The level of students' involvement in campus life and student organizations -- academic, cultural, service and social -- has an incredibly high correlation to their success. UNT's new University Union, a $130 million project that opened in fall 2015, provides the growing student body with more than 300,000 square feet of space to socialize, get involved and expand their campus experience.
"The University Union is a living testament to the wonderful students and alumni we have at UNT," says Zane Reif, Union director. "As you walk through the four levels of this facility, you see notable accomplishments, representations of tradition, and the values that are so important to this institution. It honors our past while still maintaining the features of a very modern and technologically savvy facility."
The new Union serves as students' home away from home, featuring 125 percent more student organization space than the previous facility, a rooftop garden, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, a meditation room, nap furniture, larger art gallery space, a dance practice room and more. The One O'Clock Lounge, The Syndicate and the Campus Chat are bigger and better than ever. And UNT spirit is evident throughout, even in the green-and-white terrazzo floors, where the fight song and alma mater lyrics can be found.
The Union project was designed to meet the highest standards for LEED certification. As crews tore the old building down to its bones, more than 90 percent of materials were recycled and diverted from landfills. New materials were sourced locally when possible, and more than 100 trees were added to the landscape of drought-tolerant and native plants. Also featured: a rainwater collection system, water bottle refill stations, and natural light and solar power to cut down on energy costs and fossil fuel use.
The new Union has the strongest Wi-Fi on campus, which helps students study, collaborate and get work done more efficiently. When it's time to play, they can team up for video game tournaments in the Union's new gaming pods, or they can watch movies and sports on big plasma displays in The Syndicate. Visitors entering the building from any direction find touch-screen digital bulletin boards with maps and information about events and more.