Joining a society is definitely one of the best opportunities at university. What’s great is that you can continue an old hobby, explore new ones, make like-minded friends, and by joining a committee, have the chance to take on a leading role and boost your experience in any area of responsibility that most interests you, if you want.
The SU website lists every single society available at Leicester, but it can still be easy to forget everything that’s available. For example, if something isn’t listed as available, it doesn’t mean it isn’t – starting your own society might seem scary but it is entirely a good idea. The Vegetarian and Vegan society, for example, is starting up again this year due purely to the initiative of a few students, and this is something I know a lot of people, myself included, are very excited about.
It might also be easy to forget about some of the subject oriented societies in favour of more ‘exciting’ societies like Mountaineering or Quidditch, but these can be just as exciting in many ways. The Criminology Society is the most obvious subject oriented society for a Criminology student to join, but no society is exclusive to students on one degree programme and there are countless other societies that provide some pretty unmissable opportunities for anyone interested in criminology. Socials are also still a big part of these societies so there’s no need to fear there.
I recently joined the Forensic Science society and got to attend an interesting guest lecture last week on the forensic investigation of fires and explosions. Additionally, tomorrow, Patricia Cornwell will be giving a talk about her crime novels for which she has thoroughly researched her forensic science content. Patricia Cornwell’s talk, along with Leicester’s Scarman lectures and occasional other guest lectures to keep an eye out for, do not require any society membership but are great opportunities provided by the university to learn more beyond the content of your degree. And since university is largely about progressive expansion of your independent learning, such opportunities will probably help out a huge amount in seminars and assignments!
The Pro Bono Society is another one that I think could be especially helpful for Criminology students. Pro Bono offers opportunities for students to experience legal work which involves making a positive difference to real peoples’ lives at as early a stage as your undergraduate degree. Other opportunities include prison visits and guest lectures. Next week, thanks to Pro Bono, I will be attending a guest lecture by John Kamara on his wrongful incapacitation for twenty years. (An event page for this can also be found on Facebook.) On top of this, as I have joined the Miscarriages of Justice Project, as part of the Pro Bono Society, I will be able to speak to John afterwards and see, in person, the case work that secured his wrongful conviction as well as examining his process of appeal. The lesson I have learnt is that expanding your studies to related societies can be hugely rewarding.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on what the Law Society is announcing. There could be opportunities perfect for your interests that are just waiting for you to see. ‘Law for Non-Law’ events could be helpful if this interests you, or maybe the trip to Amsterdam this year would be of interest!! The Howard League for Penal Reform is another society that would be extremely interesting to join as a Criminology student since you’ll have the opportunity to campaign and learn more about penal conditions. In fact, Frances Crook, the CEO for The Howard League, has often given guest lectures as part of Criminology’s degree content. Or perhaps the Canadian Law Society or the Sport Law Society are where your interests lie. Nightline, where you can volunteer as a listening, support and information service for other students, might also be of interest to you if you think perhaps one day you’d like to be a mentor for victims or offenders.
Ultimately, there is no need to feel at all limited by your degree content or the availability of societies. There are countless opportunities available throughout the university for you to experience almost anything you want.