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HUB-Robeson Center
Penn state hub building exterior.jpg
North Plaza Area
Building information
Name HUB-Robeson Center
Location University Park, Pennsylvania
Country United States
Construction started 1953
Completed 1955
The first floor of the HUB.
Interior space of several HUB floors.

The HUB-Robeson Center, commonly referred to as the "HUB" is the student union building centrally located on the University Park campus of the Pennsylvania State University. It was originally built in 1953 and had major renovations done in 1973 and 1983. The most recent round of expansions and renovations was begun in May 1997, adding 91,000 square feet (8,500 m2) to the existing 154,000-square-foot (14,300 m2) building. The building was originally named the Hetzel Union Building for Depression-era President of Penn State Ralph Dorn Hetzel.



On the ground floor is "Union Street", a collection of eateries that provide an alternative to the on-campus dining halls. There is also a set of aquariums (donated by the Class of 1999) and a pool hall/arcade ("The Corner Pocket") on the ground floor. Next to the aquarium is the home of The Lion 90.7FM, Penn State's only student-run radio station, which moved to the HUB on April 24, 2003. On the upper floors are lounges, dedicated study spaces, an auditorium, and the HUB Art Gallery; in addition, many of Penn State's student-run groups have offices on the upper floors, such as UPAC, NRT, and the Campus Thespians. The HUB is directly connected to the on-campus Penn State Bookstore (run by Barnes & Noble) as well as the Paul Robeson Cultural Center.

The following eateries can be found in the HUB:

  • The Wild Cactus (originally Casa Ortega until September, 2007)
  • Chat's (cafe)
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Higher Ground (coffee shop)
  • Bremsstrahlung (frozen food shop)
  • Joegies (a sandwich/sub restaurant named in honor of Joe Paterno)
  • Mixed Greens
  • Panda Express
  • Piccalilli's
  • Sbarro

The Union St. Grill (aka Union Street Burger Company) was closed on November 19 and replaced in January 2007 [1] by:

The lawn in front of the HUB, commonly called the "HUB Lawn" features a gazebo and is popular with students playing frisbee and sunbathing. The lawn is also home to Penn State's annual free concert, Movin' On.

1996 Shooting

The lawn was the site of the 1996 shooting that resulted in the death of Melanie Spalla, a 21 year-old undergraduate journalism student from Altoona. The perpetrator of the shooting, Jillian Robbins, was a 19 year-old non-student resident of State College. At approximately 9:30 AM on September 17, Robbins was positioned outdoors at the northwest corner of the HUB Lawn, where the HUB pool room now stands. She fired five shots in the general direction of College Avenue using a 7 mm Mauser rifle. Nicholas Mensah, a 22 year-old student from Ghana, was also wounded in the shooting, but was not killed.

Of the five bullets fired, two struck victims, one was recovered at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, and another on the eighth floor of Penn Tower Apartments. The fifth was found on the ground. On their paths, two of the bullets grazed two students' book bags.

At that morning hour, during the middle of a class period, there were few students on the lawn, and police managed to identify only 15 witnesses. One of these witnesses, student Brendon Malovrh, is credited with wrestling the gun away from Robbins just after she loaded a second clip. In response, she pulled out a knife and attempted to stab Malovrh. When Malovrh dodged out of the way, Robbins accidentally stabbed herself in the thigh, after which Malovrh used his belt to try to stop her bleeding. Robbins was arrested at the scene, and Mensah and Robbins were taken to Centre Community Hospital for treatment following the shooting.

Following her arrest, Robbins spent six months in Norristown State Hospital, an in-patient psychiatric hospital that treats both voluntary and court-committed patients. Robbins never offered a reason for her actions, but did say that she had intended to kill herself that day. She later plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Village (2001)

In 2001, the HUB was the site of a 9-day student sit-in demonstration called "The Village". The Village began as a community response to death threats received by African American students at the University. In support of better diversity programs at Penn State, more than forty student groups participated along with many other students and community members. [2]

HubaHUBfest (2009)

1st annual celebration of HubaHUBfest took place on Oct 10th 2009. Love on campus was celebrated, at exactly 2pm everyone in the HUB hugged and kissed the person to their right. They then exchanged phone numbers. It was considered a successful event because many lasting relationships sparked from this day in HUB history.


  • The study lounge on the main floor (one floor above the ground floor) underwent extensive renovations during the 1997 expansion. Prior to the expansion, the lounge area was enclosed with glass windows on all four sides; one facing Pollock Road, and the other three facing internal hallways. For many years, this lounge was nicknamed the "HUB Fishbowl," due to its all-glass enclosure.


  1. ^ [1] news article, accessed December 7, 2006

Coordinates: 40°47′54″N 77°51′41″W / 40.7982°N 77.8615°W / 40.7982; -77.8615



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