There are lots of things that you can get involved in at university beyond your degree course. One of these is joining societies. I have been involved in two throughout my time at university – Christian Focus & SAGGY (Scouts And Girl Guides York). I’ve met people who have similar interests as me and made some good friends through being part of these societies. I am also the faith rep on the Societies Committee; but I will talk more about that later!
OK; so what are societies?
A society is a group of students with a common interest who meet up and do activities related to their interest. Each society is run by a committee of at least 3 students – the chair/president, secretary and treasurer.
For example, SAGGY runs scouting and guiding related events. We have campfires, go camping and run badge days for local units. However, there is also a social aspect to the society. We frequently have games nights or film nights and occasionally have been known to do a bar crawl. SAGGY also has a mascot called Gossy who is a small goose that comes to all our events!
At school you might have had clubs that you could join. Societies are similar to that, except they are completely student-led.
Why join a society?
There are lots of reasons to join a society. These will vary depending on what type of society it is. At York, all our societies are split into categories: Academic & Educational, Arts & Culture, Campaigning & Political, Faith, Games & Fandom, International, Music & Performance and Special Interest. If you want to meet people on your course or learn more about a certain subject, you might join an academic society. Alternatively, you might go to a faith society to develop your personal beliefs. However, for the most part, you’ll go to a society to meet people with similar interests to you.
At my sixth form, there weren’t many people who had similar interests to me; so when I got to university it was amazing to meet so many people who liked the same things as me. I managed to find these people through going to societies.
You mentioned being the Faith Rep – what’s that about?
As I said before, each society is within a certain category. Each category has a representative who sits on the Societies Committee. The role of the Societies Committee is mainly to distribute any grants or funding available to societies. They also decide if a new society can become ratified with YUSU (York University Students Union). I have really enjoyed being on the Societies Committee. It’s given me a brilliant understanding of how diverse the range of societies at York is. We currently have over 200 societies here and new ones are being created all year round. This means that there is always something new to get involved in. If you can’t find the society you are looking for, then there is support to start your own!
I started Christian Focus in my first year because I felt there was a gap in the type of faith societies available at York. The society has now been running for a few years and we have quite a few members. It’s been amazing to watch a society I helped to create grow and be a place where other people can belong. It’s fulfilling stuff.
One of my university highlights has been getting involved with societies. Your course is a very important part of being at university, and getting a degree is kind of why you go to university in the first place. However, there is a lot more to get involved in beyond your course that will help you develop as a person and just have a good time! Societies are a brilliant way of doing both of these things.
Read more about clubs and societies at York.