University College London Union

Students' Union UCL
Institution University College London
Location Gordon Street, London
Established 1893
Affiliations Aldwych Group, National Union of Students

UCL's Students' Union (Students' Union UCL), founded in 1893, is one of the oldest students' unions in England, although postdating the Liverpool Guild of Students which formed a student representative council in 1892.[1][2] It was formed with the following objectives: "the promotion of social intercourse and of the means of recreation, physical and mental, of the students of University College, and the financial successes of students' clubs". UCL Union was the first of its kind as it was formed for both athletics clubs and social activities alike.

Since its formation, the Union has taken on responsibility for many aspects of student life. Events for example were seen as a key element hence the establishment of an Ents Committee. A student magazine known as the Gazette was formed a few years later and the Somers Town sports venue was also acquired.

Students' Union UCL is affiliated to the National Union of Students.


Students' Union UCL runs over 250 clubs and societies for its members. It runs commercial services including 3 bars, 4 cafés, two shops and a fitness centre. UCL students, through the Union have nine weeks free access to put on student shows and events in the UCL-owned professionally run Bloomsbury Theatre.

The Union's sports clubs have access to several different venues including Astor College Gym, Bloomsbury Fitness, the Somers Town Sports Centre and the 100-acre (0.40 km2) Shenley Sports grounds, which Watford Football Club rent for training purposes. Arsenal F. C. rented it as training grounds until 1998. In 1999 they opened the purpose built Arsenal Training Centre on a neighbouring 143 acres. On the other side is the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre.[3]

Students' Union UCL provides support to students through Jobshop and the Rights & Advice Centre, and has a highly active Volunteering Services Unit, providing volunteering opportunities for over 1400 students a year.

As well as the magazine "Pi", the Union's media output includes the radio station Rare FM, the "alternative" magazine The Cheese Grater and a number of smaller publications.

Charity Status

Operation of the Union lies mainly with elected full-time officers called sabbatical officers and appointed staff. The UCL Union is a registered charity in UK law, a status which requires it to have a trustee board. The board is composed of the elected UCLU sabbatical officers (6), six elected student trustees, and five appointed external trustees. Trustees are charged with responsibility for controlling the charity's work, management and administration on behalf of its members.

Clubs and societies

UCL has numerous clubs and societies which include, sports, film, drama, martial arts, politics and degree-subjects.

The Union's Debating Society, founded in 1829 as the Literary and Philosophical Society,[4] is one of the oldest student debating society in the UK. The Union's Conservative Society, founded in 1908, has a claim to being the oldest student Conservative association in England.[5]

UCL Economics and Finance Society, founded in 1963, is one of the largest society at UCL. With over 2000 members, it regularly hosts nobel laureates, high-profile CEOs such as Anthony Jenkins, and other careers activities related to Finance, Business and Economics.[6]

The UCL Film & TV Society is one of the oldest in the country, it still has a dedicated studio space on campus and continues to both make and screen films; Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas met and developed some of their earliest films at the society.[7] Each year the Union's Music Society stages an opera, despite its lack of a music department. UCOpera receives considerable national press coverage.

The Model United Nations Society, Drama Society and other cultural and religious societies including the Latin American Society also became part of the Union in the 1990's.

The Union has also become a platform for launching significant environmental initiatives. Informal, student-led groups such as the UCL Conservation Group [8]- founded by Masters students Kesella Mali Scott-Somme and Jane Boland - have gained an affiliated status with the Students Union with an objective to promote awareness of pressing local and global conservation issues and to get involved in all sorts of practical activities. Similarly, the UCL Climate Action Society (CAS) [9], founded by first year student Aliza Ayaz, focuses on pursuing environmental interests on campus and beyond in line with Goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. The initiative is a prime example of the transition of world class UK universities to sustainable operation.

The Union's Clubs and Societies attract students from all academic disciplines with different interests to look forward to events, socials, volunteering opportunities, internships, research skills sessions, careers events, as well as our discussion forums.


  1. "Landmarks". University College London. Archived from the original on 30 January 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  2. "History of the Guild". Liverpool Guild of Students. Archived from the original on 21 June 2014.
  3. "The UCL Sports Ground". Google Maps. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  4. "University College, London: Guild of Graduates Minute Book". UCL Archives. UCL Library Services. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  6. "About - UCLU EFS". Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  7. Tempest, Matthew (2011-02-24). "I was there at the Inception of Christopher Nolan's film career". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-13.
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