I started at York back in 2020 and like many students, I was incredibly excited to join some of the many student societies on offer. I was looking forward to making some new friends that also shared a few of my interests. So as soon as I was settled, I pulled up the YUSU (University of York Students’ Union) website and got cracking. There are over 200 societies available to join at York. It can be a difficult task to narrow it down to just a few you might like to try. By the end of my first year, I had joined a plethora of different societies to meet my interests. These include Music Soc, Korean Cultural Soc, MarioKart Soc and even Cat Soc. But I still felt that something was missing…
Establishing a Travel Soc at UoY
I have always been hugely passionate about travel and feel that experiencing different cultures is an integral part of understanding and appreciating the world we live in. But there was no Travel Society available to join. It had sadly disappeared due to the pandemic and restrictions on travel the year before. But I was determined to find some travel buddies that would be up for some adventures outside of uni. It was then that I remembered something one of the student ambassadors said on my campus tour of York in Year 13. “If you can’t find a society that suits one of your interests, then start it yourself!”. So I decided to take the leap and got to work.
My first steps
The first thing I wanted to check was how many people were interested in a Travel Society. So I made a post on a Facebook page for York students, asking people to like the post if they wanted to be added to a group chat for setting up the society. Over 30 people liked the post, and we were well on our way to becoming an official society.
There was plenty of information available on the YUSU website about the criteria we’d have to fulfil to become official. Such as having a minimum of ten members and three committee members. I gathered some volunteers for the committee in our newly formed group chat and sent off our proposal for approval. It wasn’t long before we were approved and starting to plan for the new academic year. I got my friend to design a logo for us, got our own banner printed and applied for a stall at the freshers fair 2021.
We had over 200 people sign up to our mailing list and around 50 turn up to our first social. It was a fantastic turnout, and I was incredibly happy to have finally met some other students who were just as passionate about travel. Our first social was a ‘Culture Night’ and was designed to be a nice icebreaker for everyone to get to know each other. We asked everyone to bring snacks to share from their country of origin, a place they had travelled or would like to travel to. This immediately got a room full of strangers talking.
Travel Society today
I originally set up Travel Soc to allow people to find travel buddies to go away with. But now it’s slowly developed into so much more. Our cultural nights have grown into huge collaborations with other cultural societies. These include Japanese, Chinese, Nordic, French, Spanish and many others. These nights are incredibly popular and allow students to chat about their cultures, travels and meet others from all around the world. On top of this, last year, among our regular bi-weekly socials, we managed to run two trips within the UK. We tested the waters of running a trip in first term, with a day trip to Knaresborough and Harrogate. Then in second term, we ran a weekend trip to London. These were both very successful and with travel restrictions lifting, we’re hoping to go on our first trip abroad this year!
As I go into my second year as President of the society, I’m so glad I took that leap to start Travel Soc. I’ve learnt how to balance the organisation of socials with my daily Uni timetable. I’ve built up my confidence in talking to new people and learnt how to work with my committee as a team to get the very best out of each social. I’ve made so many great friends from starting Travel Soc that I likely wouldn’t have met otherwise. So if you think York is missing a society for something you love, take the leap. You never know what it could become.
Interested in Travel Soc? Follow us on Instagram- @uoytravelsociety