Got an idea for a student society? Make it happen!
August is creeping along and soon it will be September, which means one thing. Fresher’s Week.
For those who have experienced this action-filled week, you will know the excitement of the Fresher’s Fair (great time to stock up on free pens, notepads and food!), but also the sheer exhaustion you will experience by the end of the week. I can distinctly remember falling asleep at the start of one introductory lecture and waking up to the clatter of students leaving the room.
Fresher’s Week is a great opportunity to check out the societies available at your university and find out what tickles your fancy. However, if you realise you can't quite find a specific society, you can always create your own. I've looked into it myself, purely out of curiosity, but for those students who have a burning desire to create their own society and aren't sure how, here is how you establish yourself at your Fresher’s Fair.
Plan plan plan
In order to be taken seriously, you need to plan who your society is aimed at and find out if there are any similar societies. If there is, then you need to make sure your society is clearly distinguished and different.
Think about why someone would join your society - would there be special discounts for events/club nights/restaurants/days out?
What is the purpose of your society? Competitive? Social? To develop a hobby? You will most likely have to fill out a document about the aims and objectives of your society at your Student Union as well as a Constitution for your society. After this stage, it’s likely you will have to explain and pitch your idea to a member of the Union.
Universities have funding available for societies - you will need to speak to your Student Union to find out more about this. However, funding does depend on various factors, including popularity. Don't expect to be granted a huge portion of money from the outset. If the membership of your society increases, then you can always go back to your Student Union to try and expand your resources once you have a solid case.
You will need a team of supportive, dedicated and reliable students to promote, develop and run your society. This usually consists as a minimum of:
Remember, this is a minimum. You will most likely need other members such as a social secretary or a vice-president to help manage your society.
It’s likely you will need a minimum number of members to start your society. At my university it's 25, but check out your Union for information. You will also need to decide a membership fee price, which you can consult with your team.
Again, this is dependent on your university, but you may have to deliver a short pitch to the Student Council and other society presidents who will then vote on whether your society should be accepted. Nottingham, St Andrews and Lancaster University all expect a short speech to be presented at some point during the creation process.
So there you have it, a quick guide to creating a new society. Hopefully, if you are interested in starting your own society, this will give you an idea as to what to expect and inspire you to have your own stall at Fresher’s Fair, so get planning and good luck! Oh, and it’ll look great on your CV.