A healthy student lifestyle is key to ensuring the university experience is one to remember. Unions and societies play a fundamental role in enabling students to thrive and succeed in an academic climate writes Mark Singleton
Many see university life simply as an education, a stepping stone to their dream career, for others, it is both a social experience as well as a learning experience. Student unions and societies are a fundamental part of university culture and have held their place in higher education since 1864 starting at St Andrew’s university in Scotland. Their roles within the higher education are to make sure that students apply themselves in their social activities as well as their academic accolades.
There is often a negative social stigma attached to the status of being a student, having a social life at university is important and key to ensuring a healthy culture, but labels such as ‘lazy’ or the notion that students drink too much reduces and neglects the point that universities thrive from their sense of community.
Every university differs in where their sense of culture and uniqueness stems from, for London South Bank, students such as Emilie Jessop believe offers a diverse experience “When choosing LSBU, I didn’t think the location would matter much, but as I enter my third year, being in central London reminds me that we are at the heart of the city and its essentially a melting pot for people of all cultures, it’s refreshing considering the small town I come from”.
Geographically speaking, universities such as Oxford have become renowned for their excellence in the higher education sector which, as a result, has allowed the city to become the most ethnically diverse in the country. The notion that Universities are simply a place for education is quickly becoming an opinion of the past, universities play a key role in society at bringing together people from a multitude of ethnic backgrounds, religions and sexualities.
London South Bank University has over 45 different societies with hugely diverse interests whether it be the Harry Potter Society for those who entertain thoughts of witchcraft and wizardry, to the Product Design society which is home to students like Beajle Pattni – “The Product Design society showcases the best and most avant garde designs at LSBU. I feel societies are a crucial aspect to a lot of people at university, personally if it wasn’t for the sense of community I feel design courses and societies have, I wouldn’t enjoy my time here nearly as much!”
Student unions are crucial elements in the university system that ensure the fairness and representation of the student body is kept to a high and desirable standard. Elections are run and voted on by students themselves which helps students to cultivate and expand on their many talents whilst at the same time providing a voice for the healthy process of change. Universities, such as London South Bank, should constantly aim to grow their range of extracurricular activities. 2015 will see the introduction of a £4 million media centre for LSBU students belonging to the School of Art and Creative Industries. This will allow budding young media moguls to showcase their talents, an aspect of innovation that will contribute to the sense of culture and community at London South Bank, a goal all universities should strive for.