East Campus Union

University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus Union will soon be home to three new dining options. 

By fall 2020, the union will have a new dining hall, a Starbucks and a Herbie’s Market C-Store. These additions are part of a larger renovation of the East Campus Union which began in October 2018 and is expected to be complete by fall 2020.

On Wednesday, the union’s new first floor dining center will open for the first time to students and the general public, according to Andy Smriga, assistant director of operations for Nebraska East Union. 

The new dining center will feature an á la carte system for breakfast and lunch, which Smriga said will allow everyone from the campus community to join together, with or without a meal plan. The old dining center only offered an all-you-can-eat buffet option.

“I think [the new dining center] is really going to be the central gathering spot, where you’ll get to see people and continue conversations or meet new people, that East Campus really was lacking,” he said.

According to Smriga, the new dining center will include wood oven-fired pizza, an extensive salad bar and an expanded Corner Deli.

College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources recruitment associate Carly Horstman, who regularly gives tours of East Campus to prospective students, said she thinks the new dining facility will make students more excited to live on East Campus.

“It’s going to be really exciting for our students to have the new dining hall over here,” she said. “I think it’s just adding to the facelift that the East Campus has been getting over the past few years.”

The East Campus Union will have more food and drink options when Starbucks opens on the second floor early next year. It will be located at the new south entrance of the union and connected to Legacy Plaza, according to the Nebraska East Union renovation website.

Smriga said the Starbucks should be open by the beginning of March.

“[Starbucks] is always a popular talking point for our campus visits because [East Campus] don’t have a lot of fast food or food options besides the dining halls,” Horstman said.

According to Smriga, the new C-Store should be completed in time for the fall 2020 semester.

Smriga said he encourages students to visit the Nebraska East Union renovation website to follow the progress of the East Union’s projects. The website includes video updates and notes from biweekly construction project meetings.

“We want to make sure people know what is going on,” he said. “It can be mysterious during renovation, and we really want to … have people get excited for all the great things that are starting to open now and the things that are still to open in the future.”

Smriga said the new renovations will have a major impact on East Campus students and faculty.

“I think this is going to be transformative for the East Campus community,” he said. “It was really something that was a barrier to building community before, to not have a big open space with lots of options … I think it’s something that will be a very special environment.”