University of Bristol Union

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Coordinates: 51°27′25″N 2°36′30″W / 51.4569°N 2.6084°W / 51.4569; -2.6084

Bristol SU
University of Bristol Union logo
Institution University of Bristol
Location Queen's Rd, Clifton, Bristol, England
Established 1908
Members c. 22,000
Affiliations National Union of Students, Aldwych Group, National Postgraduate Committee, British Universities & Colleges Sport
The union's main building, on Queen's Road in Clifton

Bristol SU is the students' union of the University of Bristol, England. It is among the oldest of the UK students' unions and was a founding member of the NUS.


Former union presidents have included the broadcaster, Sue Lawley, St Lucia's foreign minister and ambassador to the United Nations, George W. Odlum and Lembit Öpik[1] – Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Fire 2009[edit]

A fire in the Richmond building on 15 September 2009 caused its closure. Canoes and other water sporting equipment in a storage area in front of the building caught light and by 9am was sending "thick black smoke" along the road.[2] The building sustained some minor damage, in particular to the swimming pool windows. While most of the building was due to be closed for approximately two days, the swimming pool was closed until mid-December.[2][3]

Occupation 2010[edit]

For two days, starting 24 November 2010, a room of the building was occupied by students following the protests in Bristol on the same day. Among other things, the students claimed the union was failing to represent them on issues such as government funding for higher education, and rises to tuition fees. The union was also criticised for not holding an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to discuss these issues. The occupation was ended when the union agreed to call an EGM, which resulted in motions mandating the union to support students opposing tuition fees and cuts in funding to higher education.[4][5]

Refurbishment 2014–15[edit]

An extensive refurbishment of the union building took place in 2014–15. The building was reopened as 'the Richmond Building' in April 2015, and the union was rebranded from 'the University of Bristol Union (UBU)' to 'Bristol SU'.

Facilities and activities[edit]

Richmond Building[edit]

The union was originally housed in the grand Victoria Rooms on the corner of Queen's Road and Whiteladies Road.[6] Today this building houses the University of Bristol's music department. The Richmond Building: Home of the Students' Union stands on Queen's Road, Clifton.

The Richmond Building is one of the largest students' union buildings in Great Britain.[7] It houses the Anson Rooms gig venue; two bars; a cafe; the 200-seat Winston Theatre; Burst Radio; Photography Dark Rooms; Pottery Studio; Computer Rooms; Epigram (student newspaper) offices; various meeting rooms and society headquarters.

Elected officers[edit]

Bristol SU is run by a team of six officers who are elected by the student body every March.


Bristol SU currently offers around 220 societies and 50 sports clubs covering a wide range of activities. All societies and clubs are entirely student-run by their elected committees, and are supported by the union.


Bristol SU plays host to one of the largest and most active RAGs (Raise and Give) in the country. Last year it raised over £125,000 for local, national and international charities. Not only does Bristol RAG hold weekly street collections, but it also runs many fundraising events over the year, including Jailbreak (where students have 36 hours to get as far away from Bristol as possible without spending any money), a sponsored expedition to Kilimanjaro, and its now infamous BARMY Bar Crawl, which sees 1,500 students raise £7,500 in a single night.


Bristol SU has a strong reputation for community engagement and voluntary work. Bristol SU Volunteering has over 30 student run community projects and around 1,000 volunteers helping all over the city. In addition to running community projects, Bristol SU Volunteering also organises a number of events such as the Kid's Christmas Party, an Elderly Dinner Dance and Student Volunteering Week.

Bristol SU is actively engaged in improving its environmental impact and achieved a Gold NUS Green Impact Award in 2014. Students are able to get involved with green initiatives and sustainability through the Bristol SU Get Green programme. In 2014, the Bristol Big Give campaign; which encourages students to donate their waste when moving out for the summer, raised over £150,000 for local charities and prevented over 60 tonnes of recyclable waste from going to landfill.

The annual campaign is organised by the Bristol Student Community Partnership, a collaboration between the University of Bristol, Bristol SU, University of the West of England, University of the West of England Students' Union (UWESU), and Bristol City Council.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]