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Cornell University

Willard Straight Hall Student Union

Willard Straight Hall is a college-gothic-style building 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 artwork, the original wood carving, stonework, and wrought-iron work. Take time to read the words carved in stone above the fireplace in the Memorial Room, which is 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 Student and Campus Life, including the Office of the Dean of Students, Campus Activities, and Sorority and Fraternity Life.

The Straight also contains Cornell Dining eateries - Okenshields and Straight from the Market. Cornell Cinema is also located on the 1st floor. WSH is also home to an art gallery, a browsing library, multiple meeting rooms, and large lounges.

Building Hours:

Summer Hours 2024
Monday, May 27 - Sunday, August 11: 7 am - 7 pm every day

Willard Straight Hall Staff Offices

1st Floor (Access from the parking lot)

Cornell Cinema and Administrative Offices

2nd Floor

Dean of Student's Office
Gender Equity Resource Center

4th Floor (Access from Ho Plaza)

Office of the Assistant Vice President
Student Service Center

5th Floor

Campus Activities Office
Off-Campus, Cooperative and Graduate Living
Sorority and Fraternity Life Office 

Meeting Spaces and Lounges

Some consider Willard Straight Hall 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 small meetings.
  • The Browsing Library, located 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 yearbooks.
  • The Fifth Floor Lounge is a multi-purpose lounge 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 to suit dance and other performing arts practices. Not ADA accessible.
  • The International Lounge, on the 4th Floor, is generally available for public use and can also be reserved for private events. The room features a series of paintings 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. The Ivy Terrace is directly adjacent to the Memorial Room, boasting a magnificent view of downtown Ithaca and Cayuga Lake.
  • On the sixth floor, two 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.  Not ADA accessible.
  • The 4th Floor Kent Hubbell Student Boardroom is a meeting room frequently used by student organizations for weekly meetings.  It can be reserved through Scheduling@Cornell.
  • The Garden Room is a multi-purpose lounge open for public use and can also be reserved for private events. The room has a wooden floor suitable for dance and other performing arts practices. Not ADA accessible.

Other Services

Willard Straight Hall houses other services in addition to lounges:

  • Dining – Willard Straight Hall has two dining facilities open to students, faculty, staff, and guests.  The hours vary by establishment and by day of the week.
    • 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 4th Floor, this is a farmstand fresh eatery offering a variety of hearty entrées, salads, and Cornell Dairy Ice Cream.
  • Cornell Cinema – the nationally-acclaimed Cornell Cinema is housed in Willard Straight Hall. Visit the theater and enjoy the murals on the walls!