GSA and GU – a love story?

As you may have noticed in our latest issue, we suggested that GUM readers head down to the Glasgow School of Art exhibition ‘To Have a Voice’ and make some new, arty friends. We at GUM hope that Glasgow University and Glasgow School of Art students will mix a bit more in the future, and we’re pretty sure we’re not alone.

To make this happen, we suggest that you start off with taking a look at the following pages:

The Art School Union website:, here you will find exciting events and information about what’s going on at the new (temporary) Art School Union.

FOLD – GSA Student Magazine:, FOLD is GUM’s new best friend and brings you some inspiring content in an interesting format.

Next, GSA student Sophie Nicoll shares her thoughts on this could-be love story:

Prior to my first week as a fresher at Glasgow School of Art, I expected the stereotypical university experience – fancy dress, pub crawls, student events, drinking games – everything other universities offer. But, while GSA had a few social events within the art school in Freshers week, there were none that mixed with Glasgow University. While GU students were at the Pendulum DJ set, GSA Freshers were experiencing their first ‘Strip the Willow’ – a contrast indeed. To me, it was university life but with the sound turned down. The art school is a very small community and when I applied I didn’t quite realise how insular it really is. I assumed that the university and the art school were more connected than they actually are, but in actual fact each has a very separate social scene.

Moving so far from home can be even more intimidating when you’re put in a small community such as the art school. The art school social circle is exciting and constantly creative of course, but I would like the opportunity to meet people doing subjects completely different to mine, who share interests other than art with me. I feel cheated out of knowing these people. I strongly feel that establishing a real link between the two schools would be beneficial for both GU and GSA. I’ve spoken to GU students who would love to come to exhibitions at GSA, and I know many GSA students want to become part of societies at GU but aren’t sure how to go about it.

I think lack of communication is one of the main problems. I know that when I was a Fresher I had no clue about anything that went on in the university, and I would’ve loved more information about the Hive, societies and GUU events at the time. I think it’s particularly important for first years to know that they have the option to join GU clubs and societies, as when you’re in second or third year the focus is more on work and maintaining friendships than making new friends. And maybe it would be useful to GU students to have updates on when the next exhibitions at the art school are so that if they’re feeling arty they can come and see what GSA is all about.

I’m not sure whether it’s sheer lack of interest in the other that causes the two schools to remain separate or just student laziness. To be fair, GU is at least a twenty-minute walk from GSA and most students won’t stray that far if they’re busy. The area surrounding GU is beautiful and I know if I went to GU I’d spend all my time there rather than on Sauchiehall Street. The distance between the two means it’s more of an effort to advertise events to one another and as a result most students remain oblivious of the other school’s goings on. I’ve noticed that students who lived in halls shared with GU students in first year (such as Unite) have found it easier to get involved with he university from the offset, whereas the students who lived in halls for the art school missed out on lots of events just because they had no idea they were happening.

I find it strange that despite the fact that GSA students receive their degrees from GU and are welcome to join the clubs and societies at GU, there’s still such a wide divide between the two schools. When the Vic was still around as the art school union, there was a place that both groups gathered to socialise, but now that it’s under construction there isn’t really a common ground for everyone to meet on a regular basis. The only time I’ve actually spent time with GU students (excluding sweating beside them at the gym) was on Thursday nights at the old art school union. I’ve been to the Hive a few times and enjoyed myself, so maybe spending more time there is the key to meeting new people, but I couldn’t help feeling a little out of place there as I’m more of a pub kind of girl, and I felt a bit like a granny at a festival. However, the new temporary art school union is finally starting to take off as the year wears on and hopefully it will once again be somewhere that everyone wants to go.

In lots of ways I’m quite jealous of the social scene at GU, and that’s probably why I’m so keen to join in. The university is so vast in comparison to our little art school and it seems like there is always so much going on. Maybe all that’s needed is a few socials and a lot of alcohol for everyone to mix together. I think that with some liaising between the schools we could become more integrated. I don’t think I’m the only person who wants us all to get along – after all what’s wrong with meeting new people that you normally wouldn’t? Most of the people I have spoken to would love to have GU/GSA pub nights and nights out, but no one knows how to go about it. I think communication and distance are the main problems, but these are problems that could easily be overcome with the creation of a joint Facebook page and some well promoted nights out. At the end of it all we’re all just students in a small city, roughly the same age, trying to get a degree and have a good time. Art students are nice, I promise, come see for yourself!


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12 years ago

*Views expressed are individual and of a personal nature and should not be viewed as the opinions of GSA student body as a whole. 😉

11 years ago

nice site. good job.

9 years ago

Outrageously, GSA and GU cannot even mix through sport now. Let alone not being able to participate in sport is shocking and unfair enough, but there is no chance whatsoever to socialise with GU students on a weekly basis. The exclusion from sport teams is still having a drastic effect on GSA students today. Continuing many sports while a student at GSA is no longer possible.