Student Union Satisfaction and Usage: Comparing First-Year Students and Seniors

This research note compares the responses of 21,006 first-year and senior students, leveraging data from the 2013-14 academic year ACUI/Benchworks College Union/Student Center Assessment, created by The Association for College Unions International (ACUI), in partnership with Skyfactor. The union visitor and non-visitor assessments provide administrators with a sense of student perceptions about their union experience.

Of those who participated in the assessment, first-year students were significantly more likely than seniors to reside on-campus. Nearly eight of ten first-year students indicated their place of residence was a residence hall, compared to one of ten seniors. First-year students were more likely than seniors to report visiting the college union multiple times per week and participating in activities sponsored by the union multiple times per month. When asked to cite the top three reasons they visit the college union, seniors were more likely than first-years to cite meeting others, using information services, accessing computers for email and not for email, utilizing photocopy services, or attending student organization meetings. First-years were more likely than seniors to cite eating, athletic activities, programs or events, postal services, movies, relaxing, or using the game room. First-year students were more satisfied than seniors with the extent to which the union publicizes opportunities to join organizations, publicizes activities sponsored by the union, promotes a sense of community on campus, promotes programs of interest to students, and involves students in the decisions about union activities. First-year students were also more likely to agree the union is an enjoyable, welcoming, safe, and student-oriented place to spend time, relax study, get involved, and get information on campus life. First-year students were more likely to agree the union offers a wide variety of entertainment options and they are reasonably priced. Overall, first-year students were more likely than seniors to be satisfied with the college union.

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