University of Melbourne student organisations

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Melbourne University student organisations provide representation for students and a wide range of services. Currently, student services at the University of Melbourne are provided by the university-managed company, MU Student Union Limited. A separate body called the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSUi) is responsible for student representation. The University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association (GSA) plays a similar role for the University's postgraduate students.

Student Union Limited[edit]

MU Student Union Limited is a company limited by guarantee that is wholly owned by the University of Melbourne that provides services to students at the University.

Student Union[edit]

Union House in the Parkville Campus

The University of Melbourne Student Union Inc. is an incorporated association of students at Melbourne University, Australia. UMSU is the successor to the Melbourne University Student Union for student representation.

UMSU is a separate body from the MU Student Union Limited, which is governed by a board with the assistance of a secretary and administered day-to-day by a chief executive officer.[1] The board consists of a majority of university appointments, with some elected student representation.


There is a long history of student activities at the University of Melbourne. Particularly noteworthy is Union House Theatre, established in 1969,[2] out of which a large number of notable Australian celebrities have emerged, such as Cate Blanchett, Barry Humphries and Malcolm Livingstone; the Union Band Comp, which has kick-started the careers of several well-known Australian bands; and an annual comedy review which produced the Working Dog crew. Several Members of Parliament were active within MUSU, including Sir Robert Menzies (former Australian Prime Minister), Lindsay Tanner (Member for Melbourne) and Sophie Mirabella (Member for Indi).


The student union has been funded by compulsory fees since 1911, with the fees going towards student services, along the Cambridge and Oxford unions model. Since changes to the Federal Higher Education Act in 2003–04, amenities and services fees collected by Melbourne University have been changed at a rate of $49 per subject. Full-time students generally in 2006 were required to pay $392 or around five weeks in rent in shared accommodation.

In 2005, around three-quarters of the student union's funds were directed to the cost of employing staff. Some of these staff are employed to operate the Rowden White Library, the Computing Centre, the Student Union Advisory Service; subsidised legal, health and dental services; a campus information centre; and common areas in Union House. The remaining money went to clubs and societies, entertainment, and student grants for cultural and artistic events.

Of the $12 million budget of the student union, somewhat less than $1 million goes towards the funding of Union Departments, which includes funding Farrago, the Women's Department and the Queer Department. In 2005, this also includes funds set aside for possible payment for NUS affiliation fees.


First published in 1925, Farrago is the University of Melbourne student newspaper.

Debating society[edit]

The Melbourne University Debating Society is one of Victoria's oldest student organisations, founded in 1876.[3] MUDS holds weekly debating competitions, as well as larger annual invitational competitions for other universities in the lead-up to the World Universities Debating Championships, and the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships. Historically, the University of Melbourne has been very successful, hosting the 1993 World Universities Debating Championship, and making it to the Grand Final of the 2003 WUDC. Additionally, MUDS were semi-finalists in the 2010, 2013 and 2014 Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships. The Society also hosts Public Debates, and is one of the largest student groups on campus.

Faculty clubs[edit]

There are six notable faculty clubs at the University of Melbourne: The Melbourne Arts Students' Society,[4] The Science Students' Society,[5] The Engineering Students' Club,[6] The Commerce Students' Society, The Biomedicine Students' Society and [7] The Environments Students' Society (ENVi).[8] All clubs run events throughout the year aimed at integrating new students into university life, running social activities and liaising between the faculties and the current students to enable and encourage their studies and enable opportunities for future employment.

Political clubs[edit]

Students Protest Against Education Cuts. University of Melbourme Parkville, September, 2013

Political clubs in 2012 include Liberals, ALP (Labor Left), Labor (Labor Right), Greens, Socialist Alternative and Solidarity, as well as clubs representing Amnesty International and the Political Interest Society.

A number of activist campaign groups are affiliated to the student union, including the Campus Refugee Rights Club and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.[9]

Theatre clubs[edit]

The main theatre group on campus is the Union House Theatre. College theatre groups include the Trinity College Drama Club, founded in 1879. More recently formed theatre groups include the Melbourne University Absurdist Theatre Society (MUATS), the University of Melbourne Music Theatre Association (UMMTA), the Throwback Players and the Union Players. Faculty theatre clubs include the Law and Medical Revues. Theatre clubs from culturally diverse backgrounds include Chinese and Sri Lankan theatre groups.

MUATS was formed in 2004, the Absurdist Theatre Society put on productions of Six on the Beach and 24 Hour Theatre Experience in 2005, and Fando y Lis in 2006.

TentPEG Productions performed 5/27 Pandora Lane in 2005 as the University of Melbourne Original Theatre Society. TentPeg has produced Hedda Gabler in September 2006, featuring Julia Harari and 'Art' in August 2007.

Formed in 2005, the Throwback Players performed originally written plays Freshers in April 2005 and Good Mourning in August 2005. Anna Jennings-Edquist directed the Throwback Players' production of Heat in May 2006. In May 2008, Throwback performed Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

UMMTA was established in 2002[10] and performed productions of The Boy Friend (Oct 2002), Dance with the Devil (June 2003), Merilly We Roll Along (Oct 2003), Pirates of Penzance (Apr 2004) and The Threepenny Opera (Oct 2004). In 2005 UMMTA performed Divorce Me, Darling! in March and Jesus Christ Superstar in September. Recent productions include Cabaret (April 2006), Do or Die (Oct 2006), The Pajama Game (Apr 2007), Fame (Oct 2007) and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown in April 2008.

Four Letter Word theatre (FLW) was founded in 2010[11] by Sara Tabitha Catchpole, Catchpole formed the company, producing David Hare’s The Blue Room, which she directed. Four Letter Word Theatre continued to produce the works of the late 1980s/1990s Western In-Yer-Face Theatre movement including Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love, Patrick Marber’s Closer and Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. Four Letter Word Theatre has since produced its first musical, NINE in late 2011.

Sports association[edit]

Melbourne University Sports Association provides sporting facilities and funding for sporting clubs at the University. These facilities include a gymnasium, swimming pool, ski lodge, group fitness and team sport venues. Membership is open to graduates, University staff and to students at discounted rates. Its mission statement is "to enrich the Melbourne Experience through outstanding sport and recreation programs and facilities." After Voluntary Student Unionism was introduced, MUSA began charging fees for the use of basketball courts and hockey fields.[citation needed]

The Association also awards Blues and Half-Blues for significant sporting achievement.

Graduate student association[edit]

The Graduate Student Association represents postgraduate students at the University of Melbourne. GSA has over 23,000 members including all those engaged in studying for graduate diplomas, postgrad diplomas, master's degrees and doctorates.[12] GSA is an advocacy, representation and lobbying organisation. It is based in the 1888 Building at the University.

GSA is governed by a council of 15 students, elected by the postgraduate student body. GSA is an incorporated association, fully independent from the University, the School of Graduate Studies, from the University of Melbourne Student Union and Melbourne University Student Ltd..

Clubs affiliated with larger networks[edit]

Melbourne University has local chapters of AIESEC, SIFE, FMAA, Robogals, Melbourne University Young Engineers (Engineers Australia student chapter) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology. The international student organisation Robogals was founded at the University of Melbourne,[13] but now has 15 chapters across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands.


  1. ^ "The Board of MU Student Union". MU Student Union. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "About Union House Theatre". MU Student Union. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "Melbourne University Debating Society: About Us". Melbourne University Debating Society. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Homepage". The University of Melbourne Arts Students' Society. 
  5. ^ "Home". The University of Melbourne Science Students' Society. 
  6. ^ "Home". The University of Melbourne Engineering Students' Club. 
  7. ^ "Home". The University of Melbourne Biomedicine Students' Society. 
  8. ^ "Home". The University of Melbourne Environments Student Society. 
  9. ^ "Articles tagged with politics". MU Student Union Online. 2012. 
  10. ^ "About Us". University of Melbourne Music Theatre Association. 
  11. ^ "Home". Four Letter Word Theatre. 
  12. ^ "About Graduate Student Association". Graduate Student Association. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Robogals: History". Robogals. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 

External links[edit]