University College London Union

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University College London Union
UCL Union logo.png
Institution University College London
Location Gordon Street, London
Established 1893
Affiliations Aldwych Group, National Union of Students
The Union's building on Gordon Street

University College London Union (UCLU), 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.

UCL Union is affiliated to the National Union of Students.


UCL Union runs over 200 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]

UCLU 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.

UCLU president's medallion

Charity Status[edit]

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[edit]

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

The UCLU Debating Society, founded in 1828, is the third oldest student debating society in the UK after the Oxford and Cambridge Unions.

UCL Union Conservative Society, founded in 1908, is the oldest student Conservative association in England, if not the whole UK.[4]

UCL Economics and Finance Society, founded in 1963, is 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.[5]

Religious societies are prominent within the UCLU; The Islamic Society, Christian Union, and Jewish Society all have many members and participants.

The UCLU Film 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.[6] Each year UCLU Music Society stages an opera, despite its lack of a music department. UCOpera receives considerable national press coverage.


In 2007, UCL Union increased the amount of events they hosted in external venues by creating their "VODPOP" brand @ Turnmills and later followed by "Club Neon" @ Heaven. Both have now moved Venue with Vodpop successfully relaunching itself at Pacha after a brief stint at Scala, and Club Neon currently poised to move to an exciting new Venue after a one off fling at the Arches. The Union also makes extensive use of external clubs for one off events such as the Winter Ball, and has to date held events in Egg, Scala, Ministry of Sound, Heaven, Turnmills, Koko and Pacha among others.


The UCLU, in tandem with other student unions including the NUS, has repeatedly banned or attempted to ban speakers who do not align with the UCLU no-platform policy. The Kurdish Society's invitation for Macer Gifford to speak, a British soldier who fought on behalf of the Kurds against ISIS, was revoked.[7] In addition, UCLU's attempt to ban the UCL Friends of Israel Society's event with Hen Mazzig, a veteran of the IDF and pro-Israel speaker, was overturned by UCL.[8] The UCLU have also advocated BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) that targets Israel- the only country against whom the UCLU have condemned.


  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. ^
  5. ^ "About - UCLU EFS". Retrieved 2016-07-25. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]