Strathclyde University opens new student union - after closing the doors on John Street

Strathclyde Union has a new home, and a fab new look.

Picture: contributed

What’s happening? Strath Union, part of the University of Strathclyde’s 23,000 strong campus, has unveiled its brand new home in a £60m building at 51 Richmond Street.

The state-of-the-art Union is based in the University’s new Learning and Teaching building and has been under development for five years. It forms the centrepiece of the building’s Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell Wing – a name chosen by students – and will open its doors on 10 September.

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The new Strath Union replaces the much-loved John Street location, which closed in August this year prompting an outpouring of love across social media from past students and fans.

Why it matters: Built with sustainability at the fore, the building utilises recycled materials where possible, bringing a lived-in feeling of comfort to the new space. Built around existing structures and repurposing materials, Strath Union will also host a Zero Waste Shop where students can purchase environmentally friendly items, and even collect some for free. The shop will include reusable sanitary products, cleaning products and a rotational showcase of sustainable brands from Scotland and beyond.

What to expect: The new, re-purposed building, formerly the Colville Building, is ready to welcome students and provides a more accessible, student-friendly experience with brand new facilities. The innovative design brings the outside in, enabling students to socialise among trees and plants whatever the weather. Inside their Union, students can enjoy a pint and pizza on picnic tables laid across AstroTurf, oblivious to the wind and rain outdoors.

What’s on the menu? Students’ home away from home on campus, Strath Union has a food, drink and entertainment offering that exceeds the traditional student union.

Expect to see bao buns, flatbreads and noodle dishes as standard, as well as classics like pizza, fish and chips and burgers. Beer fans can sample a host of Scottish favourites from Tennent’s, Innis & Gunn and Drygate. The building has entertainment including pool, smart darts, Bluetooth headphone powered movie nights, live football and a programme of music in the works that will continue Strath Union’s tradition of booking huge names like Elton John, Calvin Harris and Frightened Rabbit.

Benn Rapson, Student Exec President at Strath Union, said: “Strath Union is where everything happens on campus, and we can’t wait for our students to experience the new union building in all its glory. It looks amazing and is brimming with things to see, do, eat, drink and more. We’ve been developing the spaces for five years now, and we know our students are going to love it.

“The old building at John Street holds a special place in the hearts of many, which was evident from all of the amazing memories posted on social media when we announced its closure last month! Richmond Street has big shoes to fill, but we’re absolutely certain it’s up to the task. We’re so looking forward to opening the doors this weekend.

“We’re also aware that Covid-19 hasn’t gone away, and we’ve put a number of measures in place to ensure we’re returning to campus responsibly. We want our students to get the best out of the new Union without having to worry, so we’ve taken all the necessary steps to ensure we’re going above and beyond current guidance.”