Coming to University can be a daunting time, but finding a place that feels like home can be the key to settling in.
Students at the University of Wolverhampton now have a new-look Students’ Union which aims to provide a friendly, comfortable and homely space for them to meet friends, study and relax.
Students were asked what they wanted from their Students’ Union and the overwhelming response was a coffee lounge and comfortable study zones.
With a fresh outlook and focus, the SU is at the centre of the Wolverhampton City Campus and is already proving a popular destination with the University’s student population. The Ambika Paul Student Union Centre was recently officially opened by the University’s Chancellor, the Rt Hon Lord Paul of Marylebone.
The Centre received a generous donation from the Ambika Paul Foundation, a charitable trust established by Lord Paul in memory of his daughter.
At the opening, Lord Paul spoke of the importance of education in his own life and his pleasure at being able to support today’s students.
“I am delighted that I have been able to benefit the next generation by doing something for this University, of which I have enjoyed being Chancellor. I can think of no better way of contributing through my foundation than towards a Student Union Centre. This is where they can study, talk to each other and be proud of the University and their education,” he said.
Ken Harris is the Students’ Union President and he is delighted with the revamped Students’ Union.
He explains what the new SU means to students: "The Students’ Union is a home from home. A place to relax and socialise in, participate in clubs and societies and take part in volunteering and employment opportunities. The SU is also a place to study and receive support."
The front of the Students’ Union, situated opposite the Learning Centre on the City Centre Campus, has been transformed into a vibrant and welcoming modern environment. On entering the glass-fronted space, students are met by a coffee lounge with comfortable seats and tables, and a reception area with friendly staff who are happy to help.
A corridor with striking virtual wallpaper featuring images of real Wolverhampton students leads to the Activities Centre, a study zone equipped with computers and more comfy seats. The sabbatical Students’ Union officers can often be found here, making them fully accessible to the student body and on hand to help out and advise.
There is a boardroom for meetings and a recording studio where the student radio station, Kic Fm, is based.
In addition, the room which formerly housed the bar, The Lounge, and a larger room called The Venue, both provide a great space for comedy and karaoke nights and enables clubs and societies to host their own events.
The new-look Students’ Union very much reflects the needs of today’s students, who want to work hard to succeed but also socialise with their friends.
The Centre has opportunities for employment, enabling students to further boost their credentials.
The location is also perfect as it is close to the Learning Centre, Sports Centre, Careers and Employment Service and Active Volunteers, enabling students to combine their work with extra-curricular activities.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline Gipps, is pleased that the University has been able to provide a space that students enjoy and that is extremely well used.
She says: "The student experience is extremely important to us, and we are pleased that we have been able to provide such a bright and comfortable environment for our thriving student community.
"We are most grateful to Lord Paul and the Ambika Paul Foundation for their generous support of this new Centre."
Perhaps the final word should go to the students who use the Student Union Centre on a daily basis to relax and study, take part in activities and learn about opportunities to further their skills.
Ken Harris says: "A Students’ Union is many things to many people but to us it is a place to call our own, and with the help of the Ambika Paul Foundation we have a place to accommodate the needs and activities of our students."