If the Student Union is the heart of the University of Central Florida’s campus, then the Study Union initiative is one of the ways the building shows its “love” for students.

The 24-hour academic support program offers safety, community, wellness resources and academic support during one of the most challenging periods of the academic semester: final exam week.

During finals week, Study Union features open areas for students to study individually or in groups, as well as spaces designated for quiet study. Computer labs provide free printing, and SARC provides peer tutors and staff for final review sessions and academic help. Free food and wellness services are also given to students.

NASPA, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, this week recognized the Study Union initiative with an Excellence Award. The award honors student affairs initiatives that improve learning through outstanding programs, innovative services and effective administration.

UCF will be recognized as the Gold recipient at the 2013 NASPA Annual Conference in Orlando in March.

“Since its inception in 2008, Study Union has had an enormous impact on the UCF community,” said Maribeth Ehasz, vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Services. “In addition to providing students with a safe location to study for finals, this program has created an environment of academic excellence and promoted a sense of community among our students. What I find most impressive is that it has brought together different groups and departments to meet an important student need.”

Study Union is a collaboration among the Student Union, Student Academic Resource Center, Student Government Association, Knights Helping Knights Pantry, UCF Foundation Parent and Family Fund, UCF Police and the Recreation and Wellness Center.

In 2011-2012, students visited Study Union 455,276 times, up seven percent from the previous academic year.

“The excellence awards embody the overarching goals set forth by NASPA: to lead in the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession. We are proud to promote the innovative work taking place on University of Central Florida’s campus and encourage institutions to follow suit and join the movement,” said NASPA President Kevin Kruger.

Learn more about the Student Union.