Why was the lifetime membership withdrawn?

Cori Haws submitted on

Friday 18th October 2019


The lifetime membership option was a useful way to allow Alumni to easily participate in Union socieities. 

Now the the lifetime membership has been withdrawn, Alumni are expected to fork out £25 per year to remain involed in societies that they may well have been a part of for all of their university life. They would then be expected to pay whatever club membership fee (which would actually put up yearly membership of my society to £50).

As the lifetime membership and the current associate membership has significnat restrictions for example not being eligible to be on the committee of socieites, or vote in society elections, so unless they wanted to use other union facilities the only remaining argument for requiring a union membership seems to be that the union will provide insurance. Howerver, not all societies require the union insurance (as they have activity specific insurance through membership of another organisation), so in cases like this why should they have to be union members paying £25 per year if they don't get a vote, can't be on committee, and otherwise do not use Union facilities?

I would like to know why the lifetime membership was removed, and if a more reasonably priced full Alumni or a "Union Society's" membership could be introduced, if the lifetime membership is not reinstated...


Let's keep this space positive and respectful! Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions, but please remember to keep the conversation friendly and avoid any offensive comments.

Joanne Lisney submitted on

Tuesday 29th October 2019


Hi Cori,

We reviewed the old offering which included associate / temporary and life memberships.  We compared our membership offering to other SU’s. There was functionally no difference between temporary and associate, and therefore trustees chose to remove temporary membership.  In fact, all of the different types of membership essentially gave the same benefits.

For lifetime membership, the driving factor behind this was compliance with GDPR regulations – this was a common finding from other unions too.  As far as we were aware, very few people actually used their life membership beyond their initial year of graduation.  With GDPR in force our obligations to maintain records increased significantly, and this would put strain on our resources. Due to this, the trustees chose to remove lifetime (although honouring existing holders) membership.

Associate membership was actually cheaper for people in the first year and as we believe most users were only for that first year, this provided a slight saving to those individuals. 

Also, in terms for being a Union Member to be in a club or society even if they don’t need insurance – actually they need it just to be using our facilities (Stags, Bridge etc). All of it is for the benefit of students.

Kind regards,

Jo Lisney VP Education&Democracy 2019-20, (vpeddem@soton.ac.uk)