The CSU is a student building. It is fully funded through student fees and generated revenue. It is recognized as part of the Minnesota State University Revenue Fund.
The CSU policies, budget and direction are set in consultation with the Union Board. This group of students is appointed through Student Governmentand is integral to the ongoing life of the building.
The CSU is currently directed is Mark Constantine. Past directors were Laurie Woodward, Ph.D. (2006-2013), Henry Morris (1995-2005), Jim Zwicky (1976-1995), Roy Lashway (1966-1976).
The CSU is 213,000 square feet making it among the largest non-Big 10 campuses in the upper Midwest.
The CSU has an average foot traffic of 2 million visitors a year; about 50,000 a week.
The CSU is part of an indoor pedestrian walkway that connects the CSU to the Memorial Library and continues through the CSU to most campus buildings.
The CSUMavAve Food Court is served by University Dining Services and offers several food vendor options ranging from sub sandwiches and salads to Chick-fil-a and Taco Bell. Meals can be paid through retail sales or use of campus flex meal plan.
The CSU recognizes student leadership with its 55-foot BEST Board located in the CSU Hearth Lounge. An acronym for Boasting Exceptional Student Talent, the BEST Board honors eight student leaders each semester.
The CSU is home for all non-academic student organizations including the Student Events Team and Student Government.
The CSU is home to the LGBT Center. Opened in 1970, the LGBT Center is the second-longest operating university center of its kind in the U.S.
The CSU is home for the Kearney Center for International Student Services and the Multicultural Center.
The CSU Maverick Bullpen is among the largest university game rooms in the country complete with 12 bowling lanes, 15 regulation-sized billiard tables, three video gaming stations and a snack bar.
The CSU, since its opening, has been home for the campus student newspaper, The Reporter.
The CSU houses all commercial vendors on campus including a credit union, computer store, the campus Barnes & Noble Bookstore and retail dining services. The Campus Hub addresses students' financial assistance needs.
The CSU offers meeting rooms ranging from 10 to 1,000 seats.
The CSU operates with 60+ student staff members who assist the CSU's 14 full-time professional staff. Student employee opportunities range from building operations and technical staff to graphic designers and game room attendants.
The CSU functions throughout the year with Student Building Managers who are guided by a full-time Building Coordinator during the student union's hours of operation.
The CSU Operations and Technical student staff provide more than 13,000 hours of support to more than 1,800 events and meetings conducted in the CSU.
The CSU opened October 27, 1967, during Homecoming Week. The building was officially dedicated on May 3, 1968. It was named Centennial Student Union as then Mankato State College celebrated its 100th anniversary. The school operated for a century without a student union.
The CSU main entrance originally faced west (the main south entrance was part of the 2005 renovation). The original building featured a grand ballroom, meeting spaces, food service and some office space.
The CSU has been expanded three times since it was first constructed. The $14 million renovation and expansion in 2005 added a main south entrance to the building that created a towering glass atrium and fireplace lounge.
The CSU underwent its first expansion in 1972. The western half of the main building was added to house additional conference rooms and offices as well as the Ostrander Auditorium, campus bookstore, and the Maverick Bullpen.
The CSU expanded in 1999 with a two-story addition to the west of the main building to expand student organization offices. This wing of the building houses Student Government, The Reporter (campus newspaper), Counseling Center, the Kearney International Center, the Multicultural Center, the Veterans Resource Center, the LGBT Center, and a variety of Student Activitiesprograms and services.
The CSU Ballroom, renovated in 2011, features 17 wall projectors. The CSU Ballroom became Minnesota’s first conference space to offer seamless, near-surround video projection. The wood used on the ceiling was repurposed from the walls of the original ballroom. The wood is a rare Minnesota Fir.
The CSU was recognized in 2019 by Sony as the largest single-environment application of Sony Laser Technology in the U.S. after the ballroom's 17 projectors were upgraded to the latest laser technology.
The CSU reopened Ostrander Auditorium in Fall 2009 after extensive renovation. Since then, Ostrander Auditorium has received awards and trade magazine recognition as an exemplary multi-use space applying the latest in audio and video technology. The 350-seat auditorium is used for formal presentations, lecture workshops and as the site of weekly Stomper's Cinema offerings.