Perceptions of College Unions and Number of Visits

College unions and student centers play a vital role on campus as a central hub for programs, services, and student life in general. College unions aim to not only provide critical services but also to supplement the classroom experience by allowing students to grow and learn as part of their broader college experience.

To better understand the contributions of college unions and student centers (hereafter referred to collectively as college unions) to the college student experience, this research note explored the relationship between frequency of visits to a college union and how that related to measures of learning and satisfaction.

The frequency of visits to college unions is a strong predictor of students’ satisfaction with the union environment, union services, and overall satisfaction with the college union.

Key Questions:

  1. How frequently did students report visiting the college union?
  2. How did students differ on key characteristics by how frequently they visit the college union?
  3. How did student perceptions of the college union relate to number of visits?

Key Points:

    • The majority of students used the college union between one and five times a week.
    • Frequent visitors were more likely to have positive perceptions of the college union than light visitors.
    • Students who frequently visited the union were least likely to be satisfied with food options and pricing.

College Unions & Learning Outcomes:

Students who visited the union less than once per week were less likely to feel that the college union provided opportunities for them enhance their life and leadership skills. Approximately one-third of these students felt that the union helped enhance their social interaction skills, compared to 46% of frequent visitors. Additionally, these students were less likely to feel that the union exposed them to different ideas or helped enhance leadership abilities. Twenty-one percent of light visitors indicated that they felt the union provided leadership opportunities compared to 34% of frequent visitors. Figure 7, included in this research note, further explores the results of some of the assessment’s learning outcomes by the three visit groups.

To access all the data in this robust research note, just fill out the form to the right. Interested in more thought leadership related to student unions? You may like this dynamic infographic on Key Facts About College Student Unions you can share with all your colleagues.