I’ve kept it quiet until now however this term I applied with 3 other students to form a new student society! It was a long and hard process but I am happy to say we were successful and are now very excited for the year to come! I’d like to tell you about the application experience and some tips if you are thinking of starting your own.
Our society idea
The university’s Environment Team gave us the basis for our society idea – an Environmental Action Society. Having volunteered with the Environment Team in the past, the committee and myself all felt that there needed to be a student-led group to voice our own opinions about environmental issues and take action ourselves to address those issues. We are all very passionate about the environment and sustainability issues such as recycling, energy usage, food sourcing and more, and each had many changes we wanted to see on campus. From this we drew up a plan for the year of events and activities that would help to define our society
To be a society we had to be different from other societies already at the university. Our aims and objectives had to be unique and benefit students who would become members, as well as the university. Since there did not exist an environmental campaign group at the University, and our objectives also served to benefit the university’s ‘green status’, we felt we had a strong case.
The application process
Due to limited funds in the Student Union, they can only authorise a certain number of societies per term. They also only pass societies that are able to prove that they will operate efficiently and provide a positive experience to students at Leicester.
Without revealing too much about the process, since the SU only release the information for 2 weeks before you must submit the application, there were many components to fill in which required a lot of coordination and planning to complete.
We researched and held meetings with potential affiliates to find out about funding and where we could generate our own income to prove on the application that we would be able to handle our finances well as a society.
Gaining student interest
To prove student interest in our society idea we had to begin to promote our idea to students and register their support for the society. We did this by talking to students during Fresher’s and asking them to sign to show their interest. We also arranged a Meet and Greet where we gave an introduction to our society and what we hope to offer this year. In the end we managed to get over 40 signatures which was more than enough for the application!
Tips for starting your own society
1) Research! You need to find out as much as possible about existing societies, what it takes to run a society and what would be available to you as a society. Talking to other society committee members may help you to gain an idea of how to run your own society.
2) Be specific to your own society idea. All societies are different and your application should reflect the specific needs and requirements for your society. Go the extra mile to show you have thought in more depth about how the society will work and that it will be a success.
3) Talk to the Student’s Union. They will meet with you to discuss what you need to do before you can start the application process, including giving you a preview of the documents that would need to be filled in.
4) Be passionate. Start your own society because you are passionate about the topic/activity and you really believe it is needed at the university – not just to have something to put on your CV. Without a real passion you are more likely to lapse in your commitment and motivation within the society and may not produce a persuasive application.
5) Although the application may seem like the hardest part, the running of the society is so much harder. Or so they say! I am beginning to find out what that is like and am looking forward to the challenge.
So there is my society application experience! For more information from the Student Union website click here. If you have any questions please feel free to comment/leave a response below!!
Also, current students, if you are interested in joining the society or want to find out more, we have a facebook group available through the UoL facebook group and also a page on the Students Union website.