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Our story

The OU Students Association was born in 1972, just a short few years after the Open University was established by Royal Charter. 

Our mission is to make a positive difference to all OU students and this is the underlying principle of everything we do. 

Setting up an Association for students was not an easy feat, and our foundation was announced in the January 1973 edition of SESAME, the OU students’ newspaper.

page 1 showing Association making headlines in newspaper
page 2 showing Association making headlines in newspaper
sesame news front cover showing millie marsland

The first President was Millie Marsland, who combined her studies with running a grammar school.

She had a campaigning nature and had fought hard to retain free milk in schools some years earlier. There were 33 other elected council members of the Students Association, including a Treasurer, Chair of the Executive and eight members of the Executive Committee.

They were gathered from all the OU regions and met for the first time at Walton Hall on 16 December 1972. 

Thanks to the help of the OU Archive, our team of Student Archivist Volunteers have scoured countless documents, student newspapers, books, and photo albums, uncovering prominent moments in our history. Thank you to everyone involved in this special project!