Student union offers variety of services

by Mehgan Lee

University folklore says students will have good luck on their next exams if they toss coins into the fountain on the terrace behind Coffman Union, said Karen Lyons, the student center’s assistant director of marketing.

But Coffman, which Lyons said is one of the largest student centers in the country, offers students much more than a campus legend.

Coffman offers everything students need to make their lives more convenient, Lyons said.

“There’s a lot of services in one place, to access here,” said Rachana Sikka, a second-year graduate student in public health.

Coffman is home to the University’s bookstore, as well as the U Card office. Students can also find computer labs, a copy center, a post office, a bank and a travel agency at Coffman.

Hungry students can grab a bite to eat at Chick-Fil-A, Baja Sol Tortilla Grill, Einstein Bros. Bagels or Bene Pizza & Pasta. There are also convenience stores and a deli.

Monica Kumar, a senior in biomedical engineering, said she comes to Coffman about four times a week for lunch.

“The food is somewhat limited and expensive,” she said, “but it works.”

Students looking to get involved in campus life can check out the more than 600 student groups registered at the Student Activities Office on the first floor. Interest groups including sports, religion, politics and culture can be found there, as well as student-government offices.

Students looking for relaxation and entertainment can check out the movie theater on the first floor, or Goldy’s Gameroom in the basement, which has bowling, billiards and arcade games.

Students can also visit the music club The Whole, which holds concerts in the basement. Past acts at The Whole include Green Day, Bonnie Raitt, Nada Surf and The Replacements, Lyons said.

This fall, late-night programming, called Gophers After Dark, will begin at Coffman. The programming will run every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. It will offer activities such as concerts in The Whole, karaoke and crafts for free or reduced prices, Lyons said.

“We’re trying to provide a free or really low-cost entertainment option for students, knowing that tuition costs are rising and students are scraping by more than ever before,” Lyons said.

Coffman also has many meeting, study and lounge spaces.

“There are a lot of places to sit, chat and relax,” said Paul Robinson, a first-year graduate student in biomedical


But some students say that there aren’t enough places to sit, Lyons said.

“During the school year, it can sometimes be hard to

get a spot because seats are usually taken,” said David Adrian, a senior in chemical engineering. “It’s usually pretty busy here.”

That is because, on average, 15,000 students a day use Coffman, Lyons said.