COVID-19 Update

Our operational status

The Union will be open additional hours during finals week.  Check out the link for the current hours.
Good luck on finals!

There is still time to plan a meeting for 10 or less people or an outdoor event. Please check out the the specifics procedures and protocols regarding these items here.

For more information: UWL's COVID-19 info hub

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

Student Union

What are the building hours? expanding section

The Student Union hours of operations

Spring 2021 Hours

Monday - Friday: 7 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Last modified: 02/02/2021

Where can I get a face covering in the Student Union? expanding section

Face coverings are required in campus buildings and outside if physical distancing is not possible. One-time use face coverings are available at each of the three entrances to the Union. Reusable cloth face coverings are available at the Information Center in the Union. Bring your ID Card so we can verify that you received a face covering.

 Our authority to require face coverings and physical distancing for students on our campus includes but is not limited to, Wis. Stat. s. 36.11(1)a., Wis. Admin. Code ss. UWS 17.09(1), UWS 17.09(8), UWS 17.09 (14), UWS 17.09 (15), UWS 18.08(9)(b), UWS 18.11(7)(e) and Regent Policy 23-2. 

Our authority to require face coverings and physical distancing for members of the public on our campus includes but is not limited to, Wis. Stat. s. 36.11(1)a., Wis. Admin. Code ss. UWS 18.08(9)(b), UWS 18.11(7)(e) and Regent Policy 23-2. 

Last modified: 08/27/2020

Where can I eat and study in the Union? expanding section

All dining services are to go meals.  

Places to eat in Union:
There is seating available on first floor on both sides of the fireplace lounge and in the coffee shop area.  Seating is limited to 1 person per table for 15-20 minutes.

The upper E'cafe area is designated for roommate dining.  Two roommates may dine together in this area for 15-20 minutes.

Rooms available for studying on 3rd floor:
          9:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m*: Rooms 3105, 3110
          12:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m*.: Room 3314
*Disinfection breaks schedule will be added
Face coverings must be worn at all times

Last modified: 02/18/2021

My class schedule says I have a class in the Union, is this true? expanding section

Classroom spaces in the Student Union:

Grandad Bluff Room 2130, Miller Bluff Room 2110 and the Theater 0120 will be used for classes until 4:30pm Monday-Friday.

Last modified: 01/15/2021

How do I pick up my textbooks? expanding section

During the RUSH period people must sign up for a reservation time to ensure limited number of people in the space at a time. Everyone MUST be signed up for a time. Student ID required. Link to schedule an appointment:

Check out the Textbook rental website for additional information.

Last modified: 01/15/2021

I am a president of a student organization. Can I still hold meetings in the Union and reserve rooms for fall semester? expanding section

Student organizations are asked to meet virtually for the beginning of the semester. 

Last modified: 01/15/2021

Can I make a room reservation for spring semester? expanding section

Reservations for spring semester remain suspended at this time. We will continue to do an assessment at the beginning of each month. 

Last modified: 01/15/2021

I want to have a table to educate students on an issue. Can I reserve a table on the first floor of the Union? expanding section

Indoor tabling is suspended at this time and will align with room reservations opening up.

Outdoor tabling outside the Southwest entrance of the Student Union and Whitney Center will begin March 15, weather permitting.

Last modified: 01/15/2021

What events and activities will be occurring on campus during fall semester? expanding section

DJ trivia, bingo, movies, and crafts are some of the fun activities that are happening this semester. Check out the Student Union, CAB, and the COVE social media for the latest on events.

Last modified: 10/27/2020

Can I still volunteer and participate in leadership or involvement opportunities? expanding section

Ugetconnected will still have options for volunteerism and needs in the community.  The Leadership and Involvement Center will also continue to provide leadership development programs via social media videos, as well as online workshops.

Last modified: 08/27/2020

Can I still hang out or study in the COVE? expanding section

There are still spaces in the COVE and throughout the Student Union for students to study. Tables have been physically distanced, and chairs are limited to promote distancing.  Offices and couches in the COVE have also been arranged to limit the number of people in those spaces.  Please respect the room occupant numbers that are posted and follow guidelines listed for these spaces. 

Last modified: 08/27/2020

Can I hang out and talk to my friends in the Union? expanding section

Furniture has been moved to allow for appropriate physical distancing. There are still areas for interacting but face covering must be worn while talking to one another.

Last modified: 09/29/2020

I like to study in the Union, will I still be able to study there? expanding section

Additional study tables have been added to the second and third floor, similar to what we do during finals week. Additional rooms will be used to study. All tables will have appropriate physical distancing.

Last modified: 08/27/2020

How do I use the Campus Food Pantry? expanding section

The Campus Food Pantry is open back up as normal.  Students will be granted access on their Student ID card after completing the registration form.  The Campus Food Pantry will be open whenever the Student Union is open.  If you prefer to still pick up a pre-packaged box, please email to schedule a day and time to pick this up.

Some examples of food in the food pantry are tuna, peanut butter, jelly, pasta sauce, pasta noodles, soup, vegetables, and fruit. 

Last modified: 01/15/2021

Will the Student Union still have a lost and found? expanding section

We will continue to accept lost and found items at the Information Center. Items will be sanitized by wiping down or spraying with disinfectant before placing in cabinets.  IC staff will determine items that will be kept and logged. Plastic water bottles and face coverings will be discarded.

Last modified: 08/27/2020

What is available to play in the Union lower level game area? expanding section

PLAY equipment including pool cues and basketball with be available for students to check out with their ID.  The machines have been arranged to allow for distancing. Info Center staff will sanitize equipment when they are returned. 

Board games in the lower level E Café have been removed until further notice.

Last modified: 08/31/2020

Is there a microwave available in the Union to use? expanding section

Common use microwaves have been removed. A gluten-free microwave and general use microwave will be available at the Information Center for student use. This allows us to disinfect after each use.

Last modified: 08/27/2020

Can I fill my water bottle at the Union? expanding section

Drinking fountains have been covered but bottle fillers are still available.

Last modified: 08/27/2020

Are the elevators available in the Union? expanding section

Elevators are limited to 2 people at a time unless people are members of the same household.

Last modified: 08/27/2020

What about hand sanitizer? expanding section

Hand sanitizer stations have been added to each entrance and throughout the building. We expect that everyone sanitizes their hands as they enter the building. 

Last modified: 08/27/2020

Student Union Dining

How has dining changed because of COVID-19? expanding section

All food will be served in to-go take out containers, there will be no self-service locations, no self-serve beverages, salad bar, or soda/ice machines.

Last modified: 08/27/2020

I don't want to stand in line to get my coffee or food, what options do I have? expanding section

BOOST Mobile Ordering: mobile ordering can be used at Einstein’s and Erbert and Gerbert’s. Payment is accepted through the BOOST app when using Maroon Dollars, Campus Cash, or a credit card. When using Block Meals, payment will be taken when the order is picked up at the cash register. Download the BOOST app today: 

Last modified: 10/28/2020

What protocols are in place to promote the health and safety of patrons in the dining area? expanding section
  • Face Coverings – A face covering MUST be worn while standing in line waiting to order or pick-up an order.  If eating in the dining area, the face covering may be removed while eating. 
  • Social Distancing – All patrons are expected to practice social distancing (6 feet).  Signage, guidance systems and floor decals are in place help maintain the expected distance.
  • Seating in Dining Areas –Seating is limited for eating.  Eating is allowed on the both side of the fireplace lounge and coffee shop area for one person seating to eat for 15-20 minutes.  
  • Contactless Entry– Patrons will swipe their student ID card using an external mag strip reader adhered to the counter, near the register.  
  • Hand sanitizer stations – Stations are located throughout the Student Union building.
  • Service in the Dining Areas – There will be NO self-service stations. Food will be served by dining staff.     
  • Dishware – Food will be served using compostable plates, bowls, cups, or single-serve packaging.  Plastic cutlery will be used.  Beverages will be available in cans, bottles, and cartons.  

Last modified: 02/04/2021

What is new in the Student Union for dining? expanding section
  • Dining Plan – Students on a traditional Dining plan will be able to use 2 meal swipes per day in the Student Union between the Cellar and Sono. These 2 meal swipes can be used daily Monday-Friday.
  • On- The-Go Area (adjacent to Einstein’s) - Will be offering a variety of new grocery items, frozen meals, and bottled beverages.   Purchases can be made using Maroon Dollars, Campus Cash, and Credit/Debit Cards.
  • Ozzi System – Located across from the dish belt, the Ozzi System gives patrons the opportunity to purchase and use a reusable container and flatware for meals purchased in the Student Union dining areas.  Purchase a token at the Information Center ($4.00 for students, $5.00 for faculty/staff).  The token can be used at any dining location in the Student Union when requesting a meal-to-go.  When finished using the container it can be deposited into the Ozzi vending machine (flatware is not deposited).  Scan the bar code on the container then deposit it in the Ozzi and receive a new token.
  • Cellar – Pagers are no longer being used.  Staff will be assigning numbers and calling them out when the food is ready.

Last modified: 10/28/2020

How many people can be seated in the Student Union areas at a time? expanding section
  • Lower Level: No seating available
  • First Floor: Seating is now available on both sides of the fireplace lounge and the coffee shop area to eat. Seating is limited to 1 person per table for 15-20 minutes.
  • Second Floor Bluffs Room 2120: 56
  • Third Floor Room 3105, 3110, and 3314: 41

Last modified: 02/04/2021

What new dining locations are available on campus? expanding section

Cartwright Center Cellar Location

  • Lower level Cellar location at Cartwright Center will open Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 1:00 pm.
  • Grab and Go Jack & Olive sandwiches, salads, healthy snacks, chips, pastries/desserts, and beverages.

Last modified: 08/27/2020

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