A Students’ Union (often shortened to SU) is an independent, democratic organisation run by students that is dedicated to the representation and support of students at university. Sometimes called a Students’ Guild or Students’ Association, every university has a Students’ Union that is working hard to create the best student experience possible and making sure the voices of the whole student body are heard when decisions are being made by the university.

Students’ Unions are run by student presidents and officers (just like you!) who are elected by students in a university wide democratic vote.  If you’ve got an idea of how something at your university could be improved, you can go to your student reps and make real change happen. There are also student academic reps who represent the students on each course and make sure you’re getting the best education possible from your university.

Students’ Unions normally have designated buildings on campus which act as hubs for student life at university. Here you will find bars, pubs, shops, clubs and support services all run by students, for students!

Students’ Unions often put on events for students such as club nights, pub quizzes, debates, talks and balls. They also provide lots of support services and can help you find a student house, manage your money, find a local charity to volunteer for or find a job during or after your time at university.

If you have a problem when you’re at university that your personal tutor or lecturers can’t help you with, you can reach out to your SU for help. Whether that’s to do with your studies or a personal problem, your Students’ Union can support you and point you in the right direction.

Take a look at The Student’s Union at UWE’s website to see just how much Students’ Unions have got to offer!



A society is a student-run club or group dedicated to a particular interest or activity that you can join when you are at university. They can be anything from a sports team or a volunteering project to groups based around specific hobbies, interests and course subjects.

Going to university is about much more than just earning a degree! It’s about trying new things, learning new skills and meeting new people. Joining a society can be a great way to:

  • Meet like minded people who share your interests and make friends outside of your course and accommodation
  • Learn new skills like radio presenting, table tennis, debating, climbing and more!
  • Try exciting new things at discounted prices. Ever fancied skydiving? Skiing? Now is your time!
  • Have the chance to network with employers and discover exciting career opportunities
  • Develop your leadership skills with a committee position! (psst… a committee is a group of students who run a society)

From Conspiracy Theory Society to Curry Appreciation Society and Football to French, the University of Bristol’s Students’ Union has more than 350 student groups made up of sports clubs, societies, support networks and volunteering projects. Why not take a look and see if any of Bristol SU’s groups catch your eye?

Wondering which of their 350+ student groups is right for you? Use their ‘Student Groups Finder’ to take a short quiz to find societies that you may be interested in!

Can’t find a society you’d like to join? No problem! At university you can start your own society for ANYTHING you like… and we mean anything! All you need is a good idea and support from around 10 other students who are interested in joining your group. You can then get funding and support from your Students’ Union to put on your own activities and events.