Victoria Brown, Editor.
It was announced last year that the current QUB Students’ Union would be demolished to make way for a new Students’ Union on the same site. It has now be confirmed that construction will commence in 2018 – 2019, requiring the Students’ Union to be temporarily relocated from this summer until 2021.
The University and the Students’ Union were given the green light in June 2017 and announced their decision to build a new world class Student Centre and Students’ Union, on the site of the current Students’ Union. The current building was built in 1967 to house 6,000 students, but since 2009 Queens’s has over 23,000 students enrolled. This new ‘heartbeat’ of life on campus is intended to accommodate this tremendous number and be QUB’s new central hub for students where they can find support services.
Until then, the Students’ Union will be located in two buildings around the corner from the current Union. SU Elmwood will house the Student Officer Team and Student Voice Team; Advice SU; the Clubs & Societies, Enterprise SU and Volunteer SU Offices; and the Finance and Marketing Offices. Plus, there will be a modern Student Lounge, SU Shop and lots of bookable rooms. SU Lisburn Road will house The Speakeasy Bar Event Space (hosting Entertainment and Club & Society bookings), a Snooker Room, Pool Tables and Clubs & Societies meeting space.
These sites will be the Union’s home until the new Union is completed in 2021. Queen’s Students’ Union’s current President Stephen McCrystall has assured students that “the Students’ Union and the University are committed to ensuring this accommodation delivers a great student experience.” Stephen has informed students via email that a microsite detailing the full range of the Students’ Union services and full details of the Union’s temporary new homes will remain live until the project’s completion. The site includes details of the project, as well as conception designs for SU Elmwood and SU Lisburn Road – http://www.studentcentre.qub.ac.uk/
To mark the closure of the current Students’ Union, there will be a ‘Re-Union’ held on Thursday 14th June. Stephen explains that “this will feature an exhibition of archive material from the past 50+ years of activism, campaigns, student journalism, and all those crazy RAG days! Some invitations went out yesterday and more will go out at the beginning of next week. There will also be a generic Eventbrite registration link for current/former students and members of the public who wish to attend.” The event will go live on QUB SU’s facebook page in the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, the current Students’ Union is open as usual.