The union story
Glasgow University Union was founded in 1885 by a group of students from the Glasgow University Dialectic Society, The Glasgow University Athletic Club (now GUSA) and the Glasgow University Medico-chirurgical society who were dis-satisfied with the lack of provision of space on campus for student activities. In 1886, the group created the Glasgow University Students' Representative Council to lobby the University for funding and a location for the Union, which was granted in 1890 with the opening of the McIntyre building next to the University gatehouse.
By the 1920s, the space in the McIntyre building was proving inadequate for the needs of the growing student population, so a new site was commissioned across from Pearce Lodge. The Union moved to its new home at 32 University Avenue in December 1930 and has been here ever since.
In the 1960s an extension was added to the side of the building, providing extra space and what would become the legendary ‘HIVE’ nightclub. In 2015 the extension was replaced with a new enlarged facility, with sport and gym provisions on the upper floors and a new HIVE buried deep into the basement, which quickly took on the popularity of its predecessor.
GUU has been a vital part of the social fabric of the West End and University of Glasgow for over 100 years. We have played a pivotal role in the unique student experience of the University of Glasgow and continue to be at its forefront.
Our contribution to public and political life, driven by our acclaimed and famous culture of nurturing debating and public speaking, is unrivaled in Scotland and stands alongside the likes of the Oxford and Cambridge Unions, as well as the Historic and Philosophical societies of Trinity College Dublin, in reach and impact. Former leaders of the UK Labour and Liberal parties, 2 First Ministers of Scotland, multiple other public servants and numerous business, legal, medical and media figures stand amongst our rich alumni heritage.
The union today
Today, the GUU continues to flourish, providing a unique array of spaces, events and services for both students and guests. We are one of the UK’s most successful student Unions, with a packed array of events across term time and a calendar of major events throughout the year. Our unique venue, from the historic setting of the debates chamber and dining room, through to the cutting-edge equipment of the modern HIVE nightclub, means we play host to an incredible variety of events every day.
HIVE Thursday is Glasgow's largest and most successful student night, with 1,500 students packed in on a weekly basis to our basement labyrinth. Throughout the week, we are home to all sorts of events, from dance rehearsals and ceilidhs to conventions and weddings, from fight nights and championship dinners to concerts and gigs, with everything else in between. We are a hub for all sorts of activities - a blank canvas for functions and events with an incredible team on hand to make it all possible.
The Union is run by an elected board of 26 students and alumni, who work closely alongside a highly experienced and professional management team. Our Union kitchen is a staple of campus life, providing everything from a quick lunch through to gala dinners in our period dining room. Numerous Union committees work together to organise student events throughout the term, from our famous debates training and acclaimed student magazine through to open mic nights and the legendary beer bar quiz.