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Cornell University

Willard Straight Hall Student Union

Willard Straight Hall is a college-gothic style building located in the heart of Cornell’s campus. The building is an art exhibit in itself—take some time to visit the public rooms on the 4th floor and notice the distinctive art work, the original wood carving, stone work, and wrought-iron work. Take time to read the words carved in stone above the fire place in the Memorial Room, that are Willard Straight’s advice to his son, Michael. Willard Straight Hall was one of the first student unions in North America—a building devoted solely to student interests, not academic interests.

One of the first college unions in the country, the Straight supports the events and functions of the many units within the Office of the Dean of Students, including student activities, student support, and fraternity and sorority affairs.

The Straight also contains two Cornell Dining eateries - the Ivy Room, Okenshields, and Straight from the Market - plus the Cornell Cinema, a ticket office for campus events, an art gallery, a browsing library, and a computer lab open during building hours.

Willard Straight Hall Staff Offices


Willard Straight Hall is the home of the Dean of Students Office, located just off the main lobby in Suite 401.

Other Dean of Students units located in Willard Straight Hall are:  

  • DOS Administrative Offices – Suite 401

  • Fraternity & Sorority Life – Fifth Floor
  • Off-Campus Living  – Fifth Floor
  • Campus Activities  – Fifth Floor
  • Student and Community Support  – Second Floor

Meeting Spaces and Lounges

Some consider Willard Straight Hall to be the “living room” of the campus. Many of its lounges are open to the public from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm during the academic semester.

  • The Music Room (Fourth Floor) offers a relaxed environment for informal study or casual enjoyment of the new state-of-the art high-definition television set with a surround-sound system.

  • The Browsing Library, adjacent to Cascadeli on the 4th Floor, is a comfortable environment for having a snack and socializing or for enjoying books, periodicals, and newspapers. It offers several special collections, including Cornellian year books. Three internet kiosks are located here, as well as NetPrint service.
  • The Fifth Floor Lounge is a multi-purpose lounge that is open for public use at some times of the day, and can also be reserved for private events. The room has been fitted with mirrors and a barre on one wall so that it is suitable for dance and other performing arts practice.
  • The International Lounge, on the 4th Floor, is generally available for public use, and it can also be reserved for private events through the R25 scheduling system. The room features a series of paintings that were collected by Willard Straight during his travels through the Orient.
  • The Art Gallery on the 4th Floor can be reserved for art exhibits or meetings.
  • The Memorial Room – a veritable ballroom – is reserved for many functions, from arts and crafts fairs, to fashion shows, to weddings. Look over your head in this room – you will see the names of Cornell presidents carved in stone just below the ceiling. And, as you look up at the ceiling, you will realize that the ends of each wood beam contain the caricature of some of Willard Straight’s most “beloved” professors. Directly adjacent to the Memorial Room is the Ivy Terrace, boasting a magnificent view of downtown Ithaca and Cayuga Lake.
  • On the sixth floor, three meeting rooms (The Lofts) get frequent use by student organizations for weekly meetings. In addition the North Room, with its wooden floors and mirrored walls, is used by dance and martial arts groups looking for practice space.
  • The 4th Floor Conference Room is a meeting room get frequent use by student organizations for weekly meetings.  It can be reserved using the R25 System.
  • The Garden Room is a multi-purpose lounge that is open for public use and can also be reserved for private events. The room has a wooden floor, so that it is suitable for dance and other performing arts practice.

Other Services

Willard Straight Hall houses other services, in addition to lounges:

  • Bank – M&T Bank have ATM machines by the “south entrance” of the 4th floor. 

  • Dining – Willard Straight Hall has three dining facilities which are open to students, faculty, staff and guests.  The hours vary by establishment and by day of the week.
    • The Ivy Room – an a la carte dining room, featuring sandwiches, salads, desserts, and beverages. The Stone Palace pizza parlor is also located here.
    • Okenshields – an all-you-care-to eat dining facility, a traditional dining hall that accepts student meal plans.
    • Straight from the Market – located on the main floor, this is a farmstand fresh eatery offering a variety of hearty entrées, salads, and Cornell Dairy Ice Cream.
  • CIT Public Computer Lab – located on the first floor, this lab is open during WSH regular business hours (7:00 am – 11:00 pm during academic semesters). In addition to general office software, the machines in this lab contain software that allow creative digital technology experimentation.
  • Cornell Cinema – the nationally-acclaimed Cornell Cinema is housed in Willard Straight Hall. Visit the theater and enjoy the murals on the walls!