In 2008 the Union decided that ‘making life better for students’ should be its mission statement. But how did it get there? Find out in this blog post as we celebrate #LoveSUs Day!
UCLan Students’ Union began life as the as Harris Students’ Association in 1957, and was renamed the Harris Students’ Union in 1961. Another change of name was in 1973, when it was renamed as the Preston Polytechnic Students’ Union.
The Students’ Union originally resided in the Foster Building. However, a committee for the Academic Board recommended in 1970 that the Union needed a purpose built building, as the accommodations at Foster were too cramped.
Planning for such a building were approved in 1975. It took another two years to finish the Students’ Union Building at Fylde Road. Improvements were then made in the 1990s and in 2005.
In 2005 work on another building on Brook Street began, a venue for concerts and club nights called 53 Degrees. Over the years it attracted big names to the stage, such as Ellie Goulding, Johnny Marr, Orbital, The Vaccines and The Streets to name but a few.
Over the years the Students’ Union has helped to support the needs of many students. In 1979, the Students’ Union campaigned for better nursery provisions and threatened the then Polytechnic with a boycott and strike following student issues over lack of and poor quality accommodation and rent prices.
The Students’ Union actively fought for improved gender equality and equal opportunities within the Polytechnic. In 1987, the Students’s Union President at the time voiced her anger during a meeting of the Equal Opportunities Committee where she was the only female involved during a recruitment process for two new members of the academic board. In a report to the executive meeting at the Students’ Union she said:
“I do not look forward to the prospect of an all male Directorate, it can only serve to hint at hypocrisy within this institution”
The issues over gender continued until the start of the 90s when significant advances were made to improve equality, including the introduction of a Women’s Officer in 1991.
In 1986 the Students’ Union supported a group of special needs students, whose aim it was to convince the Academic Board to accept students with special needs from all disabilities. This was successful, and the main outcomes were that a Special Needs Advisor was appointed and budgets for special equipment was allocated.
Today, UCLan Students’ Union still campaigns for many issues such as rising tuition fees, refugees and gender neutral toilets. It continues to strive to make life for students better. For example, the Stressed Out Students’ (S.O.S) Campaign in 2015 that led to the introduction of a temporary ‘Puppy Room’ to help students to cope with the pressures of exams and essays!
Rex Pope and Ken Phillips, University of Central Lancashire: A History of the Development of the Institution since 1828 (University of Central Lancashire, 1995).
53 Degrees by night, image via https://www.nus.org.uk/en/students-unions/university-of-central-lancashire-students-union/.
Fylde Road in 1957 before the Students’ Union Building was started, image via Harris Museum & Art Gallery.
Students’ Union Building on Fylde Road, image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/uclan/2630135185.
UCLan’s Student Union Building in the 1990s, image via Harris Museum & Art Gallery.