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Families at the Graduate Union

Can I use the GU?

The University of Cambridge Graduate Union is available for:

-          Matriculated graduate and postgraduate students

-          Mature undergraduate students (i.e. anyone who is over 21 when they start study)

-          Part time graduate and postgraduate students, including those doing distance learning

-          Members of the Cambridge Federation

-          The spouses, partners and families of any of the above

In other words, if your spouse, partner, parent or carer is a graduate, postgraduate or mature student at the University, the GU is for you.

What can the GU do for me?

The GU provides a number of services for families, including regular events for children and advice services.

GU Parent and Toddler Coffee Morning


Every Friday morning throughout both term and vacations, the Cormack Room at the University Centre is the home to GU Parent and Toddler Coffee Morning.  The Coffee Morning is a great place to meet other student parents, spouses and partners, and for preschool children to play together.  The Coffee Morning starts with a drop-in session from 10, and from 10:30 to 12 activities for the children are organised by the GU’s Groupworker, Suzie Buttress. 


Saturday Screening


Saturday Screening is a fortnightly film matinee hosted by the GU during terms.  Films are chosen to be family friendly, particularly targeting school age children and their parents. Free popcorn and snacks are provided.



Families Welcome Events

Every year, hundreds of new families arrive at Cambridge.  The GU, working with the University Childcare Office, NVS and MCRs hosts welcome events for new families to meet each other and to find out more about the wonderful opportunities Cambridge offers to families.


Fun in the Sun

The GU hosts a family picnic towards the end of the academic year for all graduate students, whether with families or not.  In 2016, the picnic was almost rained off and so we almost held it indoors, but the weather cleared at the last moment and so a good time was had in the sun after all.

Families Advice




The Students’ Unions  Advice Service is an impartial service provided by the GU and CUSU to support students with the challenges that arise while at Cambridge.  SUAS is particularly used to working with international student families, and has a long track record in helping students reconcile the potentially conflicting demands of family life and study.

What can I do to change things?

The Graduate Union exists to serve the graduate student community at the University, and so one of the most important roles it has is making sure that your voice is heard in the University.  The Collegiate nature of Cambridge, its long history and its democratic processes, means that the University is often very open to students’ views and is keen to make sure that groups that can be excluded are represented.  The families of graduate students is one that the University is particularly keen to see supported and so if you have any areas that you feel that the University can provide more support, please contact the GU President.

Getting involved

As with all activities in life, what you get out of your time in Cambridge will be directly proportional to the amount that you put in.  There are many ways to get involved in family activities.

  1. All colleges have an MCR and many MCRs arrange events for families.  Go along and support your college events.
  2. If your MCR does not have a Families Officer, consider running for the role yourself.   Speak to your MCR President to find out more.
  3. The GU and other University groups also run events for families.  For example, every the University runs a very popular Holiday Play Scheme for children from reception to 15 years old.  Many of these events rely on word of mouth to promote themselves so help share the news with friends and colleagues.
  4. Join the GU Families Group which meets termly to plan University wide events for familes.  Contact the Families Officer for more details.
  5. Join the Cambridge University Student Parent Facebook Group and share your experience of being a family at the University