I have been Treasurer for the Fashion and Design Society (FAD) for the past 2 years now, and during this time I have learnt a lot about the different procedures that the Students Union requires. So, I thought it might be interesting for future students wondering whether they should take up society position to give some more information about these kind of roles and what they involve, as well as a bit more about running a society itself.
There are 3 required positions for all societies: President, Vice President and Treasurer. Without these, the society is unable to run and has to be disbanded. Most societies also have other roles, these are decided by the society itself but include things such as Social Secretary, Academic Secretary and Graphic Designer. To gain one of these positions, you first have to be part of that society, and at the right time nominate yourself and then be voted in by other members.
The society positions are not paid, however, any hours you do can be claimed as volunteering hours and go towards the Student’s Union certificates for volunteering. You will also be given free entry to Quack for 3 positions in the society throughout the year, by default, these are given to the President, Vice President and Social Secretary (Even if you don’t have a Social Sec…) although you are able to email the Students Union to change these.
Before starting your position, all members of the committee are required to complete training provided by the Student’s Union, this is specific to the position you apply for. As a society, you will also be required to fill out a number of forms.
For those interested in the costs and finances behind Societies here’s a bit of information:
You may know that when you join Societies or Sports clubs you have to pay a basic fee to join and then an amount for insurance on top of this. However, societies do not, in fact, get the full basic fee you pay to join, and Tax is in fact taken off this. So for example, this year FAD charged £8 for members to join, we actually only received £6.67 of this to use as Society funds and the rest was taken as Tax.
Societies are given no money by the Students Union to run. In the last year, however, the Students Union has introduced ‘Feather Awards’ – these are specific criteria that societies have to demonstrate in different categories and we are awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold Feathers for fulfilling a 3, 6 and 9 of those criteria in a specific category in turn. For Bronze and Silver Awards the society gains £15 and for a Gold Feather £20.
It is possible for societies to apply for Development Funds, these can be for anything that would benefit the members of the society, so can be used towards funding trips, buying more equipment etc. The maximum the Student’s Union can award is 80% of the full price, with the other 20% having to be covered by the society through fundraising or funds already in the account.
For each society member who attends Quack, the society will get £1 back if a member is part of more than one society or sport then this £1 will be split between them.
Overall, running a society is a great opportunity, and I encourage you to go for it! Not only can help you demonstrate and build skills such as leadership and organisation that can be easily used as examples in job interviews, but it’s also rewarding to see any hard work pay off!