Glasgow University Union
With a history reaching back to 1885, the Glasgow University Union (the GUU, or GU as it’s commonly referred to by many students) is one of the largest and oldest student unions in the United Kingdom.
The building you see here dates from the early 1930s, when the GUU moved from the John McIntyre Building to its present location due to growing membership in the union. Some of the amenities offered include a billiards/snooker hall (apparently one of the largest in the UK), a cafeteria, a Subway restaurant, a debating chamber, a beer bar (called the Beer Bar), a few arcade machines, two libraries, a small shop, and a reading room (with a bar.) Not visible here is the 1960s extension to the GUU which houses the nightclub and several more bars. With all that, the GUU is (allegedly) one of the largest licensed premises in Scotland.
Even with the relatively large and extensive GUU to serve and cater to the needs of students, Glasgow University has another student union, located just at the other end of the University campus. Considering the fact that most Universities in the UK have a single students’ union, why does Glasgow University have or need two of them?
The answer lies in the small detail that up until 1980, Glasgow had a men-only union (the GUU) and a women-only union, the Queen Margaret Union. Yes, I said 1980. (Kinda late, huh?) The QMU allowed men to join in 1979, but the GUU, which kept to its old ways for almost a further 2 years, was the last student union in the UK with single-sex membership.
Technically, depending on what your definition of a student union is, Glasgow University has two to five student unions; the Glasgow University Union (GUU), the Queen Margaret Union (QMU), the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), the Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA), and the Hetherington Research Club. You could technically include the Mature Students’ Association in this list. The Queen Margaret Union, the former women’s union, will be featured tomorrow, and I’ll feature/allude to the others in the future.
The Glasgow, Scotland with Style poster, which is visible in the left half of the photo, is the same one as the one featured in Sunday’s post. This side of it features the Cloisters, as alluded to on Sunday. A part of the Rankine Building can be seen just behind the GUU building.
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