The Cambridge Union has just released its Easter 2024 term card

The Union could be the surprise highlight of this term


The Cambridge Union has unveiled its Easter term card, featuring a diverse lineup of debates, speakers and socials.

Neha Pauly, President of the Cambridge Union, believes this term will shift the narrative from “Why bother with the Union?” to “How have I stayed away this long?” by offering “more reciprocal memberships than ever before” and “some of the boldest conversations” in the Union’s recent history.

Debates

Debates this term kicked off on 25th April with three peers opposing the scrapping of the House of Lords and marked the return of Baroness Hayman, the Union’s second woman president, to the chamber.

The next debate will see Jordan Stephens of Rizzle Kicks and Judson Horras, President of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, discuss masculinity. 

Jordan Stephens, musician and actor (author’s own screenshot from @jordanfstephens)

With the Olympics and the Euros taking place this year, Eniola Aluko MBE, a former Lioness, and Tim Hollingsworth OBE, the CEO of Sport England, will argue that politics and sports shouldn’t be kept apart in the third debate, before former Attorney-General Dominic Grieve KC argues the West’s approach to Russia is regrettable in the following debate. 

Before the Union’s quiet period (23rd May – 9th June), the Women & Non-Binary Debate will see writer Chidera Eggerue, also known as ‘Slumflower’, argue that intent has ruined sex against erotic film maker Erika Lust.

Chidera Eggerue, also known as ‘The Slumflower’ speaking at the Oxford Union (authors own screenshot from @theslumflower)

Debates resume on 10th June with Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil, arguing that party politics is dead whilst opposed by the chairs of the Cambridge University Labour Club, the Cambridge University Conservative Association and the Cambridge University Liberal Association. 

Roger Hallam, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil (author’s own screenshot from @rogerhallamcs21)

This academic year’s debates conclude with 0utgoing Union President Neha Pauly and Dr. Agnès Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, proposing we live in an imperial world. 

This academic year’s debates conclude with 0utgoing Union President Neha Pauly and Dr. Agnès Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, proposing we live in an imperial world. 

Alongside the introduction of ‘Post-Debate Food & Drink’ sessions, with themed cocktails and free chips after every Thursday debate, floor speeches return with the best floor speaker in each debate receiving rewards ranging from a free Garden party ticket to a custom Jack’s Gelato flavour. 

Speakers and Panels

The Union’s lineup of speakers opened up with musical artist Che Lingo on 24th April, with speakers ranging from Tony-nominated actress Keala Settle to human rights activist Zhou Fengsuo set for the rest of the term. 

Keala Settle, actress and singer (Image Credit: Warren Saire)

In line with the Union’s mission to “highlight the issues of our time and facilitate open dialogue” the Union will host rapper Saint Levant. Levant, who currently has 1.4 million monthly listeners on Spotify, has used his platform to bring awareness to the ongoing war in Gaza, where he was raised.

Saint Levant performing at Coachella 2024 (author’s own screenshot from @saintlevant)

Here’s all the upcoming speakers listed on the term card: 

  • Monday 29th April at 7pm: Zhou Fengsuo, Executive Director of Human Rights in China, co-founder of Humanitarian China and Tiananmen pro-democracy student leader in 1989
  • Wednesday 1st May at 6pm: Johanna Konta, former British tennis player
  • Wednesday 8th May at 7.30pm: Peter Thiel, technology entrepreneur and investor, co-founder of PayPal and Palantir
  • Monday 13th May at 6pm: Keala Settle, American actress and singer
  • Sunday 19th May at 7pm: Saint Levant, rapper
  • Monday 10th June at 3pm: Marla Maples, actress and TV personality 
  • Monday 17th June at 3pm: Sam McAlister, former TV producer and author

The new ‘Speakers Ballot’ will see three member balloters join the Union’s guests at pre-event drinks receptions. 

On 14th May, the Union will host its first-ever panel discussion on the role of religion in society today, featuring various Cambridge and UK-based speakers.

Social Events

The Union has expanded its social events this term with the new additions of ‘President’s Tea’ on Tuesday afternoons and ‘Coffee and Newspapers’ on Sunday morning. More study spaces will be opened up for members during the quiet period.

The highlight of the Union’s Easter term social calendar is their Summer Party taking place on 15th June from 3:30pm to 7:30pm with unlimited food and drink, and live music. Tickets are £40 for members and £50 for non-members. 

Increased Membership Price

This term is the first since the Union raised the fee for Lifetime membership by £70 to £300. While the Union attributed this to “persistent inflation and growing upkeep costs” when commenting to Varsity, a source close to the Union told Varsity that the increase was “designed to combat declining revenue from failed membership drives.” The move has sparked debate about whether incoming freshers will find the Union’s membership cost justifiable.

Although Lifetime membership has been temporarily reduced to £190, this is only £10 less than the regular price this time last year.