The OSU Student Union Homepage

Serving over 22,000 students, in addition to OSU faculty and staff, the Student Union serves as a hub for campus life and is easily one of the busiest places on campus. The facility recently underwent several renovations, making it the largest student union in the world. It now contains nearly 20 unique departments including bookstores, restaurants, administrative services and countless student organizations.

Why Drupal was chosen: 

Drupal 7 possesses exceptional content management capabilities through the use of custom add-on modules. These modules were vital to successfully organizing the site’s infrastructure as well as facilitating ease of use among several different user groups. The Student Union at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater also needed a platform that allowed for the creation of a clean, functional website that is easily navigable.

Describe the project (goals, requirements and outcome): 

Goals and Requirements

In order to complement such a large state-of-the-art facility, the Student Union needed a sharp, easy-to-maintain website. The previous site felt outdated, with several departments falling far behind on content updates. The site required extensive updates to its content, aesthetic and navigation. The staff sought to achieve these updates by incorporating the following features in their site:

Hassle-free Content Management

Student Union Marketing, who controlled the majority of content posted to the site, were finding it difficult to maintain and publish such a large volume of information. As it stood, all other departments would have to meet with them in person to generate the content they needed. Marketing would then have to publish this content, and given that there are so many departments that require regular updates, they struggled to allocate the time and manpower to do this. In order to keep the site up to date, they needed an easy way to enable other departments to post their own content. Ultimately, they sought seamless LDAP integration and an easily maintainable workflow; both being vital to successful implementation.

Clean Navigation

To compound the lack of content updates, many visitors found it difficult to locate the information they required. The site lacked organization, causing a disjointed user experience. The new site should provide a clean and logical navigation to help users find what they needed more quickly. Additionally, they wanted every other department to be easily found, with the ability to navigate anywhere else on the website from every page.

Updated Appearance

Perhaps the first thing users noticed about the previous site was its dated appearance. The site had long been without any substantial aesthetic change. The dated appearance became especially apparent after the completion of the Student Union renovations. The site did not require any over the top aesthetics, but it certainly needed its appearance to be up to par with the recent physical renovations. Most importantly, the appearance needed to be complementary to the navigation and design of the site.


Working extensively with Marketing and Student Union IT, InterWorks proposed several customized solutions for the new website, including a comprehensive content strategy plan. Drupal 7 was recommended.

The site used a standard Drupal distribution with a multi-site set up. The OSU template served as the base for the site, and was modified to stand on its own. The multi-site feature was especially advantageous in applying core and module updates. Since the Student Union site is comprised of several different sites, applying cohesive updates across all sites is crucial. Without the multi-site feature core and module updates would need to be applied separately, making updates more difficult.

InterWorks also helped the IT department create an ideal hosting environment. From there, custom scripting and modules were implemented to create a new Student Union Directory. This allows visitors to navigate easily throughout various departments.

Drupal empowered each department by giving them total ownership of their content. Since modifying and improving the workflow with Workbench Moderation and LDAP, IT has spent less time micromanaging each department or user. The easy to use interface and content management of the site has resulted in unprecedented cooperation between all the departments, including IT and Marketing.

To complement the new content management system and navigation, the overall appearance of the site was also much improved. The project's primary goal was to make the site more accessible – to both content managers and visitors. In working to achieve this goal, site traffic has already increased greatly. Now that the project is complete, OSU is confident that traffic and positive feedback will increase further. Best of all, Student Union staff and visitors finally feel that the renovations to the new site match the sleek renovations to the Student Union itself.

Why these modules/theme/distribution were chosen: 

Workbench Moderation

Using Workbench Moderation, an ideal content management solution was engineered. Workbench Moderation allowed the Marketing department to delegate content updates to designated content administrators within each department. Content administrators independently submit their content while Marketing maintains a final approval step before the content goes live. They are now able to moderate and approve all content uploaded by each department with minimal oversight.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)

With LDAP implementation, Drupal user accounts were tied in to the OSU directory, allowing IT to apply roles and permissions as people log in to each website. This is advantageous because it eliminates the need for any excess user management, as long as LDAP groups and containers are maintained.

Feeds and Feed Import

Feeds and Feed Import enabled IT to take information from other Student Union sub-sites, such as menus and news items, and display them on the homepage. Feeds/Feeds Import also allows for the creation of custom functions, which pull in people from the greater OSU directory to the Student Union directory.

Project team: 
OSU Student Union Dining Homepage
OSU University Store Homepage
OSU Campus Life Homepage


aburrows’s picture

Stunning design and very slick, proud to see your using Drupal. Well done guys!

mherchel’s picture

Yeah, looks really good. Props to the designer too! :)

balu.pathuri’s picture

hi frnds help me out in making social network...

daltonparsons’s picture

Thank you for promoting the case study to 'Featured' and for the nice comments. It's a fun project and there is much more to come!

cayerdis’s picture

Love the osu is using Drupal congrats :)

OSU alumni

Zaini’s picture to build this Web using Drupal. can some one teach me. I was try to build an integrated site like this. But how to make it with drupal.
Very Nice.....

bhatmahesht’s picture

I browsed through your site and I found there are number of sites being setup using multisite. I see each site looks bit different in design and probably different in functionality too.

Any caching methods used for these sites?

Passionate about Drupal

oscar_arnulfo’s picture

Hi, congrats, this is an awesome site, i'm trying to customize, the design of the social icons for my personal website, how can i do it?

couturier’s picture

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms state in their terms of use that it is against their policies for web developers to change the icons for use on other websites. I know developers do this all the time, but if you want to honor the wishes of these social media services, leave the icons just the same as they provide them to you. I take screenshots and prepare the icons so I can serve them from my own site (not theirs) to save loading speed. You can see an example of how I have used original icons at Contact me if you would like me to send you my image files, which I am happy to do.

rakibtg’s picture

Impressive design.. well done

gajendra sharma’s picture

Great looking web site, excellent work......

lca7’s picture

Thanks for share, very informative and nice.

abhinav yadav’s picture

hello guys ckeditor is not working i m working on drupal 7.23 pls help

jeffha77’s picture

Very nice work. I really like the directory that was built, is there any documentation on how you achieved it?

shamio’s picture

The site looks very nice. I really loved it. But i think the design is not optimized well for search engines. I mean Google pagespeed of home page is "D" and its below 70% optimized. For example you could combine images using CSS sprites which could improve the Google pagespeed a lot.

marwen.blel’s picture

i like the block views slideshow, which module did you used to display those pager?

Comme Confucius, penseur et philosophe chinois a dit :" Choisissez un travail que vous aimez et vous n'aurez pas à travailler un seul jour de votre vie"

adamjsmith’s picture

It's a great website. Easy to navigate from one page to another. Excellent design.