Bulletin September 2006
Volume 74 | Issue 5
September 2006

Union Spotlight: The Reed Union Building at Pennsylvania State University-Erie, The Behrend College


A prominent man in Erie County in the early 1900s, J. Elmer Reed is the namesake of the The Behrend College’s union. Reed was a teacher, historian, writer, and attorney. He formed a committee to establish a college in Erie County. It was through this committee that The Behrend College branch of Penn State University was founded.

Unique features

Located in the union, Bruno’s Café is a popular venue on campus. On a daily basis, Bruno’s is a grab-and-go eatery for students, but it often serves as so much more. It has a stage with a quality sound system, which enables it to be used for performances and speeches. For evening events, the café turns into Bruno’s Nightclub. “Bruno’s Café is named after the beloved pet German Shepherd owned by Ernst and Mary Behrend, namesakes of Penn State–Erie, The Behrend College. The dog is reportedly buried on the campus property!” said The Reed Union Director Kris Motta Torok.

Students’ role

The Reed Union Building is located on the heart of The Behrend College campus. It is a social gathering place for students to eat and socialize, as well as check their e-mail between classes. Because the union houses the Office of Student Activities, it often serves as a meeting place for student leaders and organizations. Students also fill several employment roles in the union from desk clerks to night managers.


Many social and educational activities are offered at The Reed Union Building.  The union is the host of the Music at Noon series, an informal lunch with world-class musicians, and the Speaker Series, which has featured such guests as Danny Glover, Spike Lee, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Jim Kelly. Torok was happy to announce that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of “Mythbusters” would be kicking off this season’s series. Other events that The Reed Union Building place host to are the Logan Series and Rhythm of Life diversity performing arts series, as well as many special events and student organization functions.

Pennsylvania State University–Erie, The Behrend College
Four-year, suburban, public
Full-time enrollment: 3,212

The Reed Union Building
Director: Kris Motta Torok
Union size: 104,170 sq. ft.
Floors: 2
Built: 1968
Student staff: 6
Nonstudent staff: 4