Cambridge Union has just released its Michaelmas 2023 termcard: Here are the highlights

Discounts, Ben Shapiro, and Caroline Calloway, to name a few

The Cambridge Union are the largest society in the university, known for debating and free speech. Over 200 years old, it is also the oldest continually running debating society worldwide. Based on Bridge Street, membership is open to all Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin students. Every term, they release a schedule for their weekly debates as well as their talks, and here’s the breakdown.

“Treasurer’s Treats”

Stopped during COVID, these are benefits that you get from being a member of the Union. Most famously, you get a 20 per cent discount at Jack’s Gelato – and as an economics student I can tell you that you WILL make your membership money back from this alone. Other notable discounts include Woo Wednesday at MASH, which come at £4 entry and a free shot for Union members.


There are eight pre-released debates scheduled for this term as per usual, as well as a “presidential” ninth debate with the motion TBC. This term’s debates are very political, which is not unusual. Notable debaters include three MPs (Emily Thornberry, Robert Buckland and Tom Hunt) in the very first week, and former Justice of the Supreme Court Lord Sumption in week seven. There will also be an address from a “Senior Government Minister” on 30th November.

Notable Speakers

Ben Shapiro: Mr. Shapiro has a very successful political podcast and is a political columnist and activist too, releasing several pro-capitalism ‘right wing’ books. These include “The Right Side of History”, which laments the decline of Judaeo-Christian values in America; he also attended the last pre-Covid March for Life in 2019. He is a man with strong views, which should make for an interesting talk.

Strong views. Screenshot via Twitter.

Stella Assange: Recently married to Julian Assange, having met as part of his legal team, Mrs. Assange remains a key figure in the world of free speech and as an advocate for press freedom. As part of her work, she has made several speeches at the UN highlighting the difficulty and persecution that journalists face across the world.

Alexander Nix: If the name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe Cambridge Analytica, of which he is former CEO, will. Cambridge Analytica suffered a huge scandal, as a result of which Mr. Nix was suspended as CEO (and resigned shortly after). Cambridge Analytica were eventually banned from Facebook, and filed for insolvency soon after.

Protests following the Cambridge Analytica news. By jwslubbock, CC-BY-SA4.0

Atifete Jahjaga: As the third President of Kosovo, in office from 2011-2016, Ms Jahjaga is arguably the biggest name this term. Having started as a police officer, she rose through the ranks all the way up to Major General, giving her a background in public service and demonstrated her integrity. Thus, when the 2011 election of Behgjet Pacolli was ruled against, Jahjaga was a sensible, if not obscure choice. In office, she strengthened democratic instututions of the country and helped secure greater international recognition for Kosovo as a new country, having found independence in just 2008.

Jahjaga boosts Kosovo’s security and recognition in signing the US-Kosovo Agreement (2011).

Caroline Calloway: A former Cambridge student that rose to fame through social media influencing that started during her degree, Calloway is a divisive figure at Cambridge. Described as the “Gatsby of Cambridge” for her lavish parties, she fell into controversy when fellow classmate Natalie Beach claimed to have written many of her long instagram captions that helped her rise to fame, and also a planned book that fell through. Recent exploits of Calloway’s include OnlyFans, a unique brand of ‘Snake Oil’, and releasing a book described as a response to Beach’s essay calling her out.

Other speakers include: Philanthropist Jojo Mehta, chef Tom Aiken, Pussy Riot star and activist Olga Borisova, Film-maker Edgar Wright, known for films including Shaun of the Dead, UN figure Barbara Woodward, and Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle (MP).

The Cambridge Union also offers a range of events such as workshops, panels, boat parties and balls. The one to look out for this term is the Varsity Boat Party, a collaboration between Oxford and Cambridge Unions. All in all, it’s a very exciting term ahead.

Featured image credits: Steven Crowder (left) (CC-A3.0), Yiggie9 (right) (CC-SA4.0)

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