The Association of College Unions International

NUSUK has strong links with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), founded in 1914 it is one of the oldest associations of higher education in the world.

It was founded in the Midwestern United States by a group of students who saw the need for exchanging good practices and ideas to build a stronger campus community.

The members of the organisation are students and professional staff working in college unions and student activities. In the early 1990s the Association took the decision to seek members on a global basis. In 1993 a joint SUSOC (the precursor of the Association of Manager in Students’ Unions – AMSU) and ACUI conference took place in Scotland, hosted by the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association.

Since that time many colleagues have found value in comparing, contrasting and learning from their peers in the USA. For example a good deal of our approaches to facilities management and volunteer development fund their origins the states.

Of current interest is their approaches to Equality and Diversity work and professional development. Students' unions in the UK are members by virtue of their membership of NUS.

What does ACUI do?

The Association of College Unions International supports its members in the development of campus community through education, advocacy, and the delivery of services.

Their core purpose is to be the leader in advancing campus community builders, this work is underpinned by a set of core values that all member organisations buy into and support, unconditional human worth, joy, learning, caring community, innovation, diversity and integrity.

ACUI has a membership of 528 institutions, with 31 outside the USA, its headquarters are in Bloomington, Indiana. A team of 20 staff led by the CEO Marsha Herman-Betzen, organise the key events and activities and support teams of volunteers across the USA.

ACUI is divided into Regions and NUSUK is in Region VIII. The organisation is run by a Board of Trustees and the current President (appointed by the Board) is Kim D. Harrington-Pete from Georgia Institute of Technology.

ACUI organise a range of activities to support their members which include:

  • Communities of Practice
  • Procurement and preferred suppliers
  • Professional development opportunities including the student I-LEAD programme, the new Professionals Network and the Women’s Leadership Network
  • Careers advice and guidance student staff and interns can go onto a professional academic career within college unions
  • Professional Standards and Benchmarking
  • Regular Bulletin Magazine
  • The Commons – an online hub for professionals and students

Colleagues can find out more and connect with Region VIII via social media:

Twitter: @ACUIRegionVIII

You can also contact the Regional Chairperson Brenda Evans, Dean of Student Affairs & Event Services at UMass Lowell on or to find out more about ACUI in general here.