Adelaide University Union

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Adelaide University Union Building 1930

The Adelaide University Union (the Union or AUU) was founded in 1895. The Union currently funds two affiliated bodies. These are the Student Representative Council (SRC) and Student Care Inc. In 2008 the Union Board disaffiliated the now defunct Students' Association of the University of Adelaide (SAUA), which was replaced by the SRC.

After the introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism, the Union was unable to raise sufficient funds itself through student union fees. This was addressed in early 2008, when the University of Adelaide signed a Funding Agreement to fund the Union for the next ten years[1] in return for the Union relinquishing all its commercial operations to the University. In 2009, the Adelaide University Sports Association, previously an affiliate of the Union, began the process of disaffiliation from the Union, having secured a separate funding agreement with the University.[2]

Formal relationship with the University of Adelaide[edit]

As of 2008, the Union relies on the University of Adelaide for the majority of its funding. This is a result of a funding agreement with the University.[3]

The ultimate existence of the Union, and its relationship with the university, is governed by the University of Adelaide Act 1971. This Act of the South Australian Parliament gives the University of Adelaide Council certain powers over the Union. The Union cannot alter its constitution or rules, or charge a membership fee, without the agreement of University Council. Furthermore, the Union is bound to provide University Council with its financial reports and budget for the coming calendar year prior to 1 December.[4]

Student governance[edit]

The Union is governed by a board of management. The board consists of 10 ordinary members, who are not also permanent staff of the Union, five of whom are elected annually on two year terms by the students of the University. The Board then elects several of its members to positions within the Union, such as Union President, Vice President, Student Media Committee Chair and Clubs Committee Chair.[5] Elections are held annually in September, with the Board-elect and officer bearers taking their positions on 1 December.

Notable past presidents include former South Australian Premier John Bannon, former South Australia Attorney-General Chris Sumner, Australia's first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard (1981–1982)[6][7] and former South Australian Supreme Court Judges Elliott Johnston and Samuel Jacobs. The current Union President is Amelia Briggs.

Services and Activities[edit]

The Union provides a range of activities as well as support services for Adelaide University students. This includes welfare and academic support services provided by Student Care Inc. The Union also provides Employment and Volunteering Services, support to over 130 student-run Clubs and Societies, and regular social events. The Union also continues to publish the student newspaper On Dit, the third oldest student newspaper in Australia,[8] as well as the longest-running Student Radio in the country, broadcasting six hours a week on Radio Adelaide.[9]


The Union coordinates part of the Adelaide University O'Week.[10] O'Week is the week before lectures begin. During O'Week the Union coordinates a variety of events centering on activities, free stuff, entertainment, competitions and a huge area for clubs on the lawns near the Union House and the Braggs building.

Impact of VSU[edit]

The post-Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) period contained significant financial difficulties for the Union. Previously funded by compulsory fees paid by all students, the introduction of voluntary unionism resulted in a sharp drop in income for the Union. This resulted in grave financial difficulties. In late 2007 the Union handed control of Union House and the vast majority of the Union's commercial services to the University of Adelaide.[11] This was in return for the University agreeing to fund the Union for a period of ten years. The University of Adelaide paid $1.2 million to the Union in the first year of this funding agreement, with future funding to be determined on a year-to-year basis. This gives the University final control over the size of the Union budget in any given year.
The Union retains ownership of Unibooks, which is a not-for-profit entity and does not provide dividends to the Union.
Financial membership, the price of which was slashed to $20 in 2008, has been slowly recovering since the post-VSU drop.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "University of Adelaide and Adelaide University Union make funding deal". The Advertiser. 23 June 2008. 
  2. ^ Sports Association Constitution proposed Aug 2009. No contains reference to Adelaide University Union
  3. ^ Adelaide University Union#Impact of VSU
  4. ^ I;field=data;id=228;m=view University of Adelaide Act 1971
  5. ^
  6. ^ Cervini, Erica (16 July 2010). "Third Degree: Rise of the campus pollies". Melbourne: The Age. 
  7. ^ Crook, Andrew (1 October 2010). "Crikey List: which MPs were involved in student politics?". Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ UniBar set for an upgrade in 2008

External links[edit]