During your first days at university, you will probably come across the Students’ Union either because they are holding a welcome even or some sort of fresher’s fair or because the registration process takes place in its building. As the concept is rather new to international students, below you can find some more details about what the Students’ Union stands for and what purpose it has.
The Students’ Union is a student organisation present in many higher education institutions. In most of the cases, it has its own building within the university campus and its own management, apolitical and not influenced by the university’s management. It is often the case that the Students’ Union’s Building has its own concert hall, bar, cafeteria and student shop, and this aspect has been carried along for generations, when the Students’ Union was considered to be the social hub of the campus and THE PLACE to go for students.
Firstly, most Students’ Unions are members of NUS, which stands for National Union of Students. NUS may sound familiar to you since, as a student, you are entitled to a NUS card which offers you discounts on many purchases (be it food or apparel) both in stores and online.
Secondly, your union probably runs a sports club you love the most and many others too. Therefore, it offers you a great opportunity to try any new sport or one you have not played for some years. Moreover, you get to make friends and there are also all sorts of positions of responsibilities that these sports are running. This means that you can develop your leadership skills while you are having fun.
Thirdly, if you have a hobby, other than sports as it has already been mentioned above, your union can represent the link to other people who share the same hobby usually through an existing society. If you by any chance do not find a society to you liking, that you could apply for the right to form a new society based on one of your hobbies.
Furthermore, if you are running into any kind of trouble whilst at university,
not only will your students’ Union be able to offer advice, or at least direct you to the best place to receive advice, but they will also be able to find ways of addressing the problem through lobbying or campaigning on your behalf. Issues can include even problems with accommodation in university halls, poor course feedback or infrequent bus routes.
Last but no least, whether it be running a club or society, volunteering in the community or getting elected to a union committee to lead campaigns on issues that affect you and your fellow students, your Students’ Union is waiting.