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Student Life

In October 1965, there were 450 undergraduate students at the University of Warwick: today, over 23,000 students study here, including over 9000 postgraduate students. The ‘Voices of the University’ collection reveals the history of student experience at Warwick and the vibrancy of student life since 1965.

Students Union

When Warwick opened in 1965, there was no Students Union building. In 1968, one sabbatical officer argued that ‘as Warwick develops it will be essential to provide a central building of some form, in order to co-ordinate the social and administrative activities of students.’ Following years of planning and discussion, the Students Union building opened in 1975 and it underwent major renovation in 2008-9. The Students Union itself encompasses Warwick student societies, campaigns and provides welfare support for students.

  • Alexis Lyon Sinclair describes the Students Union and socialising in the early 2000s
  • Richard Wallace describes night life at the Students Union in mid-2000s

Living on Campus

Since 1965, many students have called campus home. The first student hall of residence, Rootes, opened in 1966 (Blocks A to L), followed by Benefactors hall, specifically for American exchange students coming to Warwick. Other blocks followed: Tocil (1972), Cryfield and Hurst (1973), Whitefields (1973), Redfern (1977), Jack Martin (1987-1990), Arthur Vick (1992-3), Claycroft (1993-7) and Lakeside (1998-2004).

  • Mike Haslam describes getting struck by lightning in the late 1960s in Rootes Hall

Living on campus or in local 'digs', university was often the first time that students had lived away from home. Many students, particularly in the early years of the university, were also the first in their family to attend university.

  • Ian Caldwell on cooking as a student in the early 1970s

Today, around a third of the student body come from overseas and over 120 countries are represented on the campus.

  • Debjani Ganguli shares her perspective on studying in the UK in 2013

Teaching and Learning

Teaching and learning remain central elements in university life. In 1965, the founding departmental professors and senior management stressed the importance of establishing links between research and teaching. The Robbins Report (1963) had stated that: ‘A teacher who is advancing his general knowledge of his subject is both improving himself as a teacher and laying foundations for his research.’ Research-led teaching remains a university priority today.

  • Jan Pollock on teaching and student life at Warwick in the late 1960s
  • Terence Kemp on teaching quantum physics in the mid-1960s

Did you know?

Pink Floyd, Cream and The Killers have all played at the Students Union

'On Campus', 1970

(dir. Stefan Sargent)

From Modern Records Centre, the University of Warwick Archive (UWA/AV/3/1). For more information on this film, consult the Modern Records Centre film page


Cryfield, early 1970s.

Courtesy of Mary Rose Kenning


Industrial Relations Research Unit, 1986
Courtesy of Jas Bains