Spotlight on Strath Societies – Hot Air Balloon Society

Students in the basket of a hot air balloon getting ready to take off

In 2019, our Founder and President Sheik Abdul Malik joined the University of Strathclyde as a Doctoral Researcher in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering. Having already been a keen member of the Bristol University Hot Air Balloon Society during his undergraduate studies, he was eager to share his passion for ballooning bringing that same energy and enthusiasm for the activity with him to Strathclyde. He was surprised to find that the university didn’t already have a society dedicated to ballooning and quickly recognised this as a missed opportunity to engage all students and staff. So, he immediately established the Strathclyde University Hot Air Balloon Society (SUHABS).

Having worked with the Strathclyde Student’s Union to successfully set up the society, Malik was keen to take full advantage of all opportunities available to start flying and sharing his knowledge and experience with others. Having already attended numerous ballooning events across the UK whilst he was at Bristol, he was keen to take SUHABS along to as many as possible. Strathaven Balloon Festival is one of the largest ballooning meetups in Scotland and in 2019, the newly founded society participated in the much-anticipated event. There he was able to refine his skills and introduce hot air ballooning to other interested individuals who were keen to learn more about this well-established activity.

SUHAB President Sheik Abdul Malik at the Strathaven Hot Air Balloon Festival

However, seeing the great successes that balloon owners had in engaging and attracting new audiences coupled with his experience at Bristol where the club had their own balloon, he quickly turned his attention to a new project. He wanted to be in a position to purchase the University of Strathclyde’s very first hot air balloon, and focus on fully engaging the Strathclyde community in related ballooning events and activities. This would allow the university to become the only active hot air ballooning society in Scotland to own and operate a balloon, and he predicted that this would be an excellent opportunity to highlight Strathclyde to a global audience.

One thing that Malik didn’t anticipate however, was the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUHABS is a society that relies on the ability to travel, not just within the UK, but internationally, to participate in ballooning festivals and shows hosted by the global ballooning community. Now that the aim of the club was to be able to purchase a hot air balloon, the ability to travel to events and network with owners and enthusiasts was vital. As with many of the clubs and societies at the Strathclyde Students’ Union, our ability to fully develop has been significantly limited.

Off the Ground

Despite this, we have been using our time wisely to plan how we want to progress the society post-lockdown. We haven’t let the pandemic stop us from planning our approach for securing our own hot air balloon.

Hot Air Balloon with students around it

Already this year, with the help of the Strathclyde Student’s Union, we secured a large amount of funding to purchase our tethering equipment, an essential item for ensuring that the balloon is stable when we are holding tethered flights. Now we have our sights set on purchasing the hot air balloon itself.

Students in the basket of a balloon getting ready to take off

We have been working closely with designers and manufacturers over several months to create visual representations of how the balloon will look, what functionality it will have, and which competitions and festivals we can transport it to. Now, after, much preparation we are at the stage where we are ready to begin fundraising.

Hot air balloon


We recently we kicked off our fundraising campaign, and have been sharing our plans within our networks and throughout the University of Strathclyde. 

Generating the funds to purchase our balloon will be a challenging endeavour. We are relying on the generosity of Strath students, staff and alumni to help us to realise our ambitions. Your support is invaluable to us, and we really appreciate all of your kindness. If you would like to donate to our fund, then you can do so at the link below: 

We are also very proud to officially announce that Lawlor Technologies  who have supported us in numerous other projects is now one of our partners! 

Chris Lawlor is a Strathclyde Alumni who founded his own highly successful technology company. We are thrilled to have them on board with us in this exciting endeavour, and we can’t wait to work with them more closely over the coming months.  

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and our LinkedIn Page to stay up to date with all of our activities and events in and around campus.  

We are also looking to grow our society!  We encourage those with an interest in ballooning to come along and get involved! 

Written by Maisie Keogh, member of SUHABS
Got your own story to tell?  Get in contact here
Read more news here


BAME Rep Newsletter

Young people at the 2021 climate march

Why Young People’s voices are vital to tackle Climate Change

Movies - Man and woman with dog eating popcorn on sofa

Black History Month: 10 movies to add to your watchlist

Black History Month - light box spelling out BHM

Black History Month events happening in Glasgow

Mental Health and Wellbeing - the word hope spelt out using wooden letters and a green bow.

How to sustain good Mental Health and Wellbeing

Female Black Writers - girl reading book in nature.

10 Female Black Writers you should be reading

TEDx UniversityofStrathclyde

How To Mentally Prepare for University

Let’s Prepare for University!

Freshers 2021: Nightlife in Glasgow – Venues

Freshers 2021: Nightlife in Glasgow – Clubs

Freshers 2021: Nightlife in Glasgow – Bars

Freshers 2021: Restaurants We Recommend!

Freshers 2021: Coffee Shops

Freshers 2021: Lunch choices

Munro Bagging 101

Welcome Team Experience

Things To Occupy You This Summer

Author Dorothea

Using Goodmoves For Your Job Hunt

Private Accommodation

Living in Halls – Top Tips to find Private Accommodation

a man on the beach with arms outstretched celebrating the end of exams

Exams Are Done: Time to Relax!

BAME Rep – Nathan Update

Glasgow squinty bridge

Let’s Explore Glasgow!

a girl with her foot on the radio listening to tunes

Union Tunes – What we are listening to!

A koala leaning up against a tree as a visual metaphor for burnout

Burnout – How Life Under Lockdown Has Gotten to Us All

Spotlight on Strath Societies – Musical Theatre Society

Zero Waste Market Sustainable Shops in Glasgow

Sustainable Shops in Glasgow

The Record Factory Beer Garden with tables

Beer Gardens in Glasgow

Student looking stressed out over the Exams

Ways to Relax During the Exams

Star Awards Logo

STAR Awards 2021

Students in the basket of a hot air balloon getting ready to take off

Spotlight on Strath Societies – Hot Air Balloon Society

Woman holding a book over her eyes stressed about the upcoming exam

Study Tips for Exam Season

The Strath Debate team in the Chamber. A man has his hand on forehead in deep thought

Strathclyde Debate Society Interview


Easter Traditions around the World

Bedroom Nido Student Accomodation

Nido Student Accommodation

Former Sports President Maddy Watson and a representative from Bluevale Boxing Club

Bluevale Community Club – A Feel Good Sports Story

TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde Interview

LGBT Flags

Stonewall – A Riot for Rights


Ableism during COVID-19

Book with Glasses

LGBT History Month – Our Literature Picks!

native strath

Introducing Native at Strath Union….Our Brand-New Events Host

Watching TV

LGBT+ History Month – Our Top Movies and TV Shows

LGBT Pride Flag

LGBT+ History Month – Where It Began

Valentine’s Day from Home

A girl sitting cross legged on a sofa reading a book. There is a library in the background

Lockdown Reads – Top 3 books to help escape lockdown

Reach Out – A new student mental health programme

Strath Elections! Why should you get involved?

Haggis cropped

Burns Night at Home, a Strath Life guide!

The Organ Droner Concept

A Conversation with Strath AIS

Exam Top Tips

Tis’ the season! Exam season…

Strathclyde Women in Banking and Finance

Global Entrepreneurship Week – Women in Banking and Finance

Mane Man

The Digital Age and The Creation Of Mane Man Blog

Jennys Story

Covid Tales: ‘Jenny’s’ Story

Stammering Awareness Day with Strath Speechies!

Endsleigh – The Student Insurance to Protect your belongings

Phonics Logo

We chat with Strath IEEE about their new series of events!

RHA - Top Tech Tips

Studying From Home Top Tech Tips

Covid Relief Society | Meeting the Union’s latest society!

Buchanan Galleries

Buchanan Galleries Student Fortnight

Be a go-getter: Get that dream job using LinkedIn

What about us international students

What About Us?

Now is the Time to Start Writing Poetry

How to be Safe on Zoom

How to Use Zoom Safely

Strathclyde Film Society is utilising Netflix Parties

food sharing

Glasgow Restaurants and Strath Foodsharing help those in need

Mural Trail

Discover Glasgow’s Mural Trail

Clubs and Societies in Lockdown

30 Clubs & Socs To Try In Lockdown


Getting Ready, Ramadan is Approaching!

Keeping Fit at Home

Keeping Fit at Home

Self-Isolation Mental Wellbeing