Our Histroy

Our History

From modest beginnings of only 4 staff in 1973, ActivateUTS has grown to over 300 staff. We’re committed to supporting initiatives that engage a broader range of students at UTS and we want to continue enriching their university experience. We currently support over 130 affiliated clubs and societies with annual grants, scholarships, activities and events.

Key milestones for ActivateUTS history


  • Commencement of NSWIT Union
  • Staff of four operating out of a small office of the lower ground floor of Building 4 of the New South Wales Institute of Technology (NSWIT)
  • Membership was $2.50 per semester

By the late 1970

  • Limited facilities at Broadway
  • The Union ventured into trade with stationery shops at Broadway and George Street
  • We provided lounge areas, a small gymnasium, social and sporting programs and support for clubs and societies


  • Opening of Broadway Union Centre
  • We expanded operations with the help of a Commonwealth Government grant of $2 million funded the construction of the Union Centre on Level 3 of the Tower Building at Broadway
  • The Union employed its own staff, with around 50 people being permanent


  • Opening of Broadway Sports Centre
  • Purchase of Newsagency
  • Acquisition of Car Park
  • We achieved our first surplus


  • Opening of Markets Union Centre


  • Commencement of Careers Advisory Service


  • NSWIT gains University status and becomes the University of Technology, Sydney; NSWIT Union becomes UTS Union
  • Gallery Function Centre was opened
  • Purchase of Kookaburra Lodge
  • Purchase of the Imperial Hotel


  • Amalgamation with Kuring-gai CAE Students’ Association
  • Commencement of Legal Service


  • Acquisition of Haberfield Rowing Club
  • Extension of Markets Union Centre


  • Glasshouse extension to Broadway Union Centre
  • Relinquishment of Careers Advisory Service
  • Closure of Union Legal Service


  • Construction of UTS Sydney Boys High Stadium
  • Renovation of Markets Union Centre


  • Major Renovation of UTS Haberfield Club


  • We sold the Imperial
  • Relinquishment of Car Park
  • Major Renovation of Broadway Union Centre
  • Major Renovation of Kuring-gai Union Centre


  • Purchase of the College Shop
  • Renovation of Markets Union Centre


  • Renovation of the Loft
  • Improvements to Union Sports Centre
  • Extensions to Broadway Union Centre


  • Sale of Kookaburra Lodge


  • Incorporation of the Union
  • Rebuilding of the Union Sports Centre


  • Federal Government passes VSU legislation


  • Completion of new Fitness Centre
  • College Shop and Newsagency combine to form DAB Store and Newsagency
  • Launch of Advantage Program


  • First full year impact of VSU legislation leads to services contractions and staff losses
  • National Impact Study of VSU legislation undertaken by Australian University Sport and Australasian Campus Union Managers’ Association


  • Refurbishment of level 3, Building 1 Union Centre
  • Discussions with new Federal Government regarding solutions to negative impacts of VSU


  • The Union entered into a joint project with the University to build the Aerial Function Centre


  • Opening of Aerial UTS Function Centre on level 7, Building 10.


  • New combined retail and catering outlet at Haymarket campus opens.
  • Multi-Purpose Sports Hall opens
  • Legislation to enable the collection of student services and amenities fees passed by the Federal Parliament
  • CEO, Tom O’Sullivan passes away, November 10


  • Elizabeth Brett appointed CEO, 23 February 2012
  • Student services amenity fee introduced and ActivateUTS secures a long term funding agreement with UTS (until 2020)
  • Advantage Program discontinued
  • Development approval to proceed with refurbishment of UTS Haberfield Club


  • UTS Union celebrates 40 years
  • UTS Union commenced redevelopment of Haberfield
  • UTS Union Board approved the commencement of the physical redevelopment program, including the full refreshment of:
    • UTS Fitness Centre
    • Level 3 Food court & Underground Bar
    • Loft Bar
    • UTS Sports Stadium at SBH
  • UTS Union Student Board Directors created the Clubs and Societies Development Program, to assist Clubs in succession planning and all other operations.


  • UTS Union changes its name and brand to ActivateUTS
  • UTS Haberfield refurbishment completed and Club opens on April 10, 2014
  • All capital projects commenced in 2013 completed on time and within budget
  • Emeritus Professor Tony Moon steps down from the Board following 8 years of service


  • ActivateUTS breaks the 20,000 member mark for Clubs & Societies
  • ActivateUTS undertook a constitutional review to improve diversity
  • Kuring-gai campus closes
  • UTS finishes 3rd at the Australian University Games
  • ActivateUTS commences work to open a Physiotherapy space on campus


  • Physio opens in January
  • UTS finishes 2nd at the Australian University Games
  • UTS wins the Overall Point score for Intervarsity Sport
  • ActivateFit.Gym commences the second redevelopment


  • UTS wins the Australian University Games
  • UTS wins the Overall Point score for the second consecutive year
  • Towers Café undergoes a refreshment
  • ActivateUTS commences Digital Strategy Review