Many incoming students will spend a majority of their first year on City Campus, the larger of the three campuses at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. However, a number of incoming and current students are completely unaware of the new renovations happening just three miles away on East Campus.
Traveling to East Campus will take students to a different side of UNL, including the modern Nebraska East Union, located at 1705 Arbor Dr, Lincoln, NE 68503. It contains the East Campus Cafe & Grill connected to Massengale Residence Hall and various recreational activities, including a bowling alley.
East Campus offers a variety of recreational activities
Home of the Nebraska women’s bowling team, the East Campus bowling alley Lanes’N Games is open to UNL students every day except Monday, with hours varying. It’s located on the first floor of the East Campus Union and is a fun activity for students who want to stay close to campus on weekends. Andy Smriga, the senior assistant director of East Union, gave insight on the different activities to keep students busy in their free time.
“We just finished renovation on the Husker Bowling Center, which I think is a hidden gem of the university,” Smriga said. “This upcoming year we plan to continue to offer complimentary bowling, at least on Fridays.”
Like the City Campus facility, the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center has been updated and modernized as a three-story gym. Included on the first floor of the recreation center is a free golf simulator for students to work on their game in the offseason.
Various lifting machines and free weights encompass the lower level of the rec center, including locker rooms and an injury prevention office. The upper levels of the complex are home to two basketball courts with a running track surrounding it and a variety of cardio machines.
“The East Campus Recreation Center has everything that the City Campus has to offer, with a taste of the old,” Smriga said. “You can still see some of the old elements of the facility, with the new improvements we’ve made.”
East Campus offers two residence halls
East Campus is also home to two residence halls, Love Memorial Hall and Massengale Residential Center. Massengale hosts pods of rooms consisting of both upperclassmen and underclassmen who have their choice between a traditional dorm room or apartment setting.
Love Memorial Hall is an all-female community that cooks and cleans for one another in a tightly-knit group of women. It is one of the more tradition-based places to live at UNL, but it comes with a rich history which leaves residents departing with lifelong friendships according to Amanda Orr, Massengale housing director.
“I think students generally like the quiet environment that comes with living on East Campus, and both are incredibly different from one another,” Orr said. “Such a small community helps students take away lessons they will remember forever.”
UNL blends tradition, modernity on East Campus
The UNL Dairy Store has been a part of the university since 1917. In 2019, the store moved from the south side to the north side of East Campus. According to the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources facilities director, Barry Shull, this move was made as one of the various renovations to the campus.
It offers ice cream and other delicacies hand-made by UNL students on the campus, helping embody the community and tradition that East Campus offers, according to Smriga.
“They just got a new space and I think it's the tradition that makes the [UNL] Dairy Store so special,” Smriga said. “Generations have shared a cone there together bringing the sentimental value, but it also has the best ice cream you can find.”
A brand-new library opened in March 2020, now called Dinsdale Family Learning Commons after some renovations. Students can utilize this space as a quiet environment to study for classes or checkout books for leisure.
Along with being a great place to study, the commons offers computers for UNL students to check out. It also has printers available as well as research and teaching programs for students.
Also housed in the learning center are programs designed to cater specifically toward students in agricultural majors. Additionally, it gives students more opportunity to learn about starting their own business and even how to research their potential career field properly.
“It’s a beautiful new facility and the entrepreneurship section on the second floor is really one of a kind,” Smriga said. “Giving students a place to study and relax was the main goal and we are looking at other ways to help improve that.”
Those looking to begin their UNL experience on East Campus have access to a variety of different facilities, along with brand-new residence halls. Despite being a quieter environment, East Campus houses plenty of hidden gems to enhance students’ time at UNL.