Norris University Center

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Norris University Center
Norris University Center 2.jpg
General information
Type Student union
Architectural style Brutalism
Location Evanston, IL
Completed 1971
Owner Northwestern University
Design and construction
Architect Edward D. Dart

The Norris University Center is the student union of Northwestern University.


The building is named for Lester J. Norris, an alumnus of Northwestern University who died in 1967. In his memory, Mr Norris's parents contributed $2.5 million toward the construction of a student center on the recently finished lakefill.[1]


The center was designed in 1971 by renowned Modernist architect Edward D. Dart.

Community center[edit]

As the community center for Northwestern University's students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests, the Norris University Center provides services and programs designed to benefit members of the Northwestern family. Through various forms of involvement and as an integral component of the university, Norris Center offers students, in particular, direct experiences in participatory decision-making, encourages self-directed activities, and educates for leadership and social responsibility in an effort to complement classroom learning. By cultivating a sense of community and a spirit of loyalty, the Center's goal is to serves as a unifying force in the life of the University.[1]

Services hub[edit]

Norris University Center serves as the hub of campus activity. Norris Center offers various services and resources to enhance students’ experience. It also offers involvement opportunities through the Center for Student Involvement, a wide variety of food options, textbooks and spirit gear from the Norris Bookstore, as well many other opportunities for creativity, adventure, and fun outside of the classroom. It used to have a bar in it, but it was shuttered for both insurance and fire code reasons.[citation needed]

New Student Center Initiative[edit]

In 2010, a group of students began to campaign for a new student center to be built on campus, replacing the Norris University Center. The New Student Center Initiative is a student-led movement for the creation of a new student center. The initiative includes an ad hoc committee in which all Northwestern students are invited to apply, join, and contribute to the lobbying of the New Student Center.[2] According to their proposal, the New Student Center Initiative is driven by a belief that a new, state-of-the art student center located closer to the center of campus will help create a greater sense of community throughout the University. A new building designed with this purpose in mind, they argue, would include more venue space, meeting space, centralized student services, food options and general entertainment. In addition, moving the student center to the Garret parking lot would be more of a focal point for students to congregate on campus. Those who argue the necessity of building a new student center cite the positive effect of peer institutions' larger or more comprehensive student centers.[3]

Responding to lobbies from the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee (UBPC), the NU administration has engaged the consulting firm Brailsford and Dunlavey to assess how best to rebuild, repurpose, or renovate the University Center to better serve students' needs. In the spring of 2012, the consultants are researching student opinion via focus groups and small meetings, which will then allow them to put together and distribute a large scale survey on the topic.[4]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Mission and History - Norris University Center". Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "ASG Unveils the New Student Center Initiative". Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "New Student Center Initiative Proposal". Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Floum, Jessica (19 Apr 2012). "Members of NU community express opinions on new student center during focus group". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 30 April 2012.