The Top 20 UK Students Unions 2018 Awards
When it comes to choosing a university there are a number of factors that you have to take into account.
Aside from the universities reputation itself, there’s the course quality, facilities, campus, nightlife and much more!
But one aspect of Uni life that often gets overlooked is the quality of your Students’ Union…
A great Students’ Union will:
- Support you on numerous aspects of your university experience such as personal, financial or course related issues
- Give you a voice and help you organise campaigns and good causes
- Host a multitude of inclusive events and societies that will allow you to meet likeminded people regardless of your interests and beliefs
- Put on a great night out!
So wouldn’t it be great if there was a list of the best Students’ Unions ranked from 1-20 as voted for by students themselves?
…well that’s exactly what we’ve done…
How were the top 20 Students’ Unions selected?
The list was compiled by current students and graduates rating their own SU only and none of our opinions have gone into forming this top 20!
A staggering 7,849 students filled out the university review form over the past year and we whittled down the results to the 20 best in class Student’ Unions in the UK.
This list has been put together to showcase the best Unions in the UK right now and explore what makes them so popular.
Check it out below:
Loughborough is definitely known for its student union, which is one of the best by far.
Loughborough University's Student Union is completely unique amongst UK universities as it's entirely owned by the students themselves! Perhaps this is why it's claimed top spot in our list? The incredible SU is located in the North-Eastern corner of the campus, and consists of two HUGE floors. Managed on a day-to-day basis by the Executive, Union Affairs Committee, Student Forum and its Board of Trustees, Loughborough SU boasts an awesome array of shops and services in the day as well as great nights out with a variety of different music nights in the several floors they have available. Brilliantly well run, the Students Union is famed for its range of events throughout the year, as well as representing minority groups (LBGTQ+ community and minority ethnic groups).
The University of Sheffield
The student union facilities are great with well organised club nights as well as shops and sober activities too.
Sheffield Student's Union has been voted the No 1 Students' Union in the UK for the past ten years (Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2009–2018). It exists to provide representation, support, entertainment, services and activities for students studying at the University of Sheffield. Students can take a break from their studies, and choose from a wide range of activities and sports on offer, including over 400 societies and sports clubs. If you’re looking for great cafes, bars and nights out then our £20 million Students' Union is a great place to start. There's also plenty of on-campus support from the Student Advice Centre, and students are represented on important matters to the university and beyond by a team of elected officers.
University of Dundee
The Union is also amazing in the sense it provides everything you need in one place
Dundee University Students Association is the legal and charitable organisation for matriculated students, aiming to promote and represent their interests. The Association provides social, recreational, advice and support services to all members irrespective of age, gender, background or beliefs. DUSA The Union is constantly holding events, whether that's nightlife or daytime activities, there's certainly something for everyone. With everything you could need in one place, there's no doubt as to why the DUSA has made it onto our list. The students clearly love it!
University of Leeds
The campus was amazing. The student union was so involving.
"Leeds is a hugely popular student city and the SU at the Uni of Leeds is no different. The students’ union employs a lot of students giving them a chance to make some spare cash, learn some skills and provide the SU with a student perspective. With several clubs and a bar in the downstairs area, as well as a shop, vending machines, cash machines, places to eat and much more, it's a great leisure area in the daytime. Not only that, they have over 300 clubs and societies for students to get involved with. Perfect for making friends! With great facilities and events constantly running through term time, you'll have a whale of a time! Don't miss the famous club night at Fruity ;)"
The university has great facilities, in particular the Students’ Union which houses some quick bites as well as The Taf, the local student pub!
Cardiff University's modern Students’ Union (CUSU) offers a diverse and inclusive array of activities and services for students of all ages, abilities and interests as well as being the voice of students, helping them campaign about important issues. From advice, training, skills development and volunteering opportunities to employment and personal development, CUSU also hosts 200+ student societies and 60+ sports clubs with over 10,000 members. At the Students’ Union you can also grab a quick bite to eat or a little drink at The Taf, the local student pub whilst you catch the big game - whether that may be Rugby or Football! Students have also said that Students’ Union nights out are better than in town. No wonder it's made the top 20!
University of Bath
Nights out at the SU are great and there are so many clubs and societies that there is something for everyone.
Set in the rolling countryside of southwest England, the University of Bath's massive Student Union is famed for its events, nightlife, support and campaigning. There really is something for everyone! Events vary from day trips out to local attractions, film festivals and volunteering to cultural events, hall events and live sports and there's a wide range of active clubs and societies available. The SU bar has deals every night and is very affordable with a number of deals available each night of the week. Support comes in the form of academic (help with your work), housing (all accommodation needs) and personal issues (mental or physical). You'll be well looked after here! Your voice will always be heard at The SU, Bath. There's plenty of help with campaigning and you'll get plenty of support with campaigns that are close to your heart.
University of Reading
Student union is fab so much fun and so cheap.
Reading University Students Union is the hub of the university and they arrange an array of awesome events throughout the term including freshers, summer and graduation balls as well as regular weeknight slots such as Comedy Night, Candy Club and Rough Cuts. It has everything you could desire, from the legendary bagel man to 3Sixty - the biggest capacity nightclub in reading, to a ton of super societies. Whether it's a fruit and vegetable sale on a Thursday or a bakery sale the union has something for everyone and makes the campus feel like a home! Asides from all the fun and games, you can get academic advice, housing advice, welfare, money, drug & alcohol advice and just about anything you need to make your university life that much better.
University of St Andrews
St. Andrews is a great choice. Not to mention the multi million pound refurbished students union!
St. Andrews is a small but idyllic town in North East Fife. Not only is it home to Scotland's very first university, it also hosts the university's completely refurbished, multi-million pound Students' Union which can challenge any of its Scottish rivals on this list. With a lovely coffee shop supporting Fairtrade products and local suppliers, a cafe serving homemade food, multiple bars, multi-functional rooms and even two theatres and its own club venue, there's plenty to do in at all times of the day. There's little wonder why St Andrews' Students' Association has made this list when you simply take a look at the extensive list of societies available to join - over 160!! From A Cappella Soc, to Quidditch Soc, Wildlife Soc to Scottish societies, there really is something for everyone!
Nottingham Trent University (NTU)
The students union offered plenty of help with both personal and academic issues and are tailored to each individual case.
Award-winning Nottingham Trent Students’ Union (NTSU)’s has a lot to offer students at Nottingham Trent University. Their buildings feature everything from a 3000 capacity night club to a 30ft climbing wall and they have one of the most diverse entertainments calendars in the country, featuring everything from popular club nights, live comedy and music to day trips, pub quizzes and end of term celebrations. NTSU has more than 110 societies you can join as well as an impressive volunteering programme and other opportunities designed to help students meet new people and develop their skills. It is great for representation and support too. Their Information and Advice Service offers tailored guidance on everything from money matters to mental health. Visit www.trentstudents.org for more information.
University of Plymouth
The student union is really good. We have lots of clubs and societies
Head over to the sunny South-West of England and you'll find the University of Plymouth and it's super Students Union. Catering at UPSU is top notch and be sure to check out the local delicacy at the Pasty Shed! As well as some of the amazing activities and surreal societies on offer from Ultimate Frisbee to Pokemon Training, the Student Union at Plymouth allows you to get involved with campaigning and volunteering with causes close to your heart. Not only that, but one of the big reasons the UPSU has made this prestigious list is due to the unrivalled level of advice they offer, from Academic Housing advice to Personal help & Wellbeing.
Edge Hill University
Edge Hill has a good student’s union where you can go for support
With a fabulous SU Bar selling possibly the best pizzas ever, a huge veggie, vegan and halal snack range in the SU Shop and an actual SUBWAY, you'll never go hungry at Edge Hill SU. Asides from the standard awesome inclusive events and nights out that all the uni's in this list have as mandatory, Edge Hill SU does a great job of representing your voice and supporting you when times are hard. With a free, independent Advice Centre, a number of liberation committees, support with course issues, housing, homesickness and anything else on your mind, Edge Hill Students’ Union makes you feel right at home.
University of Glasgow
It has amazing student unions full of events where you can go and have a great time!
Unique in that it has not one but TWO Student Union's, the University of Glasgow in Scotland is a no brainer to make this list. With your free membership you get discounted entry to all nightlife events including comedy shows and gigs, free Wi-Fi and access to the two libraries. Not a bad deal! Not only that, but there's also an on-site cash machine, Billiards Hall, pool tables, games machines and jukebox. While you're there, why not sign up for one of over 110 clubs and societies ranging from the Creative Writing Society to Sailing club?
University of Birmingham
The campus is beautiful and the student union is the best of the universities I visited
The University of Birmingham's Student Union, or Guild of Students as it's known, is based slightly out of the city on the uni campus. As the second city, it goes without saying that nightlife, shopping and emnities in Birmingham are great but what about the SU itself which is much closer and easier to get to? Well it's in this list so you know it's amazing! From events and gigs to a more chilled out bar and street kitchen, it has it all! Birmingham Student Union also sets up a ton of fairs and events in the first few weeks so people can settle in. Lovely! Add to the list the wealth of careers guidance and help available to you and it makes The Uni of Birmingham Students Union one of the best.
University of Surrey
The Students Union put on a lot of great events throughout the year, so social life is fantastic.
Take a trip to South-East England if a stunning Students Union is what you're after. The University of Surrey Students’ Union is a completely free to run student-run organisation which provides support, opportunities, advice and campaigns for students’ best interests. USSU is home to Rubix (the main nightclub which holds several student nights and events and can hold up to 1,500 students!), Hari's Student Bar, The Basement (an intimate, smaller venue), The Front Room (student social space) and Young's Kitchen (a beautiful restaurant).
University of Leicester
Student Union area is a great place for lunch and socialising, has a great atmosphere.
"Another East Midlands university to make this list, University of Leicester Students' Union is the only UK university with an O2 Academy. So if music gigs are your thing, Leicester may be for you as there no end to the big names that have played there in recent years from Chase & Status, Primal Scream and Bastille to The Cribs, Blossoms and Professor Green. It's not all about the music and nightlife at Leicester however, as an active and inclusive Union with a powerful student-led voice, you can also get involved with over 250 student groups, volunteering, training, sport, a free confidential Advice Service that provides academic and housing support and much more.”
The SU has places to eat and grab a drink, it is a really chilled out environment
You can’t miss Newcastle University’s Students’ Union (or NUSU to their students): There that huge red brick building with glass doors and the King’s Walk. Nestled away in the North East of England they’re one of the largest Students’ Unions on the list. So let’s start from the bottom and work our way up. ‘Level -2’ or ‘Venue’ is the go to place for all your entertainment and professional needs. Boasting an impressive concert space (hosting a variety of acts from George Ezra to Machinehead as well as their frequent club nights), meeting rooms, pool tables, dart boards and a 50 ft. island bar, what more could you want from a Students’ Union? Well at NUSU it just keeps getting better. Up to ‘Level -1’ and students can make the most of the banks as well as the best places to get food and drinks at ‘Luther’s bar’ and the numerous takeaway spots such as Subway and Dominoes, Yum! Making your way up to ‘Level 0’ and the reception with its impressive arched front entrance and imperial staircase. Here you can find the reception as well as The Union Shop and the Student Advice Centre. Levels 1 and 2 host numerous study spaces and a Starbucks on Level 2 to fuel those late night study sessions.
University of Portsmouth
The union made my first year amazing with both freshers, refreshers and basically the whole year round!
The University of Portsmouth Students’ Union (UPSU) is an independent charity that listens and acts on the student voice to enrich your university experience. The Union is an inclusive organisation, led by students, and offers a range of support services, development opportunities and represents student needs throughout the University and in the community. The Union Building is at the heart of campus and is a great place to meet friends, grab a bite to eat and make use of a range of student-friendly study and social spaces. There are over 150 student-led societies and sport clubs that you can join. The Union’s Advice Service is also on hand to offer confidential and impartial support all year round.
University of Exeter
The student union organise brilliant events and everyone at the university is friendly.
The University of Exeter's Student Union, or Student's Guild, as it's known, is a new & spacious space that hosts a wide range of great events and helpful advice sessions for all students. There's 200+ societies to choose from including Baking, Longboarding, Dancing & Theatre to name but a few. Make a change by getting involved with elections, campaigning or volunteering or chill out in the Ram Bar (Pub), Comida (Breakfast Bar) or Grove Diner (restaurant). The Exeter SU has something for everyone!
University of Nottingham
The students union is great and doesn't focus solely on nights out as I know many unis do
The University of Nottingham Students' Union (UoNSU) is a student-led community 34,000 strong, and completely independent from the University. It encourages all students to get involved in activities and opportunities, find the support they need, and make the changes that are important to them. The SU is very diverse; there are more than 200 societies, over 70 sports clubs and 100s of volunteering opportunities! It’s also home to a student newspaper, TV and radio station, and theatre. As well as this, there’s a dedicated Advice team, and the SU represents students on their courses, in their accommodation and during their time at University. The SU also runs a café, bar and shops, and all profits go back into supporting the student experience.
University of Hull
The facilities here are great and the union has a vast range of societies.
The University of Hull, in Kingston upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire has over 100+ student societies and also runs a volunteering and charity hub. With around 50 sports clubs, an on-site nightclub as well as a number of bars and catering outlets, there's plenty to see, do and eat! The building is also home to a shop, a Waterstones book shop, advice centre, and the university-run careers service. Not only that, there's also a student newspaper, online television station and a student radio station!