Words by Nik Taylor
Things move fast on The Student Room. Last July, we welcomed our 1 millionth member - and were inspired to launch the Student in a Million awards in celebration.



Last Friday, we officially moved to a fantastic new office right next to Brighton station and decided to celebrate (we like celebrating - any excuse for a party) by holding a big opening do.

Blimey, we thought. A million people. That's A LOT. But, guess what? We've got even bigger, and fast. Today, membership of The Student Room has rocketed by a further 20% up to almost 1.2 million people - something that makes your TSR the world's largest online student community.


That's even more people, and it means that, behind the scenes, the admin team that runs the site has been growing too. (We've come a long way since TSR was launched by one student from his bedroom.) In fact, TSR's admin team has grown so much that it got too big for the old office.


So, last Friday, we officially moved to a fantastic new office right next to Brighton station and decided to celebrate (we like celebrating - any excuse for a party) by holding a big opening do.

We invited universities minister David Willetts to officially open the office (and can confidently claim to have been the first people to ask him to unveil a commemorative plaque from within a Punch and Judy tent). And while the minister was here we also took the opportunity to ask him some of your questions.


We were really chuffed to be joined by winners and nominees from the Student in a Million awards, each of whom had their award presented to them by David Willetts. Read more about the Student in a Million presentation on the forums.


And we rounded off the event with a fantastic panel discussion about the rise of big online communities, welcoming Mumsnet and Doctors.net.uk to join us. Check out the Twitter hashtag #bigcommunities or how the event unfolded on Storify.


As we're based in Brighton, the office has a brilliant seaside theme - even including a central pier built with wood reclaimed from the world-famous Brighton Pier. You can have a look around, too - or check out this stop-motion movie of how the whole thing was put together.


Scroll down for more photos from the event.

David Willetts, minister for universities and science, opens the new office of The Student Room by unveiling a plaque within Punch and Judy tent!


David Willetts, minister for universities and science, opens the new office of The Student Room by unveiling a plaque within Punch and Judy tent!




Rowan Davies, head of campaigns and policy at Mumsnet, speaks during the panel discussion at The Student Room's Rise of the Big Communities event.


Rowan Davies, head of campaigns and policy at Mumsnet, speaks during the panel discussion at The Student Room's Rise of the Big Communities event.



David Willetts in conversation with The Student Room's MD, Jason Geall.


David Willetts in conversation with The Student Room's MD, Jason Geall.



Panel discussion during the Rise of the Big Communities event at The Student Room.


Panel discussion during the Rise of the Big Communities event at The Student Room.



Jake Haven, nominee in the Against All Odds category of the TSR Student in a Million awards, receives his certificate from David Willetts.


Jake Haven, nominee in the Against All Odds category of the TSR Student in a Million awards, receives his certificate from David Willetts.



Jeremy Chui, nominee in the TSR Superstar category of the TSR Student in a Million awards, receives his certificate from David Willetts.


Jeremy Chui, nominee in the TSR Superstar category of the TSR Student in a Million awards, receives his certificate from David Willetts.



Michael Smith, nominee in the Against All Odds category of the TSR Student in a Million awards, receives his certificate from David Willetts.


Michael Smith, nominee in the Against All Odds category of the TSR Student in a Million awards, receives his certificate from David Willetts.



Ria Sarrington, nominee in the Against All Odds category of the TSR Student in a Million awards, receives her certificate from David Willetts.


Ria Sarrington, nominee in the Against All Odds category of the TSR Student in a Million awards, receives her certificate from David Willetts.



Christina Stirling receives the winner's awards for the Against All Odds category of the TSR Student in a Million awards on behalf of her daughter, Lana Jennifer Maartens.


Christina Stirling receives the winner's awards for the Against All Odds category of the TSR Student in a Million awards on behalf of her daughter, Lana Jennifer Maartens.