University of Abertay Dundee Save the Children
We are a small society that fundraises for the International Charity Save the Children. All money raised goes towards building classrooms for children in underdeveloped countries. Money is raised by any means possible.
Tell us about your society – how did it start, how did you become involved, and what is your role?
I was a member of the local Dundee Branch of Save the Children and volunteered as their Secretary for many years. When I came to university to study nursing, I was surprised that they didn’t have a society that supported my favourite charity, Save the Children, so I decided that it would be a good idea and a bit of a challenge to start up the Abertay Save the Children Society. It was during Fresher’s week that myself and my supporter from the Edinburgh office recruited members. The date and time of meetings was arranged and committee members’ roles decided. I became President in the second year of our society being formed. As President I am responsible for heading, chairing and calling meetings. I work with the society to come to decisions about how to fundraise.
So tell us about the work you do. Is it primarily locally focused? How do you decide on which causes you will be working on?
The money we raise is usually raised locally. The committee decided that it was a good idea to raise money for a classroom in an underdeveloped country. We thought that as we are students, raising money for this cause seemed to make sense. Academia is very important and helps children build the knowledge they can use all their lives.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment we are going to hold a cake and candy stall based on the Valentine’s Day theme. Each member bakes a batch of cakes or sweets and we sell them at university. We also hope to do a sponsored shark dive, bungee jump, and are going on a sponsored walk.
Give us an idea of the kind of fundraising you have done.
We have been very productive in our fundraising efforts. We collected donations at Football matches, T in the Park, shopping centres and bake sales. We held a film evening and showed popular cult movies like Rocky Horror and Repo. We have also collected at bonfire evenings, offered Christmas wrapping for a donation, taken part in fun runs and hope to hold a talent contest very soon.
Obviously Save the Children is a serious cause – but do you still organize socials and get-togethers to let you hair down as a society? If so, what is the craziest thing you’ve ever done in your student society?
We do organize social events, but most of us don’t usually go for crazy! Except me! I once decided that I would dress up for Halloween and get sponsored for it, so much to the delight of my friends I dressed up as an Oompa Loompa and went down town to raise money for Save the Children. What a laugh! Still trying to scrub off the orange paint!
What does it take to be a student society president?
I think what I would say about that is you learn to appreciate others’ input, and how to work as a team. Also being diplomatic and fair and listening to others plays a big part in being the President. I think you need to have a lot of confidence in your ability; a thing I have learned over the years to build upon.
How much time does it take being involved in the society?
It can take up a lot of time, or as little as you want. We generally meet every two weeks, but when we arrange events this can take up our spare time during the weekends and sometimes in the evenings. It’s really up to the individual how much time they want to allocate to the society.
How do you juggle your student society commitments with your study/part-time work/social life?
We tend to work around exam times. For instance, if we have an exam we generally decide not to have our meetings for a couple of weeks beforehand. That way we can concentrate on our studies. We might do a couple of weekends fundraising a semester and work around our work commitments. When organizing events, all eventualities of the members are considered. It’s all about working together, compromising, fundraising as a team and building good team spirit and friendships.
How can people join it and how much does it cost? What kind of work could they be involved in?
I costs just £1 membership fee, and people can join by emailing me or coming along to the meetings. The kind of work they could be involved in may be whatever their imagination can conjure up - wild and wacky or simple and easy to do. It could be to run a marathon or host a Come Dine with Me event to raise money. Members are free to do whatever they can to help us reach our target and to have fun while doing it!
Sum it all up for us…
Joining the Save the Children Society is a worthwhile thing to do, especially if it helps others in the long run. Just a few hours out of your week and a few evenings or weekends a semester can make a big difference to the lives of children in underdeveloped countries. Being in a society also builds character and confidence and looks good on your CV. It’s a great way to get to know others who are in university, especially those who you would not normally have a chance to meet. You meet other students on different courses and it’s really nice to get to know those people and learn a bit about what they do and how they roll. Friendships are sometimes built from joining a society and I know that the people I have worked with in this society will be lifelong friends. We have had many laughs and also some hard times, but it only serves to build up life skills that you can take with you throughout your life. Being in a society is recommended, especially if you are new to uni and don’t know what to do after your classes. Save the Children Society means different things to different people. Our advertising executive said
“I love working in this Society because I like baking and if I can do that and raise money for the children at the same time then I am more than happy.”
Our Treasurer Jen says: “I joined because I like the Save the Children Charity and what they do and I feel great to be part of something that is worthwhile and recognised worldwide.”
I do believe that in this day and age we must not forget about the children who are the innocent bystanders in a world that is so often cruel and hard. These children are the future for generations to come and by helping them to build their school for education we can feel good that we are doing something that is worthwhile and may have a lasting impact on at least one child, and change the course of their future for the good. Save the Children rocks!