floor of the Union.  
  • Register for access to the food pantry, located in The COVE.  
  • Visit the Senate Chambers in 2310 on Wednesday Nights and ask a question during the student open forum. 
  • Order the Sandwich of the Day at Kitchen Classics. 
  • Purchase a Ozzi Coin from the Info Center and exchange it for a reusable to-go container at any of the food venues on campus. 
  • Learn something new from the chalkboard wall in the COVE. 
  • Follow the Student Union on Instagram! @uwlacrossestudentunion  

Textbook Rental Services

Textbook Rental is located in the lower level of the Student Union. Students will need to bring their student ID in order to check out any textbooks. If you do not have a student ID, you must report to the Card Office (Room 1131 Student Union) to obtain one before you will be permitted to to check out any textbooks. Students may have to purchase some additional items, such as lab manuals or workbooks. These items will be available for purchase in the University Bookstore. If you are required to purchase any additional materials, it will be noted on your booklist. 

Please note, undergraduate students pay a textbook rental fee each semester as part of their tuition.
Graduate students, however, do not. This means that graduate students must purchase their textbooks at the University Bookstore. 

University Bookstore

The University Bookstore is located on the first floor of the Student Union. 
The Bookstore is your source for UWL apparel, gifts, decor, and much more! In the mood to do some online shopping? Check them out online! We love to see students rocking UWL apparel around campus, so stop in and get yours today! 

One of the key factors to effective studying is finding the right location! The Student Union is a great place to sneak in some quality study time, as there are countless spaces for you to hunker down and accomplish some serious work! 

Here are just a few locations around the U that you may want to check out!

  • The COVE Study Zone

  • The Entertainment Café (Upper & Lower)

  • The Patios (3)

  • The Union Lawn

  • The Solar Charging Stations (2) 

  • The Commuter Lounge

  • The Fireplace Lounge

  • The PLAY Arcade

  • Various "Pocket" Lounges 

  • Rotating Conference Rooms

BOOST Mobile Ordering: mobile ordering can be used at Murphy's Mug and Erbert and Gerbert’s. Payment is accepted through the BOOST app when using Maroon Dollars, Campus Cash, Block meals, or a credit card.  Download the BOOST app today: 

Changing the world from disposable to reusable, one meal at a time!
The Ozzi System gives individuals the opportunity to utilize reusable containers for to-go meals purchased in the Student Union and Whitney Dining Center. How it works - Purchase a token at the Information Center ($4.00 for students, $5.00 for faculty/staff). This token can be used at any dining location on campus when requesting a to-go meal. When you are finished using a container, scan its bar code and deposit the container into the Ozzi vending machine (flatware not deposited). You will then receive a new token from the machine to be used the next time you want a to-go meal! 

Where can I find an OZZI Machine? 
Student Union: Located across from the dish belt, near Erbert and Gerbert's 
Whitney Dining Center: Located in the Concourse 

GPS Address

UWL Student Union
521 East Ave North
La Crosse, WI 54601

Phone: 608.785.8877

Administrative Offices

Visit 3200 in the Student Union to find the following:

  • University Centers leadership
  • UWL Dining & Catering Services
  • Audio, Visual, Lighting Support
  • University Reservations
  • Cash boxes & event ticket requests
  • Event Funding Assistance Committee (EFAC)
  • Advisers for Campus Activities Board, Fraternity & Sorority Life, and Leadership & Involvement