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 currently embarking on its Strategic Plan 2019-25 which outlines the ambition, priorities and principles which will enable it to successfully achieve the ambitious targets it has set itself for the coming six years. 

Our ambition; “By 2025, we will be a high performing students’ union valued by our members, delivering outstanding support and services for a well-rounded time at University.”

The Association is led by five annually elected student Sabbatical Officers and the Trustee Board. The Officers ensure that the student voice is heard in the University and beyond. The Sabbatical Officers are members of the Trustee Board and are answerable to Student Council.

The staff team are led by the Chief Executive who reports into the Trustee Board and supported by the Senior Management Team to deliver services and activities.  The Commercial Services Director has oversight of the commercial and trading departments and responsible for delivering services and operations. 

The Sabbatical Officers are joined by other elected students to undertake the Students’ Associations representative work.  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 Sabbatical Officer’s work.

Commercial Services

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. 

Currently the function and events offering supports the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the International Jazz & Blues Festival, and Edinburgh International Science Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

Unlike any other Student Unions or Associations we operate the business all year round, with the business split into term time student trading and the Festival period in August which collectively generates £8.5 million of turnover.   

Although the Students’ Association is an independent charity and non-profit making.   All income generated through commercial services is recycled back into the student experience and provides vital income to provide free advice, support, activities, facilities and representation services for students.

Venues and Sites

The Students’ Association is one of the largest estates in the UK, Operating across four distinct venues.  The new roles and structure has been established to reflect the split nature of the business. 

The Students’ Association’s estate includes:

Teviot Row House

The oldest purpose built student union in the world, Teviot Row House opened its doors in 1889, it is the main hub of student life on campus centrally. Housing six distinct bars, three 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.   The venue also support society room bookings through the events team. 

The Pleasance

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.

Potterrow

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.  We are seeking to enhance our late night programme in this Venue. 

King’s Buildings House

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,.

Festival Fringe

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. The festival provides significant bar, catering and retail operations during this time (both in the venues and in temporary outlet units).  These generate over £3million with 26 Bars, 16 catering outlets and over 1.3 million visitors during this busy month.   

Retail

There are currently six retail outlets across the Estates at the University’s Pollock Halls Accommodation, Potterow, DHT on George Square, along with other retail and catering operations across the King’s Buildings Campus.

Staff Benefits

There are a number of staff benefits provided, staff discounts, flexible working policies, travel scheme.  

Strategic Plan

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.