Spotlight on the Student Union at Hubbard Hall, Texas Woman's University
Texas Woman’s University
Four-year, public, Hispanic-serving
Location: Denton, Texas
Student Union at Hubbard Hall
Year Built: 1950
Size: 124,000 sq. ft.
Director: David Sweeten
Student Staff: 40 part-time
Non-Student Staff: 10 full-time
Hubbard Hall was a dining hall at Texas Woman’s University 70 years ago, and it’s one today, although the menu has changed significantly. So have the other amenities in this unique 125,000-square-foot building that just underwent a $54.5 million expansion and renovation. Today there are popular franchise eateries, but there is also the new Bunsen Tea Lab where milk teas, juice teas, and teapressos are created. Seventy years ago Hubbard had several tea rooms and parlors, and it had a bakery, a machine shop, and a laundry. Today it has a meditation room, a game room, quiet lounges, a performance space, and a refreshment bar.
The old was purposefully melded with the new during the work on Hubbard Hall as nearly 40 solid bronze, hand-crafted light fixtures, believed to be about 70 years old, were meticulously restored and brought back to life along ceilings in the rotunda, the Redbud Room, the refreshment bar, and in hallways and study areas. Each was uninstalled, hand-cleaned and restored, with wiring replaced, glass diffusers cleaned, and incandescent bulbs replaced with LED lamps.
“The building is special not only to TWU but to the Denton community as well,” said David Sweeten, director of the student union and conference services. “While renovating an older building has certainly had its challenges, we think the end result is something that reflects the desires of our students.”
In 2015, 57% of students voted in favor of raising the student union fee to fund the new union in Denton and add new services and amenities to the Dallas and Houston campuses. The union is named for Louis H. Hubbard, who served as the fifth president of the university, from 1926-1950, and whose family has been associated with the university for three generations since. The opening early this year has led to increased foot traffic, a near doubling of student employees, and for the first time, a single operating location for the student union and conference
Retail dining in the building includes an expanded, full-service Chick-fil-A and Qdoba Mexican Eats, along with the Bunsen Tea Lab, Pho U and its build-your-own ramen bowls, and the Pioneer Grill, which feature favorites like hamburgers, curly fries, and chicken tenders.
The student center is also serving as an important programming space for the campus, a recent example being a unique program under the university’s health and wellbeing initiative called “the body: a home for love.” The initiative is designed to foster a holistic approach to wellness and self-care and provide an opportunity for students to increase knowledge about their own wellbeing. Presented by Deun Ivory, the program explored the topic of beauty and healing through creative wellness and visual storytelling, by giving voice to and celebrating the wellness of minority women. Ivory is a multidisciplinary artist, inspirational speaker, and wellness creative who has worked with Apple, Glossier, Nike, and Netflix. Another example is the annual Family Graduation Celebration where parents and families of graduating students are recognized.