Report: UPenn’s Houston Hall among the country’s best student unions

houston hall student union University of Pennsylvania
The Houston Hall student union at the University of Pennsylvania.
Credit: Best College Reviews

The University of Pennsylvania’s Houston Hall is among the country’s best university student unions, according to rankings released Monday by Best College Reviews.

Houston Hall rated 11th in the organization’s list of “The 25 Most Amazing University Student Unions in America.”

The report noted Houston Hall, founded in 1896, was actually the first student union building in America.

“Now the oldest student union in the United States, Houston Hall contains a massive cafeteria, dining rooms, study rooms, and countless meetings rooms spread out over 85,324 square feet,” the ranking reads.

“It is also home to an auditorium on the second floor that is utilized as a flexible multipurpose room, and dedicated to the class of 1949. Since a multi-million dollar renovation in 2000, the union has been outfitted with all of the latest technology and multimedia for top-notch modern conveniences. Houston Hall is a unique venue in the city of Philadelphia that proves it is possible to teach old buildings new tricks.”

The Best College Reviews list took into account factors such as the architectural notability of student center buildings and activities offered, as well as students’ satisfaction with the hubs of campus social life.

The Elmo Natali Student Center at the California University of Pennsylvania came in at number six, with the report citing its free screening room, college radio station studios, computer lab and multiple retail stores.

Oklahoma State University topped the list with the largest student union in the world that is home to a 550-seat movie theatre, a post office and an 81-room hotel.

“American universities have been on a building and renovation spree in the past decade, producing some truly awe inspiring student unions,” researcher and chief study author James Arney said in a release.

“College kids today have it as good as they ever have when it comes to facilities, and this list amply illustrates that fact.”


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