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    I got a leaflet about this the same day as my Freshers' pack arrived. Apparently it is not related to the Students' Union but hosts debates and club nights and stuff. There is an offer on at the moment - £75 for lifetime membership.

    Is anyone currently a member and is it worth it? It sounds pretty good with prominent politicians and other public figures appearing in the debates, but I'm not sure if I'd actually end up having time to go.
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    (Original post by androidkiller)
    I got a leaflet about this the same day as my Freshers' pack arrived. Apparently it is not related to the Students' Union but hosts debates and club nights and stuff. There is an offer on at the moment - £75 for lifetime membership. Is anyone currently a member and is it worth it? It sounds pretty good with prominent politicians and other public figures appearing in the debates, but I'm not sure if I'd actually end up having time to go.
    personally i wouldn't recommend it

    although the union does have its fans.
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    If you're interested in politics and current affairs, then the £75 is definitely worth it. The Union hosts some brilliant weekly debates with fairly big names from politics, media and academia. Some of them can be a bit dry, but others can be electrically tense or light-hearted and very, very witty. If you're serious about it and like debating you can even get involved yourself, and find yourself debating against recognised public figures.

    They host their own ents, which normally are a bit rubbish, but then aren't most student-run ents in Cambridge? They're fun enough though as long as you don't expect the words "unlimited" in an advert to actually mean unlimited (be it ice cream, champagne, pop corn or whatever).

    The £75 seems a bit steep but I think I've got the worth out of it even after one year, and it means you can come back to debates if you want your whole life, not just while you're a student. I know someone on the House external committee who's pushing them to introduce the option to pay the £75 over three years, to lessen the financial blow, but I don't think that's going to be brought in in the immediate future.

    If you're still not sure you want to pay out, there's normally a freshers' debate in the first week (on Thursday) which is open to non-members, so go along and get a feel for the place then.

    Don't rule it out offhand though!
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    The ents are absolutely awful, but the speakers are pretty amazing and £75 is a pretty good deal if you're very interested in current affairs and will recognise the names. The offer extends into Freshers' Week though, so you could go to the first debate of term (these are always open to everyone) and see what you make of it before committing yourself. I'm a member and feel that I've got my money's worth, but Sidney is the closest college to the Union so it's pretty easy for me to head down there. It also has some great facilities - their library is gorgeous and pretty empty most of the time, so it's a nice place to work. The people who run the Union do tend to be a "select few" which a lot of others resent, but it doesn't bother me too much to be honest.
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    Well, I'm less sure that I've got my money's worth. Partly my fault I suppose - I went quite a bit in Mich term, but then got ill for Lent and didn't go at all. By Easter term I just felt out of it and haven't been. I might start going again next year in an attempt for it to be worth it.

    And the Ben & Jerry's night sounds so much better than it actually is :mad:
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    What it is: queuing up for a good few hours to have 4 spoonfuls of icecream.
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    One of the people on the clare forums told me I shouldn't go near the place for it was a squalid hole full of backstabbing careerists
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    True, but they're easily avoidable. Just don't go to the bar after a debate...
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    (Original post by fishpaste)
    One of the people on the clare forums told me I shouldn't go near the place for it was a squalid hole full of backstabbing careerists
    Lol! Quite possibly true. The debates are entertaining, just don't get involved in the social scene.

    I loved being a member when I was there. Sometimes it gets some unfair flak and a bad press, but it varies from term to term with each President. Some run it in a way when actually it is great fun to get involved and there are really cool speakers, other times it hits a bit of a downer. Definitely worth looking at seriously as you can have great times there.
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    (Original post by androidkiller)
    I got a leaflet about this the same day as my Freshers' pack arrived. Apparently it is not related to the Students' Union but hosts debates and club nights and stuff. There is an offer on at the moment - £75 for lifetime membership.

    Is anyone currently a member and is it worth it? It sounds pretty good with prominent politicians and other public figures appearing in the debates, but I'm not sure if I'd actually end up having time to go.
    Well it cost me £70 more than a few years ago, and I thought it was worth it. Varies from term to term, but there were generally a few good debates, films and even some bops worth going to. The library and the bar were usually good escapes from college from time to time. Couldn't stand the committee types though!

    Oxford Union's special offer is £150 plus £7 per year , so Cambridge looks like a bargain.
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    (Original post by OldMan)
    Oxford Union's special offer is £150 plus £7 per year , so Cambridge looks like a bargain.
    They're not exactly equivalents though. Oxford's Union gives £1 pints, free entry to a (crap) club, and generally bigger speakers lured to the "world's most famous debating society" reputation (Dalai Lama, Michael Jackson, Gerry Anderson etc).
    The people who run the Union do tend to be a "select few" which a lot of others resent
    a squalid hole full of backstabbing careerists
    True, but they're easily avoidable
    don't get involved in the social scene.
    Couldn't stand the committee types though!
    Ouch! Why are the hacks so hated? They're putting in a lot of hard work; so what if they get a bit back in reward? In Oxford hacks as a whole are similarly perceived as self-interest backstabbers, but the individuals who do well are largely very popular people.
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    In fairness I think the Union has got really good recently- certainly last year was much better than the one before and I think it's great value for money. Apparently they're also going to be having clubbing there too this year so it sounds cool.

    And last year i went to see Sven Goran Eriksson, Hans Blix and Michael Moore, as well as Germaine Greer, Tony Martin and Tony Benn. And the new President is meant to be a really good guy, so I've got no complaints!

    I don't know, it seemed a great improvement in my last year. Normally it tails off after the start of the year, but that time it seemed to get better. They brought Gillian Anderson, Bruce Forsyth (who apparently brought his Miss World wife), Michael Howard, Carole Caplin, Jean-Mairie LePen and Victor Meldrew...and I seem to remember Radio 4 were there in Lent. And Tony Benn was definitely in last year cos I was there!

    I wouldn't say Cambridge got any lesser speakers in that year than Oxford, and (although I've only been to two) I think debates seem better in Cam imho. My cousin finished this year and he said the speakers were good but the debates had been better. I suppose it's each to his own, but there's normally something for most people if you make the time I think.


    PS - Are you in charge of the Union now? :rolleyes:
    PPS - Tara Palmar Tompkinson is dire-never go see her.
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    so what's the situation if you hear of a debate which sounds interesting which you want to go to, and you're not a member? Do you pay at the door or something?
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    (Original post by Willa)
    so what's the situation if you hear of a debate which sounds interesting which you want to go to, and you're not a member? Do you pay at the door or something?
    Afraid not; you just can't go.

    A few debates are open to non-members, and this will be publicised at the time. Normally it's the freshers' debate and then one or two throughout the year, especially when they're trying to get a tense chamber together (the debate this year on Israel and Palestine was open to all and you could just about cut the atmosphere with a knife).
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    I think the first debate of every term is open too.
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    I think so too. At least they used to be. I have to admit I left the year before last and found the Israel debates always to be too emotive...too many people have entrenched views I think (but I don't want to get into that!). I agree with the post above that that year it started to get better as the year went on and I went more in my last term than I had done previously, so it's quite likely they've built on that improvement. It does depend on individuals in charge and my last guy was great and the Le-Pen event was awesome and awesomely scary. You don't get chance to go to an event like that with someone who is so vile and loathed but still a global figure in many places. So -as it varies -I'd advize you to go along and see what you think.

    You also used to be able to pay for some events on the door. That could have changed though.
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    (Original post by danhamilton)
    I think so too. At least they used to be. I have to admit I left the year before last and found the Israel debates always to be too emotive...too many people have entrenched views I think (but I don't want to get into that!).
    Really? Not that I want to get into that either, but (as an example) I went to This House Believes Ariel Sharon is the Greatest Threat to Peace in the Middle East last year, and I think a large number of people were won over by the pro-Israel side. The (traditionally) left-most side of any debate usually wins (e.g. condemning America, supporting gay rights) but the pro-Israel side actually won that debate which I didn't expect.

    Certainly, I went in as a "yes" but ended up voting "no". It's the debates where you fundamentally change your mind that are the most interesting.

    I would hope that rather than taking all the Union-bashing to heart, anyone interested in what the society offers goes to the free events in freshers' week. The £75 membership offer lasts all week IIRC.
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    While we're on the subject, can anybody confirm for certain that you have to pay a fiver to get a replacement union card? *hoping this isn't the case* Damn their small size!!

    As for Cambridge v Oxford: At least the Cambridge Union didn't resort to inviting Charlotte Church last year to up the numbers of celebrities on their roster though from what I hear Oxford's is generally considered to be better, but since they charge double for membership I reckon we get a good deal out of it.
 
 
 
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