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Student Union 3rd Floor Opening Ceremony in the Student Union Ballroom
Graduate Student Senate President Austin Boyd cuts a ribbon at the dedication ceremony for the opening of the third floor of the Student Union. A representative from each unit joined him at the front of the ballroom to cut their own separate ribbon, remaining socially distant.

The Student Union, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s central community space, celebrated the opening of its third floor yesterday during a special ribbon-cutting ceremony where students, faculty, and staff gathered to see the new space. Units housed on the third floor now include the Graduate Student Senate, an Interfaith Meditation Space, the Pride Center, Smokey’s Closet, and administrative offices for student workers and Student Union staff.

“The union serves as a welcoming hub for students to come and gather, to socialize, and to learn,” said Frank Cuevas, vice chancellor for student life. “Providing a central space for these services and centers to live will enhance the overall student experience and promote a more inclusive campus.”

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Life Shea Kidd Houze joined Cuevas at the ceremony. Student representatives from the units housed on the floor were granted the honor of cutting the ribbon, officially opening the space.

“I am filled with so much gratitude as I think about the new opportunities our students will have to connect in this building. Now it feels a little more like home sweet home,” said Kidd Houze. “When we talk about a campus where students can truly matter and belong, it’s spaces like this that really help that goal come to fruition.”

The Student Union houses offices and services that students use on a daily basis. Operating as a student-centered organization, the union advances a sense of community among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests. The first phase of the building opened in summer 2015 and the second phase in spring 2019, and upgrades and enhancements have been taking place since the opening. The third floor initially housed only the Office of the Dean of Students, administrative offices for the Division of Student Life and the Student Union, and meeting spaces. With the new additions, every corner of the 395,088-square-foot building will be put to use.

Take a tour of the new additions to the space.


Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993,