Bringing the Living Room to Life

The living room of a house.

It’s where a family has conversations, relaxes and entertains. Then, at the end of each evening, each family member can go to their own room to pursue their individual interests.

Like a home, a university has a cafeteria to serve as a kitchen and different academic programs are the rooms serving individual interests. But, unlike a home, one part is noticeably absent at Arkansas Tech University. The living room is missing, and ATU is working to bring that vision to life.

“The addition of a student union and campus recreation facility will increase the number and type of opportunities ATU can provide to students for their academic, social and personal development,” said Jason Geiken, vice president for advancement.

While ATU’s academic offerings are critical and remain the university’s core focus, providing a gathering space for students offers opportunities to engage students on various levels.

“Such a facility that engages the whole student on a personal, social and academic front will affect the persistence, retention, satisfaction and academic success of our students,” said Geiken. “Ways that students will be able to use the union include: the ability to relax, remain active, build meaningful relationships and attend university-sponsored events.”

Some of the offerings planned for the ATU Student Union include the following:

  •           Basketball Courts
  •           Walking Track
  •           Fitness Center
  •           Cycling Room
  •           Event Center Space
  •           Study Rooms
  •           Student Lounges
  •           Student Meeting Rooms
  •           Outdoor Plaza

The current plans include approximately 205,000 square feet and will allow students to maximize their college experience by providing space to build connections that will serve them long after their time at Arkansas Tech.

“The events, programs, and services offered in this facility will help ATU achieve its mission of the betterment of Arkansas, the nation and the world,” said Geiken. “Some of the programmatic opportunities a student union will provide include leadership, civic engagement, networking and other life skills our students will carry with them after graduation.”

In addition to raising private funds, Arkansas Tech University students have also agreed to support this venture. In 2017, university students agreed to pay a student fee each semester to help support the addition of a student union.

“As Arkansas Tech University continues to be the state leader in enrolling and graduating Arkansans, we will continue to provide services and experiences inside and outside the classroom that leave a lasting mark on our state,” said Geiken. “This student union will serve as a key component of transforming the physical structure and culture of our campus for numerous decades.”

To learn more about donation opportunities that exist for the student union, contact the Office of Advancement at 479-968-0400.

-By Carrie Harris Phillips
for the Tech Action, Fall 2021