Opened this September, the Co-op is located on the ground floor of the Students’ Union. The store replaced the branded SU shop which sold stationary, NU merchandise and snacks. The former Union Shop offered a Student Perks discount to NU students who showed their smart cards.
While the new Co-op currently offers a discount of 10% on the presentation of an NUS card, Newcastle University students are not entitled to this as we voted to leave the NUS in May 2016. The constitution of the Students’ Union dictates that a referendum on NUS membership must be held every three years; an online cross-campus ballot in autumn 2018 showed that Newcastle University students wished to stay disaffiliated,
Graham Hattam, the Commerical Direction at the Students’ Union, claims that: “Our students are entitled to join the Co-op membership scheme which when you buy selected products and services from us, including our food stores, we put 5% of what you spend into your Co-op Membership account.”
The SU is working to introduce student discounts but there is currently no completion date for this scheme
This, however, is only half the discount that can be received by TOTUM card holders, which are available to purchase by all students at NUS-affiliated educational institutions. This means that students from Northumbria University, Newcastle College and many other institutions across the country will be able to receive a higher discount than Newcastle University students.
Some students have expressed their disappointment on this matter on the popular Newcastle confessions page “Newfess”. One anonymous student claimed it was a “bit shit that the Co-op in the STUDENTS’ Union doesn’t offer a STUDENT discount”. Another poked fun at the Co-op membership card claiming that they “can’t wait to save those few pennies on [their] ten pound purchases”.
Both Hattam and Katie Smyth, the President of the Students’ Union, claim that the SU is working to introduce the Student Perks programme to the store. This would allow NU students to access discounts specifically targeted to them using their smart cards.
However, there is currently no completion date for this scheme.