Upcoming building hours

The Student Union is closed as a result of the university's response to COVID-19 until further notice.

Student Union
521 East Ave North
La Crosse, WI 54601


The Student Union provides space for all students to relax as they recharge between classes. They will find a place to relax by one of the four fireplaces, dining with friends, or listening to music in the Entertainment Cafe. The Union is designed to provide a supportive and safe place where all students will feel at home.

Assisted Listening    

  • Spaces: The Bluffs, Theater, and E-Cafe
  • T-coil enabled assistive listening system
  • Headphones available upon request
Hours expanding section

Spring 2020:
In response to COVID-19, all campus buildings will be locked 24 hours a day for the foreseeable future. UWL Students, faculty, and staff will be able to access the Student Union with their university ID card from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  

Academic Year building hours:
Monday - Friday 7 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.

Dining locations & hours expanding section

In response to COVID-19, Student Union dining locations will be closed for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.

Dining locations in the Student Union:

  • Einstein Bros Bagels
  • Earth Table Salad Bar
  • On The Go
  • Sono's
  • Grilled It!
  • Erbert and Gerbert's
  • Kitchen Classics
  • La Crosse Cafe
  • Hissho Sushi
  • The Cellar

History & Architecture

History of the Student Union expanding section

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 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.

Architecture of the UWL Student Union expanding section

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

  • 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
Student union
Chilling with the chancellor
Involvement fest on the union lawn
Wedding reception in the bluffs room
Students eating at the U