New restaurant, 24-hour access among ideas to improve UNK student union

Student-UnionKEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney student government members are interested in making improvements to the Nebraskan Student Union, which could include new dining options and 24-hour access.

A survey was sent recently to the student body seeking feedback on potential improvements to the union.

“The reason we wanted to do a survey is to revitalize the student union,” said Student Body President Evan Calhoun. “We want to get more foot traffic in the union and make it a place for more than just eating and having meetings.”

Calhoun-Evan-WebThe survey found that most students visit the union daily to eat, go to the bookstore or attend a student organization meeting or event.

“The goal is to position the union as a multi-purpose student activity zone. The key word being ‘activity.’ Student Government is working hard to develop and present creative solutions to the administration,” said Jon Watts, director of Business Services. “Business Services, being responsible for business development and auxiliary options, is trying to assist in moving these ideas towards implementation.”

Calhoun said revitalization options that students are interested in could include buying new furniture that makes the union more comfortable for students to study alone or in groups, installing larger televisions, creating lounge-style seating in the food court and changing dining options in the Union Food Court.

Preliminary discussions about restaurant options resulted in meetings and dialogue and a follow-up survey after students began discussing corporate values surrounding the top student-preferred restaurant, Chick-fil-A.

No decision about preferences to be presented to administration or food service contractors has been made, and no restaurant has been selected or “banned.”

The student-initiated survey also found that 95 percent of students support 24-hour access to the union. The union currently closes at 11 p.m. Calhoun said expanded hours would give students a safe place to study and hang out at night.

Eighty-six percent of the students who responded to the survey said they would use a DVD rental kiosk.

“There’s a lot of energy around wanting to revitalize the union. Students are really interested in enhancing the union and making it more of a student destination,” said Gilbert Hinga, dean of Student Affairs. “That’s where the survey comes in. We’re excited about the fact that this is coming from the students and being advanced by the students. We’ll go through the budgetary process before making changes, but we are excited to hear from the students. We are listening.”

The Nebraskan Student Union was built in 1965 and housed the food service, college bookstore, and offices for financial aid, Kearney State College Foundation, admissions, housing and placement.

In 2000, the union underwent $6.3 million in renovations, including a 25,000-square-foot addition. Completed in 2004, the updated union featured a 24-hour computer lab, stand-up email stations, a coffee shop and expanded food court.

The union currently houses the Antelope Bookstore, Union Food Court, Market @ 27th Street, Welcome Desk, Office of Student Life and ID Card Office.

A public forum will be hosted from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 25) in the Nebraskan Student Union to discuss ideas to improve the union.


Media Relations: Kelly Bartling, Assistant Vice Chancellor Communications and Community Relations, 308.865.8455,
Media Relations: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454,
Source: Evan Calhoun, Student Body President, 308.530.8949,

3 thoughts on “New restaurant, 24-hour access among ideas to improve UNK student union

  1. Good Afternoon, I just finished reading the Fox News report of the Chick Fill A vote and the vocal minority who cannot accept the results. Whether the vote was a binding situation or not, university leadership has done nothing to prepare all these children for true adulthood. Did you teach them to be sensitive to minority opinion at the cost of the majority. That is how it appears. Have you promoted polical correctness at the cost of the democratic process?

    Dolores Isham

    1. Absolutely right, Dolores. I’d expect that kind of whiny response from the California University system, but not from a down-to-earth Midwestern one. May truth and common sense one day again prevail!

  2. I just read news regarding the Chick-Fil-A controversy. My first reaction was “C’mon, people! It’s just food! The survey was asking what students wanted to eat! And for the University Student Council leadership (along with Faculty leadership as well, for that matter) to cave in to a minority voice, which chose to take this to a political arena, it’s absolutely ridiculous! To say that you are promoting tolerance on campus by reversing the majority vote to essentially a minority objection, not to the food, mind you, but to their feeling disrespected by the personal views of the president of the company on marriage… That’s absurd! I can maybe understand if you are vegetarian or somehow have personal objection to chicken, but to make this an issue over political view on marriage?? Please!! The majority of the students wanted to eat Chick-Fil-A! That’s all that it was about!! Instead of teaching tolerance, you have instead just promoted INTOLERANCE AND HYPOCRISY! In trying to appease a minority voice (who started the whole issue to begin with), you succeeded in offending the majority by taking away their voice. You are not forcing people to eat against their will. If someone doesn’t like a certain restaurant, go somewhere else to eat!! That’s called life. That’s what happens in life after college. Be glad that America is so blessed that you even have choices! And stop trying to take away choices for others just because some people disagree with you!!!

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