The University of Sydney Union is the provider of key programs, products and services that enhance the experience of the University of Sydney population. The USU is a non-for profit organisation that has existed to serve the campus since 1874, when it began as a humble society for ambitious student debaters.Today, with more than 12,000 members, it is the largest student union in Australia. All income the USU receives is invested directly back into its services and programs. The USU aims to give students something more than a degree when they graduate – the USU aims to give students a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Over its long and distinguished history, the USU has established its place at the University of Sydney, opening three major buildings, offering hundreds of different services and hosting countless events. The USU is guided by a board of student leaders, who are elected each year by their peers. They oversee a sprawling organisation, with departments dedicated to food and retail, entertainment, student programs, buildings and outlets, events management, and more. The student-centric election and governance system is crucial to keeping the USU relevant and valuable to the campus community.
What the USU Does
The USU is a member-based organisation that aims to deliver a genuinely enriched university experience for the many thousands who join. In essence, the USU is a provider of student experience programs that reaches out to all on campus. The USU began as a debating society all that time ago – and to this day is still an international force (ranked number one in the world), but today there is something every student – and staff member - can benefit from. The USU operates out of its three buildings on campus; the stately Holme Building, the buzzing social hub that is Manning House and the shopping mall-esque Wentworth Building. These are bustling social spaces for students and staff alike, containing the many food and retail outlets operated by the USU, including Manning and Hermann’s Bars, numerous cafes and coffee carts, and the International Student Lounge.
The USU and its tenants provide a huge range of culinary options to suit any taste, and a number of convenient services, including banking, pharmaceutical, dentistry, optometry, newsagents, consumer electronics and more. The other key component of the USU is its Access Benefits Program. All USU members are given an Access Card, which grants exclusive discounts at most outlets on campus as well as cheaper tickets to gigs, Revues and other USU-run events. The Access Program also boasts a huge number of off-campus partners, who also offer discounts to members outside the University.
A Vibrant University Community
The core aim of the USU is give every opportunity for students to enjoy their time at the University and provide rich and rewarding opportunities that cannot be found elsewhere. The USU’s Clubs and Societies program is Australia’s largest, with more than 200 Clubs and Societies on campus, bringing together students with shared passions and hobbies, be it a love of dancing or an interest in politics. There are also Clubs representing faculties – making it easier to forge connections with fellow students of the same area of study. The USU's Student Leadership Program meanwhile, creates opportunities for exceptional student leaders to develop skills and be involved in the development of campus culture and annual calendar of events. There are a wide range of different and challenging roles on offer for students who have the drive and desire to achieve beyond their uni coursework.
The USU also runs a busy entertainment program all year round, from regular activities such as trivia and bingo, as well as major local and international live acts. A rich cultural experience is something all students should enjoy during their time at university. The USU runs a number of initiatives and programs that aim to bring out the life and colour on campus, to celebrate diversity and encourage students to get creative. This is but a snapshot of the many ways the USU dedicates itself to providing a University experience that is not only enjoyable, but highly unique and memorable.