The dream of building a student union began early in Penn State's history. Since 1920, when students banded together to form the Penn State Student Union, Penn State has been working to provide space for student gatherings, meetings, social events, publications and government.
Each time the student body grew, facilities became inadequate and the University worked to fund and build according to student needs. The "new Old Main" in 1930 contained facilities which temporarily satisfied the need for student meeting space, and a temporary union building, known as "The TUB," was purchased to meet needs following World War II.
Work began on the Hetzel Union Building (HUB) in January, 1953, which was funded in part by a student activity fee. It included the University Park post office substation, the Terrace Room cafeteria, the "wait for date room," the ballroom, a television room, twelve pay-phone stations, and student organization offices. Major renovations in 1973 and 1983 expanded the HUB significantly, but despite these expansions and renovations, by 1985, the HUB had again reached full capacity.
The most recent renovation was financed with funds generated from the Student Activity Fee, private support, and university funds, and on May 2, 1997, ground was broken for construction that would add 91,000 square feet to the existing 154,000 square foot building. The new construction includes not only new student activity space, but also the beautifully designed new home for the Paul Robeson Cultural Center.