Campus 411: The O'Keeffe Student Union

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Taken over by Intro to Econ study groups and students sleeping on couches (#RIPSloset) -- as well as the epitome of the general student body's athletic ability, seen on the ping pong table -- the former Cafe Bravo space on New Street introduced a year ago added a new college campus vibe to King's. su

The O’Keeffe Student Union officially expanded the campus by 3,200 square feet on November 16, 2015, made possible by the generous Esther B. O’Keeffe Charitable Foundation. Years ago, leaving the Empire State Building behind meant leaving the large student lounge on campus behind. The Student Union's purpose:  to intentionally cultivate community by giving students a space to hang out and study  together.

With a single entrance, requiring an ID, you must leave school to get in the rather exclusive space. The Student Union’s glass windows allow the outside world to see into this small part of King’s and even advertises the award-winning student newspaper, Empire State Tribune, on them. The walls feature student artwork and the warm and modern aesthetic provides a comfortable space.  Most recently, student workers have taken the place of security and Facilities installed new speakers. “Having a student at the desk will help the space become the most comfortable, inviting, and organized environment,” says The Senior Security Assistant Taylor Thompson. “It’s the Student Union—it makes sense that we should make the best space possible for events, studying, or hanging out by managing it with representatives of the student body.”

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Open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight, the Student Union allows an extra hour and fifteen minutes to stay on campus after the Student Services Representative closes the main campus at 10:45 p.m. If the library is not your study area of choice, take advantage of the Student Union. While most of the semester the Student Union is relatively empty, once finals week hits the hours of operation are extended until 2 a.m., you will miss the quiet.

Aaron Mikat (PPE ’16 and "The Great Student Union" Mishap survivor) often stationed at a table in the school lobby every day, ventured to the new environment of the Student Union and got locked inside shortly after closing, due to a mishap with evening janitorial staff. Thankfully, he had all the emergency essentials — a sink, two bathrooms and just enough space under the doors for NYPD officers to slip dollar bills underneath to buy food from the vending machines. The key arrived, Mikat survived and all hope was revived. The moral of the story: be aware of closing times!

The Student Union has quickly become a multi-purpose space  where the Council and Refuge meet,  guest speakers lecture and the ESTv sets up a makeshift studio to film episodes. Most recently, the Student Union was transformed into a 'hype' party space for the annual Halloween Party. It was so legit, a stranger walking by questioned if it was a club.

Growing the campus means more space to grow the community. The O’Keeffe Student Union offers the space and amenities to do just that. Be sure to take advantage of this relatively new addition to The King’s College!

CampusLeah Carter