Update: The referendum did not pass with 45% in favor vote. The Smith Memorial Student Union team is hard at work to continue to make improvements to the building and will re-imagine what the Union can be...

Imagine a

New Student Union

     Meet   .   Rest   .   Study   .   Belong   .   Play   .   Eat   .   Shop       

The images below are purely conceptual. If the referendum passes, a student-directed effort
will be initiated to reimagine how a new student union building would look and feel.

Conceptual rendering of the renovated Student Union BuildingConceptual artistic rendering of proposed renovations to the Smith Memorial Student Union Building. Top image faces SW Broadway, bottom image faces the Park Blocks. Building design will be completely reimagined if a referendum passes. 

Why a new Union?

Smith Memorial Student Union was constructed 60 years ago to serve only 3,000-3,500 students. The campus culture and values of PSU have changed in those 60 years and Smith Union no longer reflects the nature of the student population or the University’s values. Over time, the building has accumulated $13 million dollars of deferred repairs and maintenance. We need to do something about that and we think investing that money into a bigger project is a good investment and leaves a legacy for the next generation of Portland State students.

Watch the full version of our video.

A renovation may include the following improvements:

  • New food concepts with an open environment
  • Full service coffee shop with lounge seating
  • A building that actually meets and exceeds ADA standards
    and strives for universal inclusion
  • Auditorium for movies, comedians, and lectures
  • Computer lab and print stations
  • Expanded ballroom and revitalized meeting space
  • Enhanced resource centers and space for student services
  • LEED certified green building with more natural light
  • Improved building navigation, lounges, and information desk
  • Study space designed for today's, and tomorrow's, technology
  • Campus pub/performance space 
  • Revitalized student-operated Cafe


  • 2010-2011: ASPSU leadership and FADM Auxiliary Services formed a working group to assess the feasibiliy of a new student union.
  • In 2012, The Student Fee Committee/Student Building Fee allocated $150,000 for a Student Union 2020 Feasibility Assessment.
  • In 2015, the Student Fee Committee allocated an additional $150,000 for refined study.
  • On November 9, 2015 the ASPSU Senate heard a presentation on the proposal.
  • On February 29, 2016, the ASPSU Senate approved putting the Smith 2020 referendum on the ballot. Voting will be held April 11-27.
  • If the referendum passes, we will work with students, architects and faculty/staff to decide which programs belong in the Student Union, how the space gets allocated, how the budget works and more.
  • On April 27, the referendum failed to pass at a 45% in favor vote. The Smith Memorial Student Union team is hard at work to continue to make improvements to the building.