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University Archives

Student Union

After the only student union (Squire Hall on South Campus) was closed in 1982, there was a time when there was no centralized place for students on either the North or the South campuses. Then in 1984 the Student Activity Center (SAC) was built on the North Campus. But the SAC did not function as a true student union and many student organizations and clubs were still scattered across the University.

In 1985 the University began work on phase I of a new student union. Completed in 1992, the Student Union today includes a large atrium and lobby area, a food court and a sit-down restaurant plus many recreational spaces and a theater. It also includes many student organizations and clubs.

The Undergraduate Student Association recognizes and funds over 180 clubs and organizations at UB, representing seven distinct areas, including Academics, Hobby, International, People of Color, Service, Special Interest, and Sports Clubs. The Student Union is home to approximately 75 of these clubs, which are located throughout the Student Union (from the Office of Student Unions website).

At the time of the Student Union's dedication, James Gruber, director of the former Norton Union on South Campus, reflected on what makes a student union:

"A student union should reflect its particular campus. The number one concern fo us is that this union (should) have its own special atmosphere and charactistics. It won't be just another building. Rather, (it will be) an exciting place with its own unique ambiance."


For more information on UB student activities -- see the University Archives' online exhibit, Student Life at UB, which includes a section on the history of the University's student unions.

History and Chronology

  • 1982 -- (February 26) Squire Hall (the student union on South Campus) officially closes. Over 400 students hold a sit-in. Thirty-nine refuse to leave at closing time and are arrested for criminal trespassing. President Ketter suspends 32 of the 39 students as his last act in office as President of UB.
  • 1984 -- (August) Student Activities Center opens, but student activities still do not have a central location on campus.
  • 1985 -- Phase I begins
  • 1992 -- Phase II begins
  • 1992 -- (November 12) Dedication of the new Student Union

Building and Construction Information

Architects: PHASE I: Habiterra Association from Jamestown / PHASE II: Stieglitz, Stieglitz and Tries

Construction cost: PHASE I: $3,625,000 / PHASE II: $12,416,000

Size: PHASE I: 47,310 gross sq. ft. / PHASE II: 110,241 gross sq. ft.