Group of students posing on a stage

Starting a society – Part 1 – Becoming a society

So, you’ve had a look at the list of sports and societies and decided there is something missing. If you can’t find something and you think it’s something other people might be interested in too, you can start your own society! Although it can be challenging in some ways, it is a great experience, can be great fun and will look great on your CV (and you get to be president!)

Find out if people want to join

To become an official society, you need to have at least 10 members in your first year (or 15 for a sport), so it is important to ensure you will be able to attract members. Ask your friends, course-mates and members of other societies if they would be interested in joining and what kind of stuff they would like the society to do.

If you can’t find enough people to start a society, don’t despair! Perhaps you can get involved with a similar society and organise events or socials to do with your idea.

Decide on the specifics

There are a few questions you will need to be able to answer for your application form, as well as when you present your plans to the societies committee (we’ll get to that later…).

  • Who is the society aimed at?
  • What are you going to do together?
  • How often will you meet?
  • How much will membership be? (there is a £5 minimum)
  • Are there special events you want to run?
  • Will you need any special facilities or equipment?

Spend some time considering these questions, perhaps with other people who have expressed an interest in the society, and come up with some good answers.

Plan your committee

All societies must have a president, a vice president and a treasurer and as you are starting a society, you can nominate these positions ahead of time for the first year of operation. Find people who are as interested and passionate about the society as you are and make sure their position plays to their strengths.

Next year, the positions will be elected by members after a process of nomination. Your treasurer will have to complete finance training with the SU. You may want additional board positions such as social secretary depending on the nature and structure of your society.

Speak to the activities team and fill out your forms

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what your society will do and how it will be run, you can contact the activities team to start the process of becoming officially recognised as a society. They will talk you through any specific questions or difficulties you are having and provide you with a short form to fill out with some details about the society.

Speak to the societies committee

Once your form has been received and accepted you will be invited to speak in front of the next societies committee meeting. If you want to have a table at freshers fayre you will need to ensure to do this before the last societies committee of the year.

You will need to speak to the committee about the purpose of your society, your plans and ideas. The committee may ask you some questions and will then vote on your application, and if all goes according to plan you now have your very own society!

Next, you have to promote it!