Societies and student union
Life outside study
Run for students, by students as an independent charity, the mission of the University of Portsmouth Students' Union (UPSU) is to make a positive impact on every Portsmouth student. The Union is buzzing with young and inspiring people who are improving their skills, taking on new experiences and motivating others to get involved.
Supporting you throughout your student life, the Union gives you access to activities and services that broaden your horizons, increase your employability and helps you make lifelong friends.
If you're studying at the University, you're already a member of UPSU, but there's more you can do.
As a member of the Union, you can:
- Vote in elections for your representatives at all levels
- Provide feedback and influence key decisions about the direction of your Union
- Suggest and campaign for improvements to student life and services through the 'Have Your Say' initiative
- Give your classmates a voice on how you're learning as a Course Rep
- Chair one of our student groups, such as UPSU's Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) Network, which you can join on Facebook
- Represent students' academic interests as a Faculty Rep
- Become an elected Sabbatical Officer and spend a year promoting student rights and leading uni-wide initiatives
Join a society
There are loads of student-run societies, covering sport, culture, politics, gaming, faith and much more.
You can meet like-minded people and share experiences over a game, a night out or a society-run event. Depending on your interests, you can:
- Play for one of our 24 sports clubs – just for fun or for British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) glory
- Get involved in the annual Fusion Festival run by the Afro-Caribbean Society as part of Black History Month
- Present a TV programme, help run a radio show or write for the student-run media collective, Victory Media
- Get to know people and cultures across shared backgrounds through groups such as the Korean, Tamil or Nigerian societies
- Meet lifelong friends and campaign with the LGBT+ Society
- Learn salsa with other beginners and take it to the local Latin club with the Cuban Salsa Society
- Join the Quidditch Club - the world's fastest-growing full-contact, mixed-gender sport
- Share your passion for computing with the IT Society
- Check out Portsmouth's local acts and alternative music with friends at the Rock Society
Community spaces at the Union
The Union Shop
The Union Shop in the reception of the Union Building in Cambridge Road is at the heart of the student community. It's home to all our University of Portsmouth merchandise and a hub for students to make general inquiries.
See our branded clothing and accessories range, which includes t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters, varsity jackets, mugs and water bottles. Collect your free TOTUM (the UK's No 1 student discount card) to start getting discounts online and in stores around the country, and pick up discounted tickets for local events. There's also a what's on noticeboard for our clubs and societies.
The 3rd Space
Our Student Union building features The 3rd Space, an open plan area for you to chill with your friends, study in a casual environment and check out what's happening around the university. You can grab a Starbucks coffee from the from the Pitstop Café downstairs or just connect to the WIFI and chill out by the couches.
The 3rd Space is home to community and society events such as Global Week, Feel Good Fest, Nerdvana and Fight Night. There's also a flexible stage and live performance setup, where we've hosted the likes of British rapper, writer and activist Akala, a live broadcast of BBC Radio 4's Any Questions and a Radio 1 professional meet and greet for students to learn about the radio industry.
The Pitstop Café
The Pitstop Café is a breakout area for you to catch up with friends, study in a more casual environment and grab a coffee or a bite to eat.
There are plenty of tables and couches, Starbucks coffee on hand and a varied selection of 'street food' on offer. Located just across from the Union Shop, the Café is open 9:00am–5:00pm Monday to Friday.
The Union Co-op
The Union building also has a dedicated Co-op Food store open from 7:00am–10:00pm every day. Stock up on essentials for a study day, grab some snacks for a night in with your friends, and get 10% off every purchase when you use your TOTUM card.
Meeting and activity rooms
There are 5 bookable rooms available in the Union building that are used for conferences, meetings, training, workshops and rehearsals.
Rooms are generally booked on behalf of societies, sports clubs, volunteering and student media groups. Individual students can book out the rooms for academic purposes by requesting in person.
Find out more about the rooms and how to book them on the Union website.
Gun House Green
Just outside the Union building is Gun House Green, an outdoor space that's bright and sunny in the summer.
Hang out with your classmates by the benches and enjoy the weather, take a nap in the shade, or set up a little picnic on the grass. It's also a good space for events during the warmer months, such as society socials, wellbeing and outreach events, and July Open Days.
Events and fairs
Union-run big-ticket events throughout the year include:
Welcome Month and Freshers' Fayre
Welcome Month is your gateway into student life and the highlight is the Freshers' Fayre.
With a live DJ setup on Gun House Green, stalls for clubs, societies and volunteering groups (the Union hosts more than 120), plus discounts and giveaways, Freshers' Fayre is where it all starts. It's a great opportunity to start making your contacts and friends for life, as well as getting involved in our vibrant student community.
The Union also offers free BBQs when you arrive, guided city walking tours, Give Me Sport taster sessions run by Sport and Rec, and various nights out during September.
Every year the Union's sports teams compete against their opposite numbers at the University of Southampton across more than 50 competitive fixtures in the Varsity Cup.
Students from both universities converge for a day of sports, uni spirit and healthy neighbourhood rivalry. Whether you're competing, spectating or tagging along for the official after-party, it's one of the biggest events of the year.
Winter Welcome Week
Whether you're a new starter in January or looking for some more fun after your festive break, our Winter Welcome Week is a great way to get back in the uni groove.
Highlights during the week include:
- Union Arcade – take part in a fun day playing mini-golf, arcade games, table football and other indoor amusements
- Travel Fair – if you're interested in going on an exchange or just thinking about travelling, this is your chance to talk to industry experts, such as STA and Bunac, and students who have travelled as part of their degree
- Winter Freshers’ Fayre – get up to speed with the sports clubs and student societies, or help run a stall on the day
- Winter Showcase – watch our student groups showcase their hard work with performances covering song, dance and spoken word
- Housing Fair – meet halls providers, estate agents and landlords to discover more about the first steps in your student accommodation search
Our societies are active in helping the local community and good causes nationwide. We run events throughout the year to spread awareness and raise funds for charities.
We've got a particular focus on helping mental health charities provide support to people when they need it most. For instance, our Music Society has raised funds with Tonic Music for Mental Health and the Gaming Society has run events with the proceeds going to Special Effect.
The Union teams up with Eskimo 11 and bars including Mr Miyagi's, The Astoria and Popworld Portsmouth to host Purple Wednesdays – a dedicated student night every week.
You can get together with your friends, society or housemates for a top night out. A portion of the money you spend also goes back into the Union, so it can keep putting on bigger and better events throughout the year.
Boxing Society Fight Night
The Boxing Society hosts a series of boxing nights fully affiliated and licensed with England Boxing, featuring men's and women's bouts.
The society's events team transforms the Union Building into a professional-style boxing arena with all the hype and pomp you'd expect in a pro match, including a pop-up bar. With sell-out crowds of up to 400 people, the nights are always a popular drawcard among students.
Find out more about life in Portsmouth
Take a closer look at more of the exciting things on offer in our amazing city.
Hungry for adventure? Here's a taster of the great food and drink you can savour in the city.
Portsmouth is a bustling city with the sea on our doorstep and green spaces all around.
From water sports to football and quidditch – few cities can compete with Portsmouth's sport opportunities.