Sitting at the heart of Newcastle University’s campus is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city (If we do say so ourselves), the building that we call home, also known as Newcastle University’s Student’s Union. Designed by local architect Robert Burns Dick (of Laing Art Gallery and Spanish City fame) in 1924, the building is of a neo-Jacobean style and only came about after a generous gift by an anonymous donor, who is now believed to have been Sir Cecil Cochrane. The building was opened a year later, on 22nd October 1925 by Rt. Hon. Lord Eustace Percy, and over time became a Grade II listed building.
Fast forward nearly 90 years, and in 2010 the University donated £8 million towards the refurbishment of the Students’ Union building. Upon its completion in September 2011, the building went on to win the Education Interior Design category at the National Mixology Design Awards that same year.
So let’s fast forward again to present day and allow us to talk you through your Students’ Union.
Starting from top to bottom; on Level 2 you will find our 24-hour IT Cluster Suite, which is home to 89 PCs, and a Starbucks coffee shop that remains open until midnight at selected times of the year. Whilst the main area is considered an area for 'social study', Level 2 also has two separate clusters for 'quiet study' (like those seen in Bedson). Along the corridor, you will also find toilets, a vending machine, and your key support staff (such as the Admin Office as well as the IT, Marketing, and Commercial departments).
So down to Level 1, and our students have access to a lounge (with another vending machine), more PCs to use; and this is also where the entire Activities Department can be located, including Go Volunteer, Career Development Module, Go Play, Give It A Go, Hall Sport, Inclusivity Sport and three of your elected Sabbatical Officers (Editor of The Courier, Activities and Athletic Union). The floor is also home to The Courier and NSR; whilst meetings, presentations and debates can be held in one of the following; Planning Room, Martin Luther King, Kate Adie Room, or History Room, with most having access to Internet and Projector screens.
If you've visited the Students' Union, it's more than likely that you came via Level 0's arched front entrance, and walked up the building's imperial staircase, which has long been a feature, even before the £8 million refurbishment. With glass windows everywhere, you will quickly notice the Union Shop on the right, stocked with everything you could possibly need for University life; whilst the left hand-side of the ground floor is dedicated to student union services such as the Reception, Student Advice Centre, Democracy department, and the 3 remaining Sabbatical Officers (President, Welfare and Education).
Moving down to Floor -1 via the central staircase; students are greeted with the newly refurbished Luther’s Bar on the right, and the updated retail area on the left. Whilst Greggs had been a mainstay of the Union before, Subway have taken up the mantel of providing wholesome food to those on the go; with their meal deals going down especially well with students on a daily basis, between 8am and 11:30pm. Dominos have also been recent additions, whilst Santander Bank and Sploshh Print return.
Finally, heading down to Floor -2; you will arrive at 'Venue'. Previously the basement, 'Venue' has undergone one of the more noticeable transformations, with a 50ft island bar, concert space, meeting rooms, and pool table/dart area. Throwback has taken up residence every Saturday night, and has grown to over 1,000 strong each week; whilst other uses have included performances from The 1975, Example, Machinehead, Cream, Ministry of Sound, George Ezra, Kid Ink and James Bay. 'Venue' is also open to an array of hospitality events and clubs and societies are able to book out all, or portions of the area.
NUSU Central has replaced the Bistro just next to the Students’ Union and it has all been redeveloped with Newcastle students’ interests at its very heart. Just like the IT Cluster on the top floor of the SU, NUSU Central has been designed specifically around social learning, providing 80 extra computers, study space and a food outlet, EAT@Central. NUSU Central will provide additional study space for students throughout the year, 24/7, which will help to ease the strain on study resources around campus, especially in the notoriously busy exam periods.