Hope you’ve all had a good Easter break full of sunshine and chocolate (although not together, that could get messy…) So as promised, this month it’s all about clubs and societies. A ‘society’ is basically a club run by and for students, through the Students’ Union (SU). The SU helps to fund and facilitate societies as well as represent students within the university; they can give advice, help organise campaigns and advertise volunteering opportunities.
The University of Manchester SU has tonnes of societies, from the conventional sports like football, basketball and rowing (and the less conventional, like salsa dancing, ultimate frisbee or quidditch!) to social societies like the baking, knitting, pirate and board games societies, and everything in between. There are societies that are course-based (I’m in the Pharmacology Society, which organises guest lectures, socials and nights out), political or for students of a particular faith or belief. There’s also RAG, (raise and give), a collection of charity-based societies that raise thousands of pounds a year for various good causes. To help you choose from the plethora of options, there’s a fair in welcome week where all the societies have stalls which you can browse. I promise you, you’ll find at least one that takes your interest. If you turn up and there really is nothing for you, the SU will help you set up your own if you can get enough people on board!
Beyond this, the SU also houses the student-run media, which includes Fuse radio, FuseTV and the Mancunion newspaper. FuseTV is one of the societies I’m involved with, and it’s been really fun getting to learn how to use broadcast quality cameras (inherited from the BBC!) and professional editing software. It’s also been a great way to meet loads of interesting people.
One piece of advice I was given (and regrettably ignored, so I’ll pass it on to you instead) was to get really involved in stuff in 1st year. This is when you have more free time than you will EVER have (even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time!) so use it to really get stuck in and try new things; once 2nd year comes, your time is way more restricted and many people find they can only commit to one or two societies. By final year, it really does take dedication and good time management to fit everything in.
I hope now you feel like you have a little insight into the SU and societies- trust me, when you get to uni, there will be a society for you- and if there’s not, make one- just be willing to get stuck in and try new things, you can never regret just giving it a go!