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NEW Digital Archive Exhibition: 50 Years of the OU Students Association

Black and white photograph of the OUSA National Conference 1982The Open University Students Association (OUSA), in partnership with the University Archive team, is proud to launch a new digital exhibition created using archived materials showcasing the last 50 years of OUSA’s history.

Three years after The Open University (OU) received its Royal Charter in 1969, the Students Association was founded in 1972 to create a clear line of communication between the University and its students. The Association celebrated its 50th year in 2022, proudly looking back at everything that has been achieved over the last five decades to serve its members and amplify the student voice.

Through the online exhibition, you can discover how the Association campaigned for change against government cuts as the OU strived for parity with peers at traditional universities, find out where the journey to inclusivity and support services started, and view some of the Association’s own archival materials. There are a range of fascinating artefacts to explore, including photos taken from the first conference held by OUSA back in 1973, student campaign posters created for the petition against government cuts in 1985, and a recording taken in 1992 of an interview with students and staff about the start of a BSc programme at the OU.

“We’re so proud of this digital exhibition that so wonderfully displays the history and growth of the Students Association over the last 50 years. It really is inspiring to see what people can achieve when they come together to deliver collective action, and it’s clear when looking at this exhibition that the physical distance between OU students has never stood in the way of building a community of engaged distance-learners who are committed to improving things for the next generation.” - Dan Moloney, Chief Operating Officer.

Join us on our journey as we explore some of OUSA’s proudest moments from the last 50 years.