Nearly 16,000 students come to NKU to learn, practice and socialize everyday in a safe, welcoming and diverse environment.
From the plaza to the Box, from Griffin Hall to the amphitheater, there’s one spot that attracts students more than any other.
It’s the sitting area just outside of Starbucks in the Student Union. At nearly any time of day, you gather there to study, fraternize and sip your coffees before or after class.
We spent all day talking to you – all of you.
This is the most popular spot on campus.
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The couches, outside the Starbucks, naturally.
Class is letting out, and more folks start coming in. Leah Hamilton, a 21-year-old sociology major who lives off campus, and Marie Daugherty, a 19-year-old human resources management major from Crescent Springs, Ky., have an important exchange to make. It seems that one has the other’s pants.
“So we came here to pick them up,” Hamilton says.
“Where else would you go?” she says laughing.
This is the environment we’ve come to think of when we talk about this area. All kinds of people are coming by and sitting down.
Six friends have taken over the couch: 18-year-old Gerian Summers of Louisville; Alisha Robinson, an 18-year-old accounting major from Louisville; Brianna Holman, an 18-year-old criminal justice major from Lexington; Destinee Jones, an 18-year-old business management major from Lexington; Devante Jones, an 18-year-old marketing major from Cincinnati; and Terri Lacey, a 19-year-old finance major from Cincinnati.
“I like the coolness of the couch, just getting chatty with your friends,” says Gerian.
“You can just sit back in the corner and observe everything else going on out there,” Devante adds.
Kalyn Emmons, a 19-year-old from Maysville, checks her phone while killing time and sitting on the bench.
She came to NKU partly because she says her parents didn’t want her to. She says they weren’t convinced she could make it on her own. But she came, joined a sorority, and kept up with her studies.
“The sorority helps me – they push me academically,” she says. “I made the Dean’s List last year. I’m proving my parents wrong.”
Megan Huppertz is a 20-year-old education major from Walton who has an added challenge: She’s the mother of a 3-year-old.
Her son, Lukas Huling, goes to the Early Childhood Center during the day.
“Today I picked him up between my classes so we could have lunch,” she says as they play on the bench outside Starbucks. “If I can get time with him I do.”
Two electric engineering majors from Saudi Arabia come by to hang out at the bench and get ready for class.
“Everything’s here,” says Rakn Alahmadi, 25, spreading his arms to indicate the Student Union.
His plan is to earn his bachelor’s degree, then maybe get a Master’s.
“Everything’s here,” he says again. This time you get the feeling he’s talking about NKU.
More people tend to file out of the union as the afternoon wanes. Two friends sit down on the couch and open up a laptop.
The two share an American Politics class and they’re talking about something very important: Where to go on a study abroad trip.
“We’re thinking France,” Krystalyn says.
Samantha Bacon, a 20-year-old integrative studies major from Milford, Ohio, is interviewing an international student on the couches for a class project.
Faisal Alibrahim, 22, is from Saudi Arabia and majors in mechanical engineering – and he is more than willing to talk about the cultural and educational differences between America and his home country.
“I think she’ll get an A,” he says, smiling at his interviewer.