The University of North Florida’s Student Union has been recognized by College Rank as one of “The Best 25 Student Union Centers” in the nation and is one of only two Florida institutions to make the list.
In this ranking, UNF is included among several powerhouse institutions, such as Brigham Young University, Cornell University, University of Michigan, The Ohio State University and University of Wisconsin, to name a few.
The criteria used by College Rank includes aesthetic design and architecture, student offerings in campus life, events and traditions as well as proximity to other campus features.
In 2012, the Student Union, which hosts approximately 6,500 events annually, was named by the Florida Chapter of The American Institute of Architects as the best educational building and voted the top building in the state by architects’ votes. It was also voted by the public as the No. 4 building overall in the state.
Designed by Rink Design Partnership Inc., the 150,000-square-foot Student Union was completed in 2009. The $40.1 million facility was programmed to be the focal points for student activities and programs, dining facilities and offices for Student Government as well as the Division of Student and International Affairs.
The Student Union is in two parts, separated by a student plaza, called Osprey Plaza, with a sunshade feature, which along with the curvature of the building, creates a most distinctive visual effect. Both buildings are three stories and are comprised of a steel structure with brick and metal cladding.
The east building is mostly administrative and houses all Student Government functions, Student and International Affairs offices, a bank, Outtakes snack store, the game room and Spinnaker Media. The west building contains a food court with three fast-food outlets on the main floor, the UNF Bookstore (two stories), the Boathouse restaurant and various meeting rooms on the second level, four ballrooms on the third level, along with numerous student lounges and meeting rooms of various capacities.
One of the most unique elements of the Student Union is a 108,000-square-foot grass amphitheater with a permanent stage. Located behind the west building, the Coxwell Amphitheater, which can seat 6,000 spectators, is constructed with a nine-degree elevation for optimum viewing by crowds attending concerts, performances, fairs and other events.
The Student Union follows the University’s other new buildings on campus as a certified “green” building, meaning it uses energy-saving measures, recycled materials and natural light to improve the work environment.
UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.