Students' union
A students' union, student government, student senate, students' association, guild of students or government of student body is a student
A student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term is reserved for those who attend university, while a schoolchild under the age of eighteen is called a pupil in English...

An organization is a social group which distributes tasks for a collective goal. The word itself is derived from the Greek word organon, itself derived from the better-known word ergon - as we know `organ` - and it means a compartment for a particular job.There are a variety of legal types of...

 present in many colleges and universities, and has started appearing in some high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

s. In higher education, the student union is often accorded its own building on the campus
A campus is traditionally the land on which a college or university and related institutional buildings are situated. Usually a campus includes libraries, lecture halls, residence halls and park-like settings...

, dedicated to social
The term social refers to a characteristic of living organisms...

 and organizational activities of the student body.

Many students' unions are run by students, independent of the educational facility. The purpose of these organizations is to represent students both within the institution and externally, including on local and national issues. They are also responsible for providing a variety of services to students. Students can get involved in the union by becoming active in a committee, by attending councils and general meetings, or by becoming an elected officer.

Many students' unions are highly politicised bodies, and often serve as a training ground for aspiring politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

s. The combination of the youthful enthusiasm of the various members, a general lack of serious consequences for decisions, and a student media that is itself often partisan, inexperienced, and under no financial pressure to slant coverage to please a broad readership encourages very vigorous campaigning
Political campaign
A political campaign is an organized effort which seeks to influence the decision making process within a specific group. In democracies, political campaigns often refer to electoral campaigns, wherein representatives are chosen or referendums are decided...

, debate, and political gamesmanship
Gamesmanship is the use of dubious methods to win a game. It has been described as "Pushing the rules to the limit without getting caught, using whatever dubious methods possible to achieve the desired end"...

—although not all unions are so politicized. Nonetheless, students' unions generally have similar aims irrespective of the extent of politicization, usually focusing on providing students with facilities, support, and services.

Students' unions often officially recognize and allocate an annual budget
A budget is a financial plan and a list of all planned expenses and revenues. It is a plan for saving, borrowing and spending. A budget is an important concept in microeconomics, which uses a budget line to illustrate the trade-offs between two or more goods...

 to other organizations on campus. In some institutions, postgraduate students are within the general students' unions, whereas in others they have their own Postgraduate Representative Body
National postgraduate representative body
A national postgraduate representative body exists in many countries representing postgraduate students/researchers undertaking their doctorate or postdoctoral research. Some have a broader remit to represent all postgraduates, including those taking Master's degrees...

. In some cases, graduate students lack formal representation in student government.


Azerbaijan Students Union (ASU) was established by students from Baku on 15 September 2008. ASU is an organization which was established on basis of international experience and it was the first student organization which united students irrespective of gender, race, creed, nationality.

During its action period ASU has formed stable structure, presented new suggestions about student policy to appropriate bodies, made close relations with international and regional student organizations, prepared new action plan according to the universities-students-companies' relations in Azerbaijan.

ASU considered international relations very important. For the first time ASU’s delegates were participants of the First Asia IAESTE Forum in Shanghai during 12–15 November 2009. After that forum ASU established close relations with IAESTE which is one of the biggest student exchange organizations. As a result of relations on 21 January 2010 ASU was accepted a member of IAESTE. Our union gained right to represent Azerbaijan students in IAESTE. That membership was the union's first success on international level. During 20-27 January Azerbaijan Students Union was accepted as associative member of IAESTE in 64th Annual Conference in Thailand.

Also Azerbaijan Students Union is a full member of European Students' Union.


In Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, all universities have one or more student organizations. As of July 2006, membership and union fees are voluntary by law.

Australian student unions typically provide such services as eateries, small retail outlets (e.g., newsagencies), student media (e.g., campus newspapers), advocacy, and support for a variety of social, arts, political, recreational, special interest and sporting clubs and societies. Most also operate specialized support services for female, LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

, international and indigenous students. Many have expressed concerns over the introduction of voluntary student unionism
Voluntary student unionism
Voluntary student unionism is a policy, notable in Australia, under which membership of – and payment of membership fees to – university student organisations is voluntary....


The National Union of Students of Australia
National Union of Students of Australia
The National Union of Students is the peak representative body for Australian university students. Most student unions in Australian campuses are affiliated to NUS...

 represents most student unions at a national level. With VSU becoming law, its future is in doubt.


In Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, membership in a college or university students' union is mandatory across Canada under various provincial statutes. Included in Canadian students' tuition fees is anywhere from an additional $10–$500 fee to pay for the services of the union. The money raised from dues is often used to support a staff and office. Student elections usually happen around March as the student bodies elect their unions' executives. Student voter turnout for student elections is low for all institutions. The current largest undergraduate student union in Canada is the York Federation of Students, at the York University, with around 49,000 members.

Most students' unions are charged by their student body to protect their best interests at the university, municipal, provincial and federal government levels. Often, student unions in Canada are members of either the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations was formed in 1995 by several post-secondary institutions' student unions who had withdrawn from the Canadian Federation of Students and previously unaffiliated student unions...

 or the Canadian Federation of Students
Canadian Federation of Students
The Canadian Federation of Students is the largest student organization in Canada. Founded in 1981, the stated goal of the CFS is to work at the federal level for high quality, accessible post-secondary education.-Structure:...

. One exception is the Province of Quebec, which has its own federation (the largest youth group in Quebec), called Quebec Federation of University Students (Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec or FEUQ). CEGEP
CEGEP is an acronym for , which is literally translated as "College of General and Vocational Education" but commonly called "General and Vocational College" in circles not influenced by Quebec English. It refers to the public post-secondary education collegiate institutions exclusive to the...

 students are represented by the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec or FECQ, while the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante or ASSE is a more radical organisation grouping students from both levels of education.

Different provinces have different rules governing student unions. In British Columbia under Section 26 of the University Act, student unions may only raise or rescind mandatory student union fees through a democratic referendum of the membership. Once fees are passed through this mechanism, the Board of Governors of the respective institutions are then required to remit those fees to the student union, and may only interfere in the internal affairs of the student union if it fails to complete annual audits of its finances, giving these student unions strong autonomy over their institutions. In Ontario, the autonomy of student unions is set by standards outlined by each institution, giving University administrators a broader scope of powers over the finances of student unions.


In China, the student body is called 学生会 (Xuesheng Hui) or 学生联合会 (Xuesheng Lianhe Hui), literally means students' union or students' association. A student association of a particular university, usually plays the role as the organizer of student activities. The students' associations of Chinese universities are mostly under the leadership of Communist Youth League of China, which to a large extent limit its function as an organization purely belonging to students themselves.


In Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 the higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 system comprises two parallel sectors: universities and university colleges of applied sciences (e.g. nursing and engineering schools or teachers' colleges). Universities are characterised by scientific research and the highest education based thereon. University colleges of applied sciences are oriented towards working life and base their operations on the high vocational skill requirements set by it. These vocational institutions offer 3-4 year 'professional bachelor degrees'. Besides that there are a number of art schools. Universities belong under the Ministry of Science, University Colleges belong under the Ministry of Education, and the Art Schools belong under the Ministry of Culture. There are 12 universities at the moment, but in 2006 there is a major merger process going on to make fewer, bigger institutions. The student unions at universities (and some of the art schools' student unions) are generally members of the National Union of Students in Denmark which represents these students on the national level.

Every university has a student union (In Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

, Studenterråd). Membership is not mandatory. The student unions are funded by the university and the Ministry of Science on the basis of the percentage of votes received every year at the university election. The student union is autonomous, its internal life organized by its by-laws. The student unions are responsible for all representation of the students and elect the student members of different administrative organs. They usually coordinate and finance the activities of smaller, more specialized student organizations. For the financing of their activities, some student unions exact a membership fee and/or engage in different businesses.

In the Ministry of Culture institutions there are also local student organisations. In the Ministry of Education institutions, The student activities are very much related to a student division of the Labor Union in the different areas. For instance, the teachers' students are organised in the national labor union for teachers and so forth.

Upper-Secondary schools
The Upper-Secondary schools (In Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

, Gymnasier), It is in Denmark a law that there has to be a studentscouncill at the Upper-Secondary schools. The studentscouncils are organized in the following organisations: DGS (the regular students), EEO (the technical students) and LH. 1 January 2008 120 of the 145 gymnasier where paying members.


The French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 higher education system is centrally organized, so that local university bodies have restricted decision-making power. As a consequence, student unions are generally established at national level with local sections in most universities. The largest national student unions have a strong political identity and their actions are generally restricted to the defense of their vision of higher education rather than the particular interests of the student body of a single university. Union membership is regarded as an essentially political decision, without any particular advantage for students. The strength of unions can be best measured by their effectiveness in national protests rather than by membership figures. The most important student unions in France are: the left-leaning Union nationale des étudiants de France
Union nationale des étudiants de france
The National Union of Students of France is the main national students' union in France....

 (National Students Union of France, UNEF) and the Fédération des associations générales étudiantes (Federation of General Students Associations, FAGE) regrouping different disciplinary associations.

There are also struggle student unions as Sud etudiant or FSE (Federation syndicale etudiante) which refuse to cooperate with the universities direction and work to organize students.

In the Grandes écoles
Grandes écoles
The grandes écoles of France are higher education establishments outside the main framework of the French university system. The grandes écoles select students for admission based chiefly on national ranking in competitive written and oral exams...

, the premium league in the French higher education system, students are generally members of the official Student Offices (Bureau des Elèves) in charge of the organization of social activities and sports events. The constitutions of these societies, which work in close partnership with the school administration, usually prevent union members from running for executive positions in order to keep the school independent from political groups that would eventually harm to the school prestige.


In Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 the actual form of student representation depends strongly on the federal state. In most states there is a General Students' Committee
The General Students' Committee or AStA, is the acting executive board and the external representing agency of the student body at universities in most German states. It is therefore considered the student government and student representative organization...

 at every university. It is the executive organ of the parliaments and councils of all faculties.


In Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 every university department has its corresponding Student Union (in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Σύλλογος Φοιτητών) and all students belonging to the department have the right to register as members. The main objective of a student union is to solve students' problems that can either be related to academic life or have a general political and social nature. Furthermore, Student Unions organize and support numerous activities such as political debates, demonstrations, university occupations, educational lectures, cultural and artistic events, conferences and so on.

The structure of a Student Union is rather simple and comprises two bodies: The General Students' Assembly (Greece)
The General Students' Assembly (Greece)
The General Students Assembly is the supreme and sovereign body of the association of students in every university in Greece. It decides on every subject and exercises supervision and control over other institutions of the association...

 and the Board of Directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

. The General Assembly consists of all student-members of the Union. It takes place on a regular basis and is the only decision-making body. During the General Assembly, many topics of student interest are discussed and the decisions are taken after open vote. The Board of Directors makes sure that the decisions of the General Assembly will be materialized. Moreover, the members of the Board of Directors, among which is the Union's President, participate in various university administrative bodies as representatives of all students in the Union.

Every year in early spring the Student Elections take place nationwide, during which students vote for their representatives.

All Student Unions in Greece are members of the "National Student Union of Greece" (ΕΦΕΕ - Εθνική Φοιτητική Ένωση Ελλάδας).

Hong Kong

All universities in Hong Kong except the Open University have students' unions. Most of these students's unions are members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students
Hong Kong Federation of Students
Hong Kong Federation of Students is the biggest student organization in Hong Kong. It is formed by the students' union of 7 tertiary education institutions. It has 51,779 members as of March 2006...

. Many secondary schools are also having students' unions or equivalence.


Most of Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

's universities and colleges have students' unions which were established to represent the students in the context of internal college issues and on wider student related issues and also a means of solidarity with other movements globally. An ongoing campaign of virtually every students' union in Ireland is to prevent the reintroduction of tuition fees which were abolished in 1995. Most, but not all, of the students' unions are affiliated with the Union of Students in Ireland
Union of Students in Ireland
The Union of Students in Ireland is the national representative body for third-level students' unions in Ireland. The Union of Students in Ireland is the sole national representative body for students in Ireland but does not represent students from two of the seven Irish Universities, namely...

. Notably, two of the seven university students' unions are not members. The students' unions are operated in accordance with the rules set down in their constitution which invariable enumerates a strong democratic and inclusive procedure for the governance on the union.


India has developed a complex tradition of student politics dating from the era of Congress Party
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 domination. Student unions are organised both within universities, like the Student Council of IISc and across universities, but affiliated with political parties, as in the case of NSUI, ABVP, SFI,etc. The latter compete in elections to control posts in the former. Examples of activist unions include the Delhi University Students Union
Delhi University Students Union
The Delhi University Students Union, generally abbreviated DUSU, is the umbrella student organisation at the University of Delhi.DUSU elections are considered most high profile student union elections in country as it provides opportunity to enter directly into national politics. The University of...


All India Law Students' Association
All India Law Students' Association
All India Law Students' Association is a non-profit association of students and lawyers who are dedicated to the promotion of welfare of law students all over India. AILSA provides students with opportunities to interact with legal professionals in international arena...

 (AILSA) or अखिल भारतीय विधि छात्र संघ is a non-profit association of students and lawyers who are dedicated to the promotion of welfare of law students all over India. AILSA provides students with opportunities to Interact with legal professionals in international arena. The organization's activities include academic conferences, publications, the global coordination of student organizations, Seminars, providing free legal aid

National Students Union of India, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Students Federation of India
Students Federation of India
Students Federation of India is one of the major student organisations in India. SFI is politically linked to the Communist Party of India . Founded in 1970, it claimed a membership strength of nearly 4.2 million school and university students as of 2010.SFI is currently led at the All India level...

 are major political Students Union in India.


In Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, every university, college and higher education schools has student union. The student body in Indonesia is called Organisasi Siswa Intra Sekolah, abbreviated OSIS, which is the official student organization formed by the government. A general election to choose the leader is usually held every year. OSIS organizes school's activities such as extracurricular and school's music and art show (pentas seni/pensi).


In Japan, the student body is called 学生自治会 (gakusei-jichi-kai). In Japanese, the word 学生自治会 (gakusei-jichi-kai) means students' self-government-organizations. The student body in Japan promotes extracurricular activities. Usually, a cultural association, 文化会 (bunka-kai), and a sports association, 体育会 (taiiku-kai), are included within a student body as autonomous organizations. A student belongs to one or more students' organizations, and he or she does extracurricular activities through these students' organizations. However, the extracurricular activities of universities and colleges have been declining since the 1990s.


Malaysia has 20 public institutions of higher learnings. Each of them has one Student Representative Council which is the ultimate legislative body among the students. The MPP holds the highest administrative authority in the Student Union of each university. A general election is held every year, usually in September, to elect representatives to the Student Representative Council. The percentage of voter turn-outs are usually high (70% to 95%) largely due to enforcements from the universities' governance which at the same time acts as the Election Committee.

Every year, the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education would set meetings and arrange programmes with all MPP. Nevertheless, each MPP has their own autonomous right to govern their own student body. The size of the MPP differs from each university, from as little as 12 person to as many as 50 person. (note: There are no sabbatical officers in the Malaysian Students' Union system. All members of MPP are part-time officers)


In Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, students unions are mostly predominant in universities. Mexican universities have an elected student committee each year, but the faculties or schools within the universities have also their own union.

This practice is also extended to other levels of education, such as high and junior high school, but to a lesser extent. An example of this is the Sociedad de Alumnos de HPA Mexico.


There are several students' unions in The Netherlands which act as labor unions for students. The largest ones are VSSD in Delft
Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland , the Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam and The Hague....

 and ASVA Studentenunie in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

. These students' unions are all members of LSVb, the national students' union. There's also a similar organization called ISO
Dutch National Students Association
The Dutch National Students Association or ISO is one of two national representation and spokesman of students in the Netherlands at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, VSNU , Association of Higher Professional Education, IB-Groep, etc.The purpose of ISO is to improve the quality of...

 (Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg), which consists of several formal participation organizations, as well as ASVA Studentenunie and VSSD. Both ISO and LSVb are members of European Students' Union.

There is also a students' union at Twente University. It was founded in 1999, succeeding the 'Raad voor de Campusvoorzieningen' and the 'Campuscollege'. This students' union is largely funded by the university and responsible for most activities not related to education, such as sports and culture. It is also an umbrella organization for close to 100 student organizations at the university. The board is not elected: any student can apply for a one-year term. Selection is performed by a subcommittee of the 'Raad van Toezicht'. The board consists of six members, all full time.

Lastly, the Netherlands has an (unofficial) student union for its students that study abroad: Netherlands Worldwide Students
Netherlands Worldwide Students
Netherlands Worldwide Students , NEWS for short, is a Dutch student organisation based in Amsterdam.NEWS forms a worldwide network of Dutch students currently, formerly and prospectively enrolled at foreign universities or professional schools...

 or simply NEWS.

The Netherlands is also home to a unique case of student representation in which a local political party completely run by student gained seats during local town hall elections: STIP
Štip is the largest urban agglomeration in the eastern part of the Republic of Macedonia, serving as the economic, industrial, entertainment and educational focal point for the surrounding municipalities. As of the 2002 census, the Štip municipality alone had a population of about 47,796...


New Zealand

Students associations have a strong history in New Zealand of involvement in political causes, notably the Halt All Racist Tours
Halt All Racist Tours
Halt All Racist Tours was a protest group set up in New Zealand in 1969 to protest against rugby union tours to and from South Africa.-Chronology:...

 campaign during the 1981 Springbok Tour
1981 Springbok Tour
The 1981 South African rugby union tour of New Zealand was a controversial tour of New Zealand by the South Africa national rugby union team, known as "the Springboks"...

. All universities, and most polytechnics and colleges of education have a students association. Since the economic reforms of the 1990s and the introduction of user pays in tertiary education, students associations and the national body have shifted their focus to challenging inequities in the student loan scheme and high levels of student debt. Part-time work along side the introduction of internal assessment and the change of semester structure has been attributed to the declining involvement in extracurricular activities and a shift in focus of the student movement from mass protest to lobbying.

Previous to 1998 membership of Students' Associations was compulsory at all public Tertiary Education providers (universities, polytechnics and colleges of education). In 1997 the centre-right National
New Zealand National Party
The New Zealand National Party is the largest party in the New Zealand House of Representatives and in November 2008 formed a minority government with support from three minor parties.-Policies:...

 party proposed the Voluntary Student Membership
Voluntary student unionism
Voluntary student unionism is a policy, notable in Australia, under which membership of – and payment of membership fees to – university student organisations is voluntary....

 amendment to the Education act which would have made membership of Students' Associations voluntary at all Tertiary Education Providers.

However the National Party relied on support from the centrist New Zealand First
New Zealand First
New Zealand First is a political party in New Zealand that was founded in 1993, following party founder Winston Peters' resignation from the National Party in 1992...

 party to pass legislation. The New Zealand First party preferred that Tertiary Students themselves choose whether their provider should be voluntary or complusary and pushed through a compromise to the amendment that allowed for a Compulsory Vs Voluntary referendum to be held at every public Tertiary Education Provider. The amendment also allowed for subsequent referendums which could not be held until at least two years had passed since the previous referendum and only if a petition was signed by 10% of the student populace.

The first wave of referendums were held in 1999, in which several Polytechnics and two Universities (the University of Waikato
University of Waikato
The University of Waikato is located in Hamilton and Tauranga, New Zealand, and was established in 1964. It has strengths across a broad range of subject areas, particularly its degrees in Computer Science and in Management...

 and the University of Auckland
University of Auckland
The University of Auckland is a university located in Auckland, New Zealand. It is the largest university in the country and the highest ranked in the 2011 QS World University Rankings, having been ranked worldwide...

) elected to become voluntary. In 2002 a second referendum was held at the University of Waikato and students choose to return to compulsory student membership. Similar referendums at Auckland University in 2001, 2003 and 2005 have all elected to retain voluntary student membership.

Most of New Zealand Tertiary students' associations are confederated under the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations
New Zealand Union of Students' Associations
The New Zealand Union of Students' Associations is a representative body that advocates for the interests of tertiary students in New Zealand. It has 14 member students' associations, with a combined membership of over 180,000 students...



In Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, every university is instructed and required by law to have a Student Union elected by the pupils/students at the school. The goal for every Student Union is to improve their school environment through encouraging social, cultural and other extracurricular events that is happening in the local community. The student unions in Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 is governed by a Board of Directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

 which is elected directly from the Student Council.


In Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, every university, polytechnic institute and any other higher education schools has their own students' unions. Union organizations are generally aimed to organize and promote extracurricular activities such as sports and culture events, parties, and academic festivities. At the same time, they also act as "labour unions for students" promoting and defending the student's points of view and rights, and dealing with the teaching institutions and the State's education agencies policies. The oldest and biggest students' union of Portugal is the Associação Académica de Coimbra
Associação Académica de Coimbra
The Coimbra Academic Association is the students' union of the University of Coimbra . Founded in Coimbra on November 3, 1887, it is the oldest students' union in Portugal...

 (founded in 1887) which belongs to the students of the University of Coimbra.


The Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 has a complex student union.
The usual names used are:
  • student government
  • student council
  • student body

The Student Government Program of the elementary and secondary schools is handled by the Department of Education
Department of Education (Philippines)
The Department of Education , is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for the management and governing of the Philippine system of basic education. It is the chief formulator of Philippine educational policy and is responsible for the Philippine primary and secondary...

 while the student councils in state universities and colleges is under the Commission on Higher Education
Commission on Higher Education (Philippines)
The Commission on Higher Education of the Philippines, , abbreviated as CHED. The CHED is attached to the Office of the President for administrative purposes...


Elementary and Secondary Level

Every public and private elementary and secondary schools under the Department of Education (DepED) has its own student governments.

Tertiary Level

Every private and state college and universities in the Philippines has its own student councils. In a university, there is a university student council and every college has its college student council. If a university has external campus(es), the external campuses has its own student council. The student councils within the university (main campus and external campuses) has the student regent, which would represent studentry of the whole university. One example of that is of the West Visayas State University
West Visayas State University
West Visayas State University ,WVSU, is a state university in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines with its main campus in La Paz, Iloilo City. It is one of the twenty accredited Philippine Universities of the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific...

 and Central Philippine University
Central Philippine University
Central Philippine University is a non-stock, non-profit Christian institution of higher learning in Iloilo City, Iloilo, Philippines. It was founded in 1905 by American Baptist missionaries as an elementary school for poor boys which eventually opened up a high school in 1920. It converted into...


Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, each state university has several Students' unions with formal links to respective faculties. However most of these have political affiliations and function as proxies of these political factions. Many union take an active political role within the university and in the country as a whole. This frequently lead to much clashes between rival students' unions or the authorities.


At Swedish universities, students' unions are responsible for representing the students in evaluation of the education and decision-making within the universities. The union normally holds about one-third of the votes within every decision making body and thus holds a great deal of power.

Membership was mandatory by law until 1 July 2010 and students had to pay a membership fee usually between €20 and €40.
Now the students' unions receive financial support from the government based on how many students that belongs to them (which is decided by the course of study of the students).
Most student's unions take out membership fees to allow them to also provide more than representation within the university.

The unions are usually governed by a general assembly of elected representatives. Students' unions generally provide counselling
School counselor
A school counselor is a counselor and an educator who works in elementary, middle, and high schools to provide academic, career, college access, and personal/social competencies to K-12 students...

 services to its members and publishes their own magazines or newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

s. Large universities often have several students' unions, where the smaller students' unions only provide basic services. Larger students' unions often own and run their own facilities at the university such as shops, restaurants and night clubs. Many students' unions, but not all, are affiliated with the Swedish National Union of Students
Swedish National Union of Students
The Swedish National Union of Students , is an umbrella organisation of students' unions at higher education facilities in Sweden. The organisation was founded in 1921...

. In addition to the national umbrella organisation, there are also regionally based representative bodies, such as the Stockholm Federation of Student Unions
Stockholm Federation of Student Unions
The Stockholm Federation of Student Unions is an organisation for cooperation between students' unions in the Stockholm region. Through its 52 affiliated student unions SSCO represents around 80 000 students. Founded in 1896, the organisation’s original focus was providing services to the students...


United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a long history of student unionism at a local and national level. The oldest students' union in Britain is St Andrews, founded in 1864, and the oldest in England is believed to be University College London Union
University College London Union
University College London Union , founded in 1893, has a credible claim to be England's oldest students' union. It was formed with the following objectives: "the promotion of social intercourse and of the means of recreation, physical and mental, of the students of University College, and the...

, founded in 1883. Most bodies are termed unions, however there exist a number of guilds and students' associations. Students' associations is a popular term in Scotland, as historically there were separate men's and women's unions focused on societies and entertainment with representation to the university carried out by separate Students' Representative Council
Students' Representative Council
A Students' Representative Council represents student interests in the government of a university, school or other educational institution. Generally the SRC forms part of a broader Students' Association which may include other functions such as societies, entertainments and sports Universities...


Most students' unions in the UK are affiliated to the National Union of Students, although there exist other national representative bodies, such the National Postgraduate Committee
National Postgraduate Committee
The National Postgraduate Committee of the United Kingdom represents postgraduates at UK universities. Since 2002 it has held charitable status...

, the Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland
Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland
The Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland is a body representative of students in Scotland founded in 2001 by the Students' Associations of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities, and Glasgow University's Students' Representative Council.CHESS was founded in 1999 out...

 and the Aldwych Group
Aldwych Group
The Aldwych Group is the group of students' unions of the members of the Russell Group of Universities in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1994, as a watchdog in response to the creation of the Russell Group....

, the association of students' unions of members of the Russell Group
Russell Group
The Russell Group is a collaboration of twenty UK universities that together receive two-thirds of research grant and contract funding in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1994 to represent their interests to the government, parliament and other similar bodies...


The world's oldest students' union building is the purpose-built Teviot Row House
Teviot Row House
Teviot Row House is one of the Student Union buildings at Edinburgh University, Scotland...

 at the University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh University Students' Association
Edinburgh University Students' Association provides services, representation and welfare support to matriculated students of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.-Composition:...

, built in 1889. The oldest in England is believed to be the Imperial College Union
Imperial College Union
Imperial College Union is the Students' Union of Imperial College London. It is host to many and varied societies, and has student bars situated around Albertopolis...

 building in Beit Quad, built between 1910–11 and designed by Sir Aston Webb. The two largest students' union buildings in the United Kingdom were at the University of Bristol
University of Bristol
The University of Bristol is a public research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. One of the so-called "red brick" universities, it received its Royal Charter in 1909, although its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.The University is...

 and the University of Sheffield Students' Union
University of Sheffield Union of Students
-Aims:Its mission is to act in the interests of all our members and has a vision to be the outstanding student-led organisation in the UK. It was also voted best Higher Education Students' Union in the country at the first ever NUS awards ceremony in 2008....

. As of September 2009 the largest student union in the UK is 'The Forum' at the University of Hertfordshire
University of Hertfordshire
The University of Hertfordshire is a new university based largely in Hatfield, in the county of Hertfordshire, England, from which the university takes its name. It has more than 27,500 students, over 2500 staff, with a turnover of over £181m...


See also

  • American Student Government Association
    American Student Government Association
    The American Student Government Association was founded in 2001 as America's first professional association serving and supporting collegiate Student Governments and Student Government Associations. ASGA was founded by Oxendine Publishing, Inc., which since 1983 has published magazines, books, and...

     (ASGA). A professional association for collegiate Student Governments across the United States, providing databases, research, best practices, training conferences, and consulting.
  • Class President
    Class President
    A class president is usually the leader of a student body class, and presides over its class cabinet or organization within a student council, in a grade school class presidents are generally elected by the class, a constituency composed of all students in a grade level.The practice of electing a...

  • National Association of Nigerian Students' (NANS)- an organization with well over 50 university union across the nation.
  • European Students' Union - an umbrella organization of 45 national unions of students from 36 European countries.
  • EUROAVIA - The European Association of Aerospace Students.
  • National Union of Students of the United Kingdom
  • Student activism
    Student activism
    Student activism is work done by students to effect political, environmental, economic, or social change. It has often focused on making changes in schools, such as increasing student influence over curriculum or improving educational funding...

  • Student court
    Student court
    A student court is a type of judicial system occasionally seen in schools, particularly middle school, high school, and in some colleges and universities. Student Courts vary in size and functions, but they are most often engaged in conflict resolution and interpretation of student bylaws and...

  • Student-body president
  • Student Government Program of the Department of Education
    Department of Education (Philippines)
    The Department of Education , is the executive department of the Philippine government responsible for the management and governing of the Philippine system of basic education. It is the chief formulator of Philippine educational policy and is responsible for the Philippine primary and secondary...

     - Center for Students and Co-curricular Affairs
  • Student voice
    Student voice
    Student voice describes the distinct perspectives and actions of young people throughout schools focused on education."Student voice is giving students the ability to influence learning to include policies, programs, contexts and principles."...

External links

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