2021 – 22 was a year of rediscovery. After two years of significant disruption to student life, our members, new and old, returned to campus and started making up for lost time. Here's what happened...
More than 20,000 students joined a club or society this year. The first time in UCL’s history this figure has been reached. 41% of all UCL students were a member of one or more student-led groups this year, another new high.
→ Students took up 83,700 club and society memberships this year, up from 48,249 in 2020-21. On average each club or society member joined four or more groups.
→ Overall, we supported 362 different Clubs and Societies, with 54 new groups affiliating this year.
We invested resources in affiliating and developing departmental societies, helping to reach more students across UCL. We affiliated 18 new departmental societies this year, taking our total to 29, and membership of these groups increased by 410%.
→ We know that money can be a barrier to engagement with extra-curricular activity, so we launched a new Participation Fund and awarded £3,960 to students to cover the cost of transport, adaptive equipment, modest swimwear, and more.
→ We launched an intra-mural sport programme, TeamUCL Leagues, and engaged over 500 students across 6 different sports at beginner level, helping students from a range of cultural backgrounds stay active.
7,067 students joined a TeamUCL sports club this year, competing against university teams around the UK. TeamUCL surpassed 7,000 members for the first time in history and we now have the largest selection of clubs for students to join in our history, with 75 sports represented. This is a 15% increase on pre-pandemic engagement.
→ 1,771 students participated in our Project Active exercise programme, 38% of those participating described themselves as ‘inactive’ before getting involved.
→ We were shortlisted for national awards including the BUCS Diversity and Inclusion Award, and NSVA awards for development, best event, and best community initiative.
We have supported 166 students in our 19 High-Performance Teams and 26 Elite Athletes through our Elite Athlete programme, including Deborah Alawode, who has secured selection for Team England and will be competing in the 76kg Weightlifting class at the Commonwealth Games in summer 2022.
→ More than 8,000 students attended 26 student-led Bloomsbury Theatre productions this year. These productions were performed, produced, and delivered by more than 700 students from our arts societies.
→ We hosted more than 6,000 events throughout the year, up from 3,307 in 2020-21, with one of the most diverse events programmes we’ve ever had.
6,211 students engaged in our Arts Programme this year, joining an artsUCL society and exploring, performing, and developing in everything from opera to jazz, musical theatre to drama.
→ We reopened all our cafes, bars, and gym after enforced closure due to Covid. We launched a new café concept in the Lewis’s Building and invested in improvement works across all our outlets. We’re preparing to open new retail shops in Bloomsbury and UCL East.
→ During the Welcome fortnight we delivered 523 events, up from 174 in the last in-person year (2019). 8,700 students attended our two-day Welcome Fair, and 90% of our Welcome events were alcohol-free.
We hosted over 1,000 guest speaker events, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Collecting Vital Aid for Ukraine
Jack, Postgraduate Officer of SSEES Society, talks about the student-led collection drive for Ukraine
More than 2,000 students actively volunteered in the local community, giving 72,400 hours of their time last year – a new UCL record, and an increase on pre-covid figures (2019 was 63,000 hours). We have more than 500 different volunteering opportunities available for students to volunteer in London.
→ We developed and launched an online marketplace for students to list items they no longer need, contributing to a sustainable circular economy. 261 items have so far been listed, swapped, traded, and recycled by students.
→ We launched a new website and increased the number of pages viewed this year to 9 million, up from 5 million in 2020-21. We had more than 2.7 million visits throughout the year, our highest ever.
Our Advice Service supported 998 students with complex cases related to housing employment, academic issues, and money issues. Through the intervention of our Advisors, we’ve saved students £51,043 this year.
Students Supporting Mental Health
Watch Emma, President of Pole Fitness, talk about the impact of the club on their members' mental health.
We held the largest student election in the UK for the second year running, with 2,948 nominations for roles leading clubs, societies, and the whole Students’ Union. A record 10,219 students voted during Vote Week. For the first time at UCL, election turnout hit 21%.
→ In 2021 we again significantly increased satisfaction amongst students in representing their academic interests. Satisfaction increased from 51% in 2020, to 59% in 2021 – putting us in the top four of the Russel Group for this measure.
→ Our peer-led Language + Writing Support Programme 1-2-1 appointments resumed in-person, and 282 students benefited from 1-2-1 support with their academic writing and reading.
LGBQ Officer, Angel, talks about the campaign to rejoin Stonewall
→ We recruited and supported more than 1,900 Academic Representatives.
→ Our Sabbatical Officers ensured that creating new child friendly study spaces, and prayer spaces, is now prioritised in UCL’s estates plan.
Our in-person International Festival, Lunar New Year celebrations, and Winter Arts Festival all returned bigger and better, with events, activities and live performances across campus. The scale and volume of culturally significant events continue to expand with thousands of students and members of the local community joining our Asian Spring, Norwuz, and Filipino festivals.
→ We hit the milestone of 30,000 students trained to be Active Bystanders, helping to keep our community safe and free from bullying, harassment, and sexual misconduct. We also launched a new training programme for our student leaders to help tackle sexual violence.
→ We’ve launched a new Sustainability Strategy with the aim of being a Net Zero organisation by 2030, a major part of our work focuses on our supply chain. This year we made plant milk the default milk product across our cafes.
Best Bar None - Silver Award
Our Bars team have been awarded a Best Bar None award for the first time. Best Bar None is an accreditation scheme supported by the Home Office and drinks industry that aims to improve standards in the evening and night time economy. Through a combination of responsible management and operation of licensed premises, ongoing improvements, and social responsibility, Best Bar None’s goal is to help provide a safer night out to all.
Read our full report...
Annual Impact Report 2021-22
In the past year, the Union has continued its exciting programme of renewal and development, towards our long-term goal of working with UCL to achieve an outstanding experience for all our students, and becoming one of the best Students’ Unions in the world.