Universities pride themselves on the range of societies they have on offer for students. So many students have found their true calling in life through some of the societies their university offers and have formed friendships for life.
What are university societies?
A university society is anything that involves a group of students for a specific activity or shared interest. These societies can be anything from a university radio station to a marble collecting club.
Some societies have had societies that have become deeply ingrained in the university’s and British culture. For instance, Footlights at the University of Cambridge is one of the foremost drama and comedy societies in the UK and has spawned the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry, Hughe Laurie, David Mitchell and Robert Webb.
Other universities have more weird and wonderful societies on offer. The University of Greenwich, London has the Gus Appreciation Society, a society devoted to the appreciation of the union’s cat, Gus.
Some universities may have a limit on the number of societies you can join, but this is rare.
Some universities run these societies as a means of members of a community to meet in a safe space. For instance, a university may run an LGBTQI+ society or a society for people of a specific faith.
What do the different positions in a society mean?
Each society has to have a group of people who are in charge of running it. The roles you and your other committee members will undertake will depend largely on the society.
The most common positions are:
- President/vice-president: The person who has the overall responsibility of the society. They will make most major decisions and will arrange meetings.
- Secretary: In charge of admin.
- Treasurer: Handles the finances of the society.
- Social secretary: Organises the society’s events and also keeps tabs on the events of other, related societies.
Most societies will not allow first-year students to join their committees. Any new committee members will need to be voted in during the society’s annual general meeting (AGM).
What are the benefits of joining a society?
The main benefit of a university society is that you can meet people, have fun and make friends. One of the main anxieties that students have when attending university is that they will struggle to make friends - however, joining a society gives you a good way of meeting people and making friends while bonding over a shared or common interest.
The other benefit is the support that these societies can give you some support. If you find that you are struggling with your course, you can join a course-specific society for support regarding your course. If you are struggling with more personal issues, the university may have specific societies where you can meet like-minded individuals who are experiencing similar issues to you.
How to join a university society
This will depend on the university and society. Most societies will have stalls open at most fresher’s fairs; this allows you to visit each stall and speak to the current members and find out which society interests you the most.
A university society is anything that involves a group of students for a specific activity or shared interest.
Some universities will have specific entry requirements. For instance, if you are joining a drama society, you will potentially have to audition for a place in the club or society. You will also likely be asked to pay a membership fee for most clubs.
Can joining a university society help with your future career?
Joining a society is a great way of improving your CV. These societies can often provide you with experience in specific areas, which can be hugely beneficial for your future career. For instance, if you want to become a radio producer, joining your university’s radio station is a fantastic way of gaining experience.
This is also a good way to showcase specific skills and abilities. For instance, if you organised a trip to Legoland for your university’s Lego Society, you have showcased your abilities for organising logistics and event planning.
How many societies should you join at university?
That’s up to you. We recommend not stretching yourself too thin, otherwise, you won’t have enough time for your actual studies!
Some universities may have a limit on the number of societies you can join, but this is rare. Think about how many you feel you can manage and what you are passionate about.
Can I start my own university society?
Yes, you can. You will need to research whether or not the society already exists and then begin the process of creating it.
The main benefit of a university society is that you can meet people, have fun and make friends.
Before doing this, you need to make sure that other people are interested too. Sounding out other students and seeing if they are interested in potentially joining your society is a very important step. Starting a poll on your university’s official Facebook page is a good way of getting quick results.
After this, you will need to write an application to your university. This application will need to have information about what the society’s aims are, where you will be meeting what funding (if any) you need, whether you need a license etc.
After this, the university will need you to select your committee. You will need to attract members and you will also be given a stall at the university’s Fresher’s Fair as a means of recruitment.
Make sure you are consistent with your society. You will need to make sure that there are constant activities available for the society to participate in.