I have just recently stepped down from being on the dance society committee (sad times!). It’s been a fantastic two years, I’ve absolutely loved being part of it! When I was looking at which uni I’d like to join, sports and societies were very important to me. I can happily say being part of dance society has really enhanced my uni experience! I would encourage anyone to get involved in a society, be it an activity you’ve loved since you were a kid, or something brand new!
What’s a committee?
Basically a bunch of enthusiastic students organising great stuff for other students! All the societies at York are run by student committees. Depending on the size and needs of the society they can range from 3 people to 12 or more! All committees have at least a president, secretary and treasurer. Dance society also has a vice president, press and publicity, performance coordinator, internal competition coordinator, external competition coordinator, social secretary, music and video director, merchandise and costume coordinator and last but not least a webmaster! Each role caries it’s own responsibilities, for example, as merchandise and costume coordinator (in my first year on committee) I had to make all the orders for the dance society merchandise (hoodies, joggers etc.), ensure I had the correct payments and personalisation for all the items and get them all to the right people. I also handled things like ordering t-shirts for big events and helping sort out costumes for performances. Everyone meets up to together to discuss big decisions for the society as well as helping out at important events such as freshers fair and our annual showcase.
Who can be on a committee?
If you’re a student at York you can be on a committee! You will need to be a member of the society to run for a position but that’s about it! It doesn’t matter which year, course or college you belong to! Each year societies hold elections to bring in a new committee. Individuals (and sometimes pairs) can run for the role (this normally involves giving a short speech of some kind). The members of the society will then vote on who they think would be best for that position.
What’s it like being secretary?
Being secretary has been great. Dance society now has over 300 paid members (the most we’ve ever had!!) and even more people on our mailing list, so managing all those and sending out group emails has been a little daunting (that awful moment when you realise you put the wrong date in an email sent to nearly 1000 people is not so great)! However, it’s been fab to be a part of making our society even better than it was before. As secretary you are a signatory for the society, this means you have to sign off on money being spent out of the account and be involved in any big changes. It’s been nice to be part of a team of people with similar interests working together to do great stuff!
Is it really stressful?
For me, it hasn’t been! Taking on a committee position is a decent commitment of time and energy but it’s been totally worth it. The amount you’re expected to do depends on the role you take on and which society it is. It’s worth considering how much free time you have before you run for a big position like president. However, I don’t know anyone on the dance committee who has regretted being part of it. If you are considering running for something, have a chat with the person currently doing it. They will be able to tell you what it’s like and how much time it is likely to take up.
Would you recommend it to other physicists?
100% yes! Physics can be a very full on course with more scheduled contact hours than most. However this just means it’s more important to make time to do fun stuff like dancing!! Work hard, play hard is a bit of a cliche but it’s not a bad way to approach uni. Being part of a committee has helped stop me being lazy and wasting my evenings. It’s given me extra motivation to be at everything and make the most of being part of the society.
You bet. Prospective employers love to see that you’re a rounded person with plenty of transferable skills. Being part of a committee allows you to demonstrate all sorts, from being a great team player to experience organising events and communicating and negotiating with other people. You can gain lots of skills beyond academia all of which look fab on a CV and give you stuff to talk about in interviews.
This year we hosted the first ever University of York dance competition! There were 8 universities involved and over 300 competitors! At the end of the day everyone was packed into the hall together for the awards ceremony, there was the most incredible atmosphere. I couldn’t help sitting there beaming away, super proud of everyone in dance society and the amazing event we managed to pull off!! (Massive thank you to our fabulous competition coordinator Alice for all her hard work!). Also the committee dance at showcase, simultaneously the least polished, most beautiful and hilariously funny dance of the day! 😀
If you managed to make it this far through my very rambling post, thank you! I hope it’s given you an insight into how societies work here, and how great it is to be a part of it all! As usual if you have any questions, fire away! 😀