Edinburgh University Students’ Association
With over 550 staff and an annual turnover of £13million, Edinburgh University Students’ Association is one of the largest in the UK. The Students’ Association provides a range of services and opportunities for the University of Edinburgh’s 40,000 students.
The Students’ Association is led by five student Sabbatical Officers, elected each year by their peers. They ensure that the student voice is heard in the University and beyond. They are Trustees of the Students’ Association and are answerable to Student Council (which any student can attend).
The Sabbatical Officers are joined by other elected students to undertake the Students’ Associations representative work, including: five elected Liberation Officers (BME, LGBT+, Trans & Non-binary, Women’s and Disability Officers), an Undergraduate and Postgraduate Rep from each of the University’s 22 Schools, and seven Section Reps (Mature, Postgraduate Taught, Postgraduate Research, International, Parent and Carers Reps). Self-nominated Programme Reps undertake representation of their constituents at each University Programme/Course.
In addition to Representation work, their non-commercial member services also include:
- Student Societies and Volunteering – over 300 student-led societies supported and partnerships with hundreds of charities, enabling thousands of student volunteer hours.
- The Advice Place – a free, professional, impartial advice service available to all students.
- Peer Learning & Support – a peer-led study and buddy scheme, with over 700 student leaders and 8,000 attendees across the University.
- Global Students – Cultural and language events and connections.
- Awareness and behavioural change campaigns – for example on the topics of anti-sexual harassment and mental health and Wellbeing and linked to each of the five Liberation Officer’s work.
The Students’ Association delivers a large amount of commercial activity for its members and other customer groups. This includes five retail outlets, multiple catering and cafés, 13 or so licensed trade outlets and a large and varied entertainment programme in its club, theatre and live music venues. A function and events offering supports the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the International Jazz & Blues Festival, and Edinburgh International Science Festival, and every August, large operations are delivered across three sites during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Operating across four distinct venues, the Students’ Association’s estate includes:
The oldest purpose built student union in the world, Teviot Row House opened its doors in 1889. Housing six distinct bars, five catering outlets, a live music venue and meeting and events spaces, the venue plays host to art exhibitions, sports screenings, quiz and band nights, balls, ceremonies and even weddings; which are planned by our catering company, Honours.
The Pleasance recently underwent significant redevelopment, transforming it into a dynamic centre for student activities containing meeting areas, TV and radio production spaces, dance studios, and a multi-purpose performance space. A bar and catering offering exists on site, and Students’ Association events are programmed in the performance spaces throughout the year.
Home to the Students’ Association’s main administrative offices, a retail outlet, coffee shop, bar, catering offering, and two tenant companies, Potterrow has an attic nightclub which, each Saturday, enables the entire venue to transform into a 1,500 capacity club.
Providing Association facilities for some 10,000 science and engineering students based on the King’s Buildings Campus, King’s Building House has a gym, bar, catering and retail offering. The venue also houses badminton and squash courts and meeting facilities.
In addition to the operations listed above, the Students’ Association runs bar and catering facilities within the clubhouse of the University’s Sport & Exercise playing fields at Peffermill, retail at the University’s Pollock Halls Accommodation and in DHT on George Square, along with other retail and catering operations across the King’s Buildings Campus.
Edinburgh is a vibrant capital city which is also the leading festival city in the world. Working with production companies Gilded Balloon and Pleasance Theatre Trust, three of the Students’ Association’s venues – Teviot Row House, The Pleasance and Potterrow – form a city centre hub of Fringe Festival activity during the month of August each year. Significant bar, catering and retail operations during this time (both in the venues and in temporary outlet units) provide vital income for the Students’ Association, which is an independent charity. All income generated by the Students’ Association is used to provide free advice, support, activities and representation services for students.
The Students’ Association is currently embarking on its Strategic Plan 2019-25 which outlines its ambition, priorities and principles which will enable it to successfully achieve the ambitious targets it has set itself for the coming six years.