A Tour through the Student Union

Baer Green Roof
The Mr. Keith and Dr. Shirley Baer Green Roof (still growing!)

Main Level

When students enter the building, staff at the large CEFCU Welcome Area offer answers and directions. The Osborne Lounge weaves through the main floor of the Student Union with ample seating for study, discussion, and informal interaction between students and their friends, as well as faculty and staff. A versatile space, the Osborne Lounge has one of the best views of campus. During cold days, a fire will crackle in the large fireplace inviting visitors to relax and spend time together. Off the Lounge, there’s a game room for students to enjoy.

Campus dining has moved to the Student Union, with a variety of dining options on the main floor. There’s also a sports restaurant on the main floor. Patrons can enjoy their meals inside by the fireplace, outdoors on one of the patios, or sitting in one of the Student Union’s many intimate booths and nooks.

The Uteg Student Leadership Center, also on the main level, houses Student Government and Student Life offices, including the Karen Hasara Student Trustee Office for the student who has been elected to the U of I Board of Trustees and the Dr. Vicki Megginson Student Government Association Office. The Center also houses the Saul J. Morse and Anne B. Morgan Center for Volunteer and Civic Engagement and Student Life. Furniture in the Student Organization Funding Association office is courtesy of Mary Beaumont. Staff at the M.G. Nelson Family Concierge and Student Project Area are on hand to answer questions or direct students and guests; the Student Project Area with work spaces for student organizations and groups to use is close at hand.

Large kitchen and catering spaces are at the east end of the building, enabling the Student Union to accommodate large and small events, conferences, and formal gatherings for the campus and the community.

To the north, a large patio with fire pits and lots of seating offers additional space, appropriate for concerts, outdoor events and other student gatherings.

Intermediate Tier

Movement within the building flows easily through several levels, including an intermediate tier toward the western end of the building. This tier has a Starbucks with a comfortable seating, including the Staley Family Foundation Lounge and a second fireplace. The Robert and Dorothy Tracy Conference Room extends from this level near Starbucks, and the George and Nancy Bunn Family Conference Room extends from the upper level near the ballroom. Both have glass walls that can be more private with sliding panels.

Another stellar view can be seen from this level, and a terrace extends southward off the intermediary level with seating for relaxation, study, discussion, and other interaction.

Upper Level

At the top of the stairs is the Evelyn Brandt Thomas Lounge, graced with a piano donated by Polly Roesch.

On the upper level, a large ballroom/multipurpose room is available for events such as career fairs and research symposia, the Chancellor’s annual Convocation or faculty meetings, and donor/alumni events such as the annual Alumni Gala and Celebration of Philanthropy. This large space accommodates 300-350 people in a banquet setting. It can also be divided into two to five smaller spaces for conferences led by students, faculty, or community groups. A stage can be set up when desired.

The west end of the level has space for storage, catering, and mechanical concerns, as well as offices for the Student Union administrative staff, including the office of the Student Union Executive Director, named in honor of Jack Dolan. Office Furnishings in the office suite of Ann Comerford, Executive Director of the Student Union, are courtesy of Dr. Mary Frisk Loken, Thom M. Serafin and Dr. Janice Spears.

The Roof

Overhead, the vegetation that is part of the Mr. Keith and Dr. Shirley Baer Green Roof helps to keep the Student Union cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The Baer Roof means less storm water runoff, less risk of fire, lower maintenance costs, and a naturally beautiful recreated habitat for butterflies, insects and songbirds. The vegetation also extends the lifetime of the roof by two or three times.