As a student at the Royal College of Art (College), you are automatically a part (member) of its Students’ Union (Union). The Union is here to represent, enrich, entertain and empower you as a student. It is a hub of activity. The Union organises events that offer an opportunity for its members to get to know each other and to argue, agree, debate, dance, imagine and relax with those from different programmes.
The Union is a students’ union within the meaning of the Education Act 1994. The Union is devoted to the educational interests and welfare of its members, College’s students. The Union’s objects are the advancement of education of students at the College for the public benefit by: Promoting the interests and welfare of students at the College during their course of study and representing, supporting and advising students; Being the recognised representative channel between students and the College and any other external bodies; And providing social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities and forums for discussions and debate for the personal development of its students.
More than simply a social organiser, the Union plays a vital role in providing an essential link between staff and students through its democratic representation system. The Union is a charity ruled by its Constitution that defines its governance structure. The leadership for the Union in policy-making, campaigning, and representation is entrusted on to the Sabbatical Officers Team. Three Co-Presidents are annually elected from the student body in the summer term. They take up their posts the following academic year in August for a maxim period of two terms. Their power is regularly checked by School and Students’ Union Assemblies, Annual General Meeting and through student trustees and external trustees on the Board of Trustees level.
Alongside the student representation, the Union also provides an infrastructure for participation through a number of existing clubs and societies, as well as the opportunity to start new ones. The Union aims to organise trips for students’ abroad and throughout the UK, as well as hosting a lecture series each year. Speakers are invited to address subjects relevant to the student body. These are suitably different from academic lectures provided by academic Programmes and Schools.
Through its operations arm of 4 permanent members of staff and over 70 causal members of student staff, the Union also hosts numerous parties and events in its premises. These are the legendary ArtBar, inclusive RCAfé and burlesque Café Royale. Located across both campuses, these vibrant, experimental and enticing places enable the Union and its members to host conversations, group collaborations or simply just parties, including annual Christmas Fête and RCA Convocation Ball that dates back from 1884.
Overall, the Union invites, encourages and expects contributions and ideas from its members that foster a sense of belonging. By being welcoming, generous, innovative and free speaking, the Union ensures that the students get the best out of their time at the College.
To conclude, you just have to always remember that it is you who forms, makes and shapes the Union!