Volume 80 | Issue 6
November 2012

Union Spotlight: Benham-Pence Student Center, Wittenberg University


Wittenberg University’s Benham-Pence Student Center has stayed in its current state since its construction in 1962. Initially built out of a need to develop a community center for campus to encourage student involvement, the building functions as a natural gathering place. The student center, located along the campus’s Alumni Way—the brick plaza dedicated to honored alumni, faculty, and friends—successfully serves multiple purposes for the university. 

The building has undergone two major renovations in 1988 and 2007. Joe Duraj, the director of student activities, said the “student senate oversaw the renovations that included an interior facelift, the development of a state-of-the-art games room, and a campus pub/programming space.”

Unique Features

“The Student Center is built upon a natural spring, a common occurrence in Springfield, Ohio, and has pumps located in the lower-level of the facility to remove water from the building,” Duraj said.

Doppelgangers, renovated in 2009, is a popular student hangout. This area features everything from big screen televisions and multiple gaming systems to traditional and arcade-style games, such as air hockey to skee-ball.

One of the center’s dining areas, Post 95, was named for Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 theses on the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany, Oct. 31, 1517. It serves as a gathering space for the community to exchange ideas.

Students’ Role

After business hours, seven student managers oversee building operations and each specializes in a different functional area.
“They are role models on campus and work tirelessly to ensure the student center stays student-focused while maintaining the Wittenburgintegrity of our community,” Duraj said.

Additionally, the Student Involvement Office has seven student coordinators who work with office staff for successful operation of programming and processes on campus.

It’s not uncommon to see students lounging around as well. A popular study space on the lower level lounge attracts students with its large, oversized high-top tables, couches, and open-access computer lab. 


A popular weekly late-night programming series is Witt Wednesdays, allowing students a mid-week study break.

“Started in 2009, the average attendance each week is 250 students, and more than 80% of the programs are sponsored by a student organization or campus office other than Student Involvement, which coordinates the programs,” Duraj said.

The Office of Student Involvement coordinates the annual Battleship Competition, an attempt to sink an opponent’s “ship” in the campus’ natatorium, and Build-An-Animal, a philanthropic event where more than 400 students line up to stuff an animal they can donate to a charity or write cards to the military.

The Tiger Rally, a pep rally to support all 23 varsity athletic teams, takes place in the student center. More than 500 attendees build energy and support for the athletics on the Wittenberg campus.