We want to make sure that you know how societies will use and manage your data, and your rights around that data. Below is the privacy statement used by all societies affiliated with Heriot-Watt University Student Union and covers general data use. At the end of each Society page on our website, is a Privacy section that outlines if that particular society has any amendments to the statement provided below. Please ensure you read this section for each society before you join or hand over any personal information.

We hope this will help keep it simple for you to understand how each Society will use and manage your data.

General Society Privacy Statement

Last revised: October 2020


All Societies promise to respect any personal data you share with us, or that we get from other organisations and keep it safe.  We aim to be clear when we collect your data and not do anything you wouldn’t reasonably expect.

Developing a better understanding of our members through your personal data allows us make better decisions, communicate more efficiently and help us have a positive impact.

Where we collect information about you from

We collect information in the following ways:

When you give it to us DIRECTLY

You will give us your information when you join the society. You may give us more information when you attend events or other activities we organise. When you give us this information we take responsibility for looking after it.

When you give it to us INDIRECTLY

Your information may be shared with us by independent organisations that our society may work with. These independent third parties will only do so when you have indicated that you have given consent to share this data with us. You should check their Privacy Policy when you provide your information to understand fully how they will process your data.

When you give permission to OTHER ORGANISATIONS to share

We may combine information you provide to us with information available from external sources in order to gain a better understanding of our members to improve our communication methods, products and services.

For example, depending upon your settings or the privacy policies for social media and messaging services like Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter, you might give us permission to access information from those accounts or services. Check your privacy settings on these platforms.

What personal data we collect and how we use it

The type and quantity of information we collect and how we use it depends on why you are providing it.

Our Members

When you join the society, your membership is recorded on Heriot-Watt University Student Union's website. We are given access to:

  • Your name
  • Your Student ID number

At the bottom of each Society's page on our website, you will find a privacy section that will notify you if they share your data in any other ways. This may be directly from you such as your emergency contact details if you are attending an event, or from the Student Union membership website if it enables the society to serve you better, such as your year of study.

Through Heriot-Watt University Student Union's website we are able to directly message members of our society. By default this will be your @hw.ac.uk email address but you can change your default address here if you wish. We do not have access to your actual email addresses unless you have specifically given it to us for another purpose.

We will mainly use your data to:

  • Administer your membership
  • Keep a record of your relationship with us
  • Ensure we know how you prefer to be contacted
  • Understand how we can improve our society
  • Register your membership with an external organisation

How we keep your data safe and who has access

We undertake regular reviews of who has access to information that we hold to ensure that your information is only accessible by appropriately trained staff and contractors.

We disclose your information to key supporters with whom we hold. These supporters are named below:

Supporter: Heriot-Watt University Student Union
Purpose: Affiliating body. You can find out the information Heriot-Watt University Student Union holds about students, and how it is processed, in the Student Privacy Statement here.
Address: Student Union, Riccarton, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS


Supporter: Heriot-Watt University Hospitality Services
Purpose: For room and stall bookings around the campus
Address: Riccarton, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS


Supporter: Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd
Purpose: Societies identified as having a higher risk of injury are covered by a Personal Accident Insurance policy. Members name and date of birth is shared with Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd to facilitate claims made by these members under this policy.
Address: Shurdington Road, Cheltenham Spa, Gloucestershire GL51 4UE


See the Privacy section at the bottom of our society page on HWUnion.com for any other people, groups or organisations that your society may share your data with.

We may need to disclose your details if required to the police, regulatory bodies or legal advisors.

We will only ever share your data in other circumstances if we have your explicit and informed consent.

Marketing & Communications Preferences

Membership Communications

As a member we believe you have a legitimate interest in hearing from us about the products and services we offer, what we’re doing to represent you and opportunities that might be of interest to you. Occasionally, we may include information from partner organisations, our own social enterprises or organisations who support us in these communications.

Members have the option to not receive communications from third parties if they wish.

Direct Marketing

As a society we need to fundraise to provide the services we offer. If we send marketing material on behalf of a sponsor, this will only be where you have told us that we can. We do not sell or share personal details to third parties for the purposes of marketing.

Controlling what you want to hear about

If you don’t want to hear from us about certain things, that’s fine. There will be a unsubscribe option at the bottom of any email we send you. You can also update your contact preferences at www.hwunion.com/contactoptions.

Keeping your information up to date

We mostly use the information you provide us when you join the society via Heriot-Watt University Student Union's membership data. This is updated daily by an automatic data link with Heriot-Watt University. If you are aware of any incorrect data we hold, please contact us directly (you will find contact emails for each society here). You can update your contact details at www.hwunion.com/contactdetails.

Understanding the detail of our data security measures

When we process your data we will have already carefully assessed the lawful justification for doing so, the parameters in which the data is processed, the length of time the data is held for, the secure storage of your data and undertaken impact assessments to ensure your rights are delivered.

Society Office Bearers with access to your data must first attend training provided by the Student Union on Data Protection and Information Security. The society will also uphold the requirements of the Student Union Data Protection Policy.

Your right to know what data we hold about you, make changes or ask us to stop using your data

You have a right to ask us to stop processing your personal data, and if it’s not necessary for the purpose you provided it to us for (e.g. processing your membership or registering you for an event) we will do so.  Contact us on our society email if you have any concerns. Society contact email addresses can be found here.

You have a right to ask for a copy of the information we hold about you.  If there are any discrepancies in the information we provide, please let us know and we will correct them.

If you want access to your information, please send a request in writing to us. You will be required to provide proof of your identity in person before your information will be provided to make sure we only provide personal data to the right person.

If you have any questions please contact us, and for further information see the Information Commissioner’s guidance here.

Changes to this statement

We may change this Privacy Statement from time to time.  If we make any significant changes in the way we treat your personal information we will contact you directly.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know by contact us. Our contact details can be found here.

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