Frequently asked questions about the SU
What does the SU do?
Cambridge SU is the representative body for all students at the University of Cambridge and its constituent Colleges; the SU is a registered charity within the Cambridge community that exists to represent, campaign for, and support students at the University. When you enrol on a course here, you are automatically made a member of Cambridge SU. We exist to fight for, advocate and represent the interests and needs of all students at Cambridge University.
Is the SU just Full-Time Elected Officers?
Long story short, no. The SU is led by a team of Sabbatical Officers who are elected each year to represent the student body, but there is also a full-time professional staff team that work behind the scenes to ensure projects and events go ahead and run smoothly as well as the general day to day runnings of the SU. There are two main departments within the SU; Membership Engagement and Commercial & Services. Under the Membership Engagement Department sits; the Democracy & Representation Team, Activities Team and Student Advice Service. Under the Commercial & Services Department sit the Communications & Marketing Team, HR & Admin Team, Finance Team and Reception Team. Check out a full list of our staff team.
What is the difference between the SU and JCR/MCRs?
The SU represents the entire student body at the University whereas a JCR/MCR represents the student body in their specific college. JCR & MCRs are run by a committee of students who are elected each year, it is also a physical room and communal space for students to hang out in. Cambridge SU can be thought of as a J/MCR for Cambridge University as a whole, instigating transformative changes on a university level that will impact all current and future students, not just those in your College.
How can I get involved with the SU?
- SU Campaigns - SU Campaigns are groups that represent marginalised students, there are currently seven campaigns which include; BME, Class Act, Disabled Students’, Ethical Affairs, International Students’, LGBT+ and Women’s Campaigns. Being a part of a Campaign is a great way to meet new people & make changes to benefit your community. You can join a campaign at any point throughout the year by self-identifying into a campaign. They are completely free to join and also receive a budget from the SU to help enable change-making ideas!
- Societies - Join a Society! We have over 500 societies registered with us, if you have an interest or hobby, chances are there is a society for you and if there isn’t then you can create one!
- Events - The SU runs events throughout the year, from those led by the SU Campaigns such as ‘Gender Agenda - THB To be a Feminist is to be a socialist’’ to Freshers’ Fair, there is always something to get involved with. You can find all our events on our What’s On page.
- Elections - Elections happen twice an academic year, in Michaelmas are our Rep Elections where you can run to be an Academic rep. In Lent term, we hold our main Elections for your full-time Sabbatical Officer team. If you are interested in representing the student body on a University-wide scale & want to make a change to student life this is a great way to do so. We also offer our Elections platform for College and Society Elections throughout the year.
What has the SU achieved?
Now you know about the SU & what we do, the question that you probably want answered most is what has the SU actually done/achieved?
Our most recent wins/achievements;
- Society Grants -Undergrad President Fergus launched Society Grants where registered societies can apply for up to £250!
- Student - Led Outreach fund - Propose a new outreach project and be supported by the SU & University whilst getting up to £5000.
- Welfare Officer Harvey, relaunched the Disorientation guide working with 60+ local community groups, university departments and students This guide was produced to support students within the confusing system of Cambridge University.
- AEP PG Ani, set up a Student Carers Facebook group as well as working on hosting monthly events.
- Solar Panel lights are now operational at Girton Ridgway, due to the hard work of Eseosa, your 22-23 Women’s Officer.
- President PG, Vareesh, introduced app based issuance of discounted student tickets for the U-bus.
Wins from 22-23;
- Supported student rent campaigns, including working closely with the ‘King’s Rent Strike’ to push for fairer rent in their college.
- Last year we welcomed the University’s commitment to hiring a ‘Racial Harassment Advisor’ as a direct result of the SU’s demands for disciplinary reform.
- Supported students throughout the UCU strikes and Marking Boycott, running ‘breakfast runs’ to picket lines, running Q&As, sending 50+ letters to the Vice-Chancellor and supporting the open letter that gained 1400+ signatures.
- We worked with Academic Reps to campaign for lecture recordings, creating an open letter to the HSPS Faculty that gained over 360 signatures from current and former students and staff.
- We launched our first-ever Cambridge Students’ Awards to recognise the amazing work that students do every day to improve the student experience.
- In addition to our sexual health scheme, this was the first year we provided students with free sustainable menstrual products.
- Ran exam breakfasts where we gave out croissants, juice, and fruit to students at breakfast time before their exams as well as providing students with ‘exam goody bags’.
- Hosted our first ever ‘Organising Bootcamp’: a day of workshops run by students to share knowledge about campaigning in the University.
- The launch of providing drug-checking kits from the SU Lounge.
If you have any other questions or queries please reach out to us via email or come and visit us on the third floor of the University Centre!