Adopted by the Association of College Unions International's general membership in 1996, this statement is based on the "1956 Role of the College Union statement."
The union is the community center of the college, serving students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests. By whatever form or name, a college union is an organization offering a variety of programs, activities, services, and facilities that, when taken together, represent a well-considered plan for the community life of the college.
The union is an integral part of the educational mission of the college. As the center of the college community life, the union complements the academic experience through an extensive variety of cultural, social, and recreational programs. These programs provide the opportunity to balance course work and free time as cooperative factors in education.
In all its processes, the union encourages self-directed activity, giving maximum opportunity for self-realization and for growth in individual, social competency and group effectiveness. The union's goal is the development of persons as well as intellects. Traditionally considered the "hearthstone" or "living room" of the campus, today's unions are gathering places of the college. The unions provide services and conveniences that members of the college community need in their daily lives and create an environment for getting to know and understand others through formal and informal associations. The unions serve as unifying forces that honor each individual and values diversity. The unions foster a sense of community that cultivates enduring loyalty to the college.
Located in the heart of Tulane’s uptown campus, the Commons is a 77,000 square-foot marvel that combines student life, academics, research, inquiry, and, in true New Orleans style, great food. Students gather with faculty, staff, and visitors at the Commons – broadening the intellectual life of the university and building an even stronger sense of Tulane community. This transformative space brings all of the operations of the Newcomb Institute, which educates undergraduates for women’s leadership in the 21st century, under a single roof at the center of campus life.
The Commons also houses Tulane’s new state-of-the-art dining room, which occupies two floors and offers multiple dining platforms, a rotating menu of local and international cuisine, and a Chef’s Table demonstration kitchen. With more than 1,000 seats for eating, studying, and conversation, the Dining Room at the Commons fosters community and builds relationships. It also features a market offering snacks, beverages, to-go meals, and more. Nestled among centuries-old oak trees and offering commanding views of the Berger Family Lawn and Newcomb Quad, the Commons is steps away from student residences, the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, and other essential spaces at Tulane. It is connected by walkway to the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life and in spirit to the heart and soul of the Tulane experience.