Imperial College Union is the representative body for all 16,000 students at Imperial; from first year undergraduates to postgraduates studying for a PhD, at all of Imperial's campuses from South Kensington to Silwood and across all courses, departments and faculties. Take a look at our strategic plan for more details about what we intend to do over the next three years. The Union doesn't stand still though, we regularly publish impact reports and as a charity are required to publish an annual report each year.
The Union enhances the student experience at Imperial, our 300+ Clubs, Societies & Projects offer activities from A Cappella to yoga, with record breaking student participation which has increased each year for the past decade. It's not just about membership though, students really do run our clubs, taking on responsibility for everything from fixture scheduling to finance administration to show production. Nearly 2,000 students are involved in making our student activities happen and we don't let their commitment go unnoticed, our Imperial Plus scheme recognises the commitment of our volunteers and helps them identify the skills they have developed through volunteering. In February 2014 we launched Community Connections, our community volunteering scheme connecting students to volunteering opportunities locally and offering one-off mass volunteering events.
The Union has a key function in amplifying the student voice at Imperial, to the College and beyond. The last two sabbatical elections have set turnout records for England and Wales, with a turnout in our Rep Elections in October 2013 which would have ranked in the top 10 in the UK had it been a sabbatical election. We are a champion of academic best practice, our Student Academic Choice Awards forming the centrepiece of a celebration of great teachers and supervisors. Our Academic Rep Network forms the core of our academic advocacy, but we also campaign for the wider student experience including College run accommodation upon which subject we made a substantial contribution to a recent College review.
Within the College we continue to comment on student feedback, making suggestions through a series of published response documents including the NSS, PRES and Student Experience Survey. Beyond the College the Union has an important role in defending the interests of our students, from lobbying Hyde Park on the use of sports pitches to securing a House of Lords investigation into the proposed Immigration Bill we are rapidly developing our relationships and engagement with local decision makers.
We believe the Union should be the hub of the Student Community at Imperial. Over the past year we have worked with the College to improve the Welcome Week provision, revising our publications and recruiting student volunteers for the week for the first time. Our Freshers' Fair proved as popular as ever, breaking records for another year, as did our very first Alt. Mingle, an alcohol free evening event over the first weekend of the year. The week is also captured in our welcome week blog which covers all the major events but also new students' reflections on the start of their life at the College. It is important students feel happy in their surroundings and we take our role in this seriously, running our own independent Advice Centre together with campaigns such as StressLess and SHAG Week to raise awareness of where well-being assistance is available.
If you are interested in keeping up to date with the work of the Union take a look at the blogs of our sabbatical officers or sign up to one or more of our mailing lists using the form below.