Get involved

The world première took place at our Lakeside Theatre.

Always wanted to test your ultimate frisbee skills? See yourself dazzling under the bright lights of the stage? Want to help change the world? Now's the time to try something new, rediscover an old hobby or find your voice.

Get stuck in

You can choose from art, sports clubs and societies to make your Essex experience unforgettable.

Good work experience is unbeatable, which is why we provide lots of opportunities for this through placement schemes, volunteering and career skills development.

  • Arts

    It’s impossible to get bored at Essex. With an extensive arts programme involving music, theatre, exhibitions, and a world-renowned Latin American art collection, we play a major role in the cultural life of the region.

    Paintings, sculpture, film, installation and photography all made up this portrait of student talent at Essex, find out more about our Student Open Art Exhibition in this video:

    What our students say

    Tricia Beer

    Emily Armstrong

    Third year BSc Genetics

    Not content with just being a great uni, Essex also has a world of culture on offer, easily accessible to every single student.

    Lakeside Theatre

    The Lakeside Theatre is home to a variety of shows, ranging from Jeffrey Lewis and the Jrams to Omeros, a Nobel Prize-winning epic, performed by Josesph Marcell (from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air!). Alongside these events are comedy nights, workshops, and performances by our own incredibly talented drama and theatre arts students.

    Every Friday in the Lakeside Café, you’ll find The Hook – a free open mic event, where all students (and non-students) can scribble their name on the chalkboard, stand up, and do something awesome. From singing to stand-up to spoken word, everything’s welcome.


    Essex is also the proud home to ESCALA (or the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America), which is a 700-piece strong collection of art, ranging from 1900 to the modern day, and is a world-renowned curation, for all students to use. From sculptures dotted around campus, to entire exhibitions held at firstsite and in Southend, it’s a fantastic way to get a bit of culture in without even realising.

    Art Exchange

    Art Exchange on the Colchester Campus is a diverse and fantastic creative space, again available for all students. Alongside having free exhibitions from global artists, using a variety of different media, private views, banner-making workshops, African drumming sessions, art skills exchanges, and live performance art, it’s also a great place to have a quick break during the day. Never satisfied with the ordinary, Art Exchange has so far released 15-foot lobsters, singing post-boxes, and a pair of Victorians on the lookout for depravity – what they’re planning next is anyone’s guess!

    Historic location

    A final fact-nugget to top all of this off, is that the famous landscape artist John Constable painted Wivenhoe Park (home of our Colchester Campus) in 1816. You can just about work out where he sat near the library too.

  • Sports clubs and societies

    Work hard, play hard

    This is your chance to pursue your passions. You can meet like-minded people or try out something new with our SU’s 165 sports clubs and societies.

    From the departmentally-focussed and culturally-based, to the downright weird and wonderful (Harry Potter Society, anyone?), there’s an SU society for everyone. Whether you enjoy cringing through those ‘so-bad-they’re-good’ films, have a passion for cheese and wine, want to gain even more support and experience in your subject, or just want to see some friendly faces from your home country, the chances are there’ll be a club or society for you to join. If you can't find what you’re looking for, why not set one up?

    What our students say

    Kit Cherry-Hulley

    Kit Cherry-Hulley

    Third year BA History and Politics

    I joined 11 societies and never looked back!

    I don’t think I could possibly name all of the societies at the University of Essex if I sat and thought about it for an entire week. I’m not even sure what some of the ones I’ve heard of do. There’s just so much variety and so little time to try it all. From the Cheese and Wine Society to sci-fi – whatever you’re after, the chance is Essex will have 20 or more people to do it with you.

    I joined 11 societies in my first year and never looked back. I’m now part of the executive committees on four, and I try to get involved with everything, and so far, I’ve loved every minute of it.

    Getting stuck in is the best way to experience student life, you’ll meet all sorts of people, do weird and wonderful things, find new hobbies, acquire arcane knowledge of lovely things, and all of it will cost you so little, it’ll feel like cheating!

    For those with eyes on a prize job, it’s endlessly useful to have experience running projects and events, something I’ve been getting involved in, and if you’re up for a good time, joining a club or society is the best way to do it. I’ve helped to run several nights. My personal favourite was the 5.300 20s club – I’ll never quite forget swanning into the SU Bar, extravagantly clad in a cream three-piece suit to a smatter of applause; it’s a memory to treasure.

    What our students say


    Third year BSc Biological Sciences

    There really is something for everyone

    There are so many clubs and societies at Essex, you’ll struggle to choose which ones to join. But because the clubs are free, I guess you could join them all! You can join societies that are departmental, religious, arts-based, musical, or cultural – there really is something for everyone, so make sure you check them all out at the Freshers' Fair.

    I’m a member of the Snowsports club and the Biological Sciences Society. The Biological Sciences pub-crawl around Colchester was very memorable for a number of reasons. I definitely recommend joining just for that. It was great to meet so many people in one night and go out to different places.

    Which is the most unusual club or society? I’d say the Harry Potter Society is pretty unique. Join it if you want to be sorted into a house and then chosen to play on the Quidditch team.

    It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests, especially very early on in your first year. You’ll become really good mates with the people in the clubs and societies, you’ll go out with them all the time for socials and events, so I’d definitely recommend getting involved! There are all sorts of events, from trips to other countries, careers fairs, quizzes, socials, volunteering and fundraising.

    What our students say

    Tricia Beer

    Tricia Beer

    Second year LLB Law

    You can even start your own society

    There are hundreds of societies available to students. You can even start your own society, so in that sense, it’s unlimited. I’m a member of the Law Society and Metal Society at the moment, but I’m planning on joining more at Freshers’ Fair.

    Joining a club or society means you make new friends, you can take your mind off studying for a couple of hours and do something you enjoy. There are loads of events put on by societies. I go to Metal Meltdown, which is put on by the Metal Society. I learnt to ice skate with skating society.

  • Sports facilities

    Get your kit on

    You know that motto 'a healthy body means a healthy mind'? Well here at Essex, it’s not just your brain we’re interested in training. We know that exercise improves your mental wellbeing, can help keep you calm during those stressful exam periods, and boosts performance in your studies.

    So whether you want to pump some iron in our state-of-the art gym; shimmy those hips in a Zumba class; or grab yourself a racket and head down to some no-strings badminton with Just Play, you’re sure to have fun and make a load of new friends along the way. And the best part? Being a member of Essex Sport is absolutely free, meaning you’ll have access to a whole host of sports opportunities, and not pay a penny!

  • Students' Union

    Welcome to the family

    When you join Essex, you’ll automatically gain over 11,000 new brothers and sisters – your Students' Union family. This lot won’t steal your clothes, tell on you, or fight you for the TV remote – they’re here to support you, make sure you get your voice heard, and help you make the most of your time at Essex.

    Our award-winning Students’ Union is one of the most active in the country, and with events on every night of the week, hundreds of clubs and societies to join, and opportunities for volunteering and paid work, you’ll never run out of things to do.

    We’re building generations of past and present Essex students, find out about the SU Heirloom.

    Discover more

  • Employability and careers

    You’re hired!

    What do you want to be when you grow up? Maybe you haven't got a clue, or perhaps you’ve always known your dream job, but aren’t quite sure how to get it. That’s where our Employability and Careers Centre can help.

    Shortlisted in the National Placement and Internship Awards for outstanding work to support students in 2013, they’ll provide you with help and advice, and the chance to develop your employability through some truly fantastic and unique experiences and opportunities.

Employability advice

Our Careers Centre

Our Employability and Careers Centre helps you develop the skills for a successful career. Our friendly staff and excellent resources help you to make informed career choices and to enter your chosen field.

Clubs and societies

Clubs and societies

You can choose from more than 165 clubs and societies at Essex. These cover the arts, sport, politics, culture, music and more more, giving you a chance to discover new talents or develop new interests.

Students' Union

Students' Union

Our Students' Union (SU) is one of the most active in the country. Our SU will be there to offer you support, plus the opportunity to join numerous clubs and societies and to enjoy lots of events and nights out.

Sports facilities

Our sports facilities include outdoor pitches stretching across 40 acres as well as extensive indoor facilities.