What is a Students' Union? Who we are and what we can do for you

When you join the University of Plymouth not only are you enrolling as a student but you also become a member of the University of Plymouth Students’ Union and with that comes a wide range of benefits and opportunities that you have unlimited access to.

When people hear the phrase Students’ Union or SU what springs to mind for many is a bar and cheap pints. While we do have an award-winning venue, social space and bar to unwind in after a day of lectures – what we are and what we can offer you goes so much further than those four walls.

Most importantly, we are a student-led organisation - we are a Union of students. As a member, your SU belongs to you and every year you vote for four University of Plymouth students to become full-time Sabbatical Officers. These four representatives lead the organisation, speak on your behalf at high level meetings and work to implement changes that you want to see to improve your student experience.

Our main focus, and our reason for existing, is to support the wellbeing of every student studying with the University of Plymouth. We want to make sure you have a successful, fulfilling and rewarding time both at University and in the future. We do this through helping you: to be empowered, learn and grow; be socially fulfilled; feel more financially secure and know you are supported and cared for.

 

So how do we do this?

 


 

 

Empowerment

 

As an organisation that is led by you, the students, we work hard to ensure that you have the opportunities available to feel empowered and to make your voice heard. We support more than 800 elected part-time Student Representatives who listen to and collate your feedback to share with University staff to shape and improve your academic experience.

Collectively, we represent your views in University decisions, as well as local and national topics. We campaign for you on issues you care about, as well as providing opportunities for you to meet new people, develop your skills, campaign for change and try something new.

As your SU we also recognise the importance of developing skills outside your course curriculum to help you get ahead when your time at University comes to an end. That's why we offer free and discounted training opportunities on a range of topics that will help you in your future career. We're also passionate about developing the skills of our dedicated volunteers through training for club or society committee members, student representatives and our members of student staff.

 


 

 

Social Fulfillment

 

Starting University is effectively starting a new chapter of your life and this can be daunting - for many, starting University means moving away from home, adjusting to a new environment and/or preparing to find a new group of friends. If this has crossed your mind - you are not alone.

We work hard to build opportunities for you to meet new, like-minded people. We support 50+ different sports clubs and 100+ societies, each of which is its own individual family ready to welcome new members with open arms. If you currently have a particular passion or interest, check out the full list of clubs and societies on our website, find what's right for you and connect with those groups to find out more.

If you're undecided or don't want to commit to joining a group alongside your studies then you can try our Give it a Go programme, browse our volunteering opportunities - which can be tailored to fit around your studies, or consider joining one of our academic societies to meet other students from your course outside of the lecture hall.

Finally, our building located in the heart of campus offers you a social space to catch up with friends or grab a coffee, plus a busy events schedule throughout term time to keep you entertained.

 


 

 

Financial Security

 

There's no two ways about it; starting University is an amazing opportunity but it's also a financial (and personal) commitment. We want to ensure that you feel you're getting the experience that you deserve for the best possible value.

This year alone our independent Advice Centre has saved students hundreds of thousands of pounds by helping them to submit claims, access appropriate benefits and navigate through their Student Finance applications.

Furthermore, if you're looking to earn while you learn we employ over 500 members of student staff in a variety of roles from running our award-winning bar, preparing coffee in our cafe, serving customers in our shop or providing technical assistance at our events.

 


 

 

Support

 

Our student population is a diverse community of individuals, a collection of many different walks of life, each with passions and needs but brought together and connected by one institution. As such, we work to provide platforms and forums for you to tell us how you need us to support you. By being a part of the SU it gives you access to many different types of support, be that through your course mates, student groups or trained professionals.

There may be times during your studies that you need help, maybe things haven't gone to plan or you just need that extra bit of support or guidance. This is perfectly natural and we are on hand when you need us. As a member of your SU, you have free access to our confidential Advice Centre and our team of dedicated Advisors.

Your SU Advice Centre is completely independent from the University of Plymouth so you can be confident that the advice you receive will be impartial and will not be shared unless absolutely necessary as set out in our Privacy Statement. The team offers support on accommodation, financial, academic and wellbeing issues and will work with you to find a path forward.

 


 

The best thing about becoming a member of the Students' Union is that you don't need to do anything; no sign ups, no membership fees, no renewals*. You can choose how you want to interact with us - you might use all our services, one or two, or none - however you choose to be involved you will still be an equal part of your Students' Union. If you need us, we're here.

 


 

*On enrollment you will be given the option to 'opt out' of membership to the University of Plymouth Students' Union. This is your choice, however if you choose to opt out of becoming a member you won't be able to purchase event tickets, access support services or join clubs and/or societies through our website.