Aztec Student Union fulfills all student needs

Jenna Mackey, Senior Staff Photographer

Jenna Mackey, Senior Staff Photographer

by Morgan Rubin

Welcome back, Aztecs! With the start of each new semester comes new classes, teachers, expensive books to purchase and assignments to procrastinate on.  However, this semester is special because it will bring a long-anticipated new addition to the San Diego State community. [quote] I’m referring to the brand new, state-of-the-art, 206,000-square-foot Aztec Student Union.[/quote] The project has been in the works since 2010, and its completion date has been pushed back multiple times.

The final product is well worth the wait. While the architecture of the new building heavily resembles that of the other mission-styled buildings on campus, the ASU’s contents are unlike any building SDSU has had in its history. The student union, which meets every student need imaginable, is truly made for the students.  Whether you’re a commuter student in need of a place to get work done, or an on-the-go student looking for a quick workout, the ASU has everything.

Go green or go home

One of the things that makes the student union extra special is the fact that it’s the most eco-friendly building on campus and the entire California State University system.  The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design will officially verify this upon completion. LEED is a system that gives standards for the “greenness” of a building and its construction process.  When the ASU is finished, it will hopefully receive the LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of certificatin, to go along with SDSU’s numerous honors.

The structure’s sustainability is achieved by a multitude of ways, including a significant decrease in energy usage. When you traverse the various rooms of the student union, you’ll notice the plentiful windows and skylights that cut the costs of the energy used by artificial lights. And rather than having air conditioning and heating units throughout the building, a large section of it will have a radiant floor system. This is essentially a concrete surface with cold or hot water running through tubing beneath it, cooling or heating the building more efficiently.

The student union isn’t only sustainable underground. The roof, although closed to the public, hosts an area of gorgeous greenery that’s designed to reduce the overall heat of the typical dry, overheated surfaces.  The roof is also home to dozens of solar panels that help capture the sun’s energ.


Taking care of business

One of the primary functions of this new student union is to organize the student-run clubs and organizations. The Division of Student Affairs and all its resources and programs will be headquartered there. This means that more than 300 student organizations, the Center for Leadership and Community Service and the Center for Intercultural Relations will be housed in the student union.  The Associated Students Offices have also been moved here as well, so make sure you stop by and say hello to your elected officials. While old services like University Information Center and the lost and found will be relocated to the student union, some new amenities include a lactation room, a commuter student resource area and foot washing stations in the ground floor bathrooms among many other hidden treasures.

It sounds like a lot, but once you visit you’ll realize there’s more than enough room for everyone. The ASU holds countless meeting and board rooms, both indoor and outdoor, for student organizations to use. If you’re really feeling classy, you can rent out the grand banquet hall. One look inside Montezuma Hall, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a dream.

Right across from Montezuma Hall is the 300-seat theatre, which can also be used by student organizations, so look out for announcements for film showings in the near future.

It’s a pleasure

Don’t worry, Aztecs. Where there’s work, there’s play. We now have places on campus where we can hang out with friends that’s aren’t the 24/7 Area of the library.

For starters, there’s Aztec Lanes. We no longer have to make the journey all the way to Kearny Mesa Bowl when we feel the urge to play a game or two. The student union is now home to our very own 12-lane bowling and gaming center, which includes a two tennis tables, five pool tables, a gaming lounge and eight big-screen TVs. As a part of Welcome Back Week, check out Aztec Lanes for yourself during Aztec Pride Basket Bowl, Neon Bowling, 90s Bowling, 80s Bowling, Country Bowl, and Vegas Bowling. While there, you’ll experience games, bumping music and no doubt those notoriously ugly, yet somehow hip bowling shoes.

[quote]Helpful hint: You might want to get there early. Those bowling shoes are bound to get funky in a hurry.[/quote]

Aztec Lanes will be available at no cost to Aztec Recreation Center members, except for the $1 shoe rental.

Right next door to Aztec Lanes, you’ll find Oggi’s Pizza Express. Not only do we get yet another fine pizza establishment on campus, but Oggi’s also offers us award-winning microbrewed beer. Yes, that’s right–beer. Before you get too excited, note that there will be security around the student union at all times. Since it’s a sports-centered place, we’ll get to cheer on our basketball teams right from campus. And if they lose (knock on wood), we can all grieve together. 

As far as other dining options go, they’re fairly recognizable. There will be another Aztec Market, which is always nice. The new feature to this one is the addition of ShakeSmart, the popular, nutritious shake bar that currently stands in front of the ARC. Then there’s The Habit Burger Grill, and Chipotle, which is being moved from its current location by the trolley station. Finally, no student union is complete without a Starbucks, and this one is set to be the largest on campus.

Want to work off all that food, but don’t want to go to the always-crowded ARC? The ARC Express, located on the southern part of the third floor, will allow us to get the same ARC experience in a more convenient area of school. But just because it’s significantly smaller than the original doesn’t mean the quality of service and available machines aren’t as good. Actually, the ARC Express is filled with brand new cardio machines and weights. It’s newest toy is the Synrgy 360 XL, a top-of-the-line multipurpose workout station designed to help everyone get and stay in the best shape possible. A balcony with a great view of College Avenue is located by access of the ARC Express. However, there are no showers or overnight lockers available.



Aztecs pride themselves with being innovative, diverse and accessible to every student’s needs. This is definitely shown in our new facility. We have managed to build not only a new building for us to walk past every day, but also effectively built a stronger, more open Aztec community.

Be warned: our new student facility much bigger than it looks on the outside, so take advantage of the many digital interactive directories and try not to get lost.

All photos by Jenna Mackey, Senior Staff Photographer