September Cover
Volume 81 | Issue 5
September 2013

Union Spotlight: Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, Tulane University

Tulane InfoTulaneLavin-Bernick Center for University Life, Tulane University


Tulane University’s Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life opened in 2006, replacing the former University Center. At 152,000 sq. ft., it is nearly 40% larger than the former building and offers a more open design.

“The Lavin-Bernick Center established a new focal point for campus life,” said Director Molly Ward. “Expansive glass exterior walls create light-filled spaces and contribute to the building’s feeling of open, spacious accessibility. The building’s ambiance is designed to foster a feeling of connection and community.”

The outside façade was inspired by the local New Orleans architectural style.

“Large portions of the façade can be opened to the exterior to capture cross-breezes and the natural environment,” Ward said. 

Unique Features

In addition to the unique architecture of the Lavin-Bernick Center, Ward believes the best thing is that it is “truly the center of campus life.”

“The building is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and students take full advantage of that,” she said. “We take pride on continuing to create new spaces for students while keeping with the aesthetic and design of the building.”

One of the spaces that attracts students is the Rosenburg Mezzanine, an area tucked between two floors of the building and surrounded by windows.

“Some students call it the tree house because it feels like you are nestled in the old oaks,” Ward said. “This space has comfortable seating, charging stations for cell phones, and tables for eating and studying.”

Students’ Role

The Lavin-Bernick Center employs 30 part-time student workers to support the 15 professional staff members.

“Our student workers run the information desk and serve as event services team members,” Ward said. “The event services team handles all the set ups and breakdowns for events, opens and closes the building, and handles all audio-visual equipment and requests.”


The Lavin-Bernick Center is home to several annual events, including the student activities expo and homecoming celebrations, as well as other major programs throughout the year.

In 2008, Tulane hosted the first-ever Clinton Global Initiative–University at the Lavin-Bernick Center.