Whilst being at university it’s good to get involved with things outside of your studies to help you to get a good work-life balance and develop skills that will help you in the future. One of the most fun ways you can do this is by being a committee member for a student group. Every society is entirely run by students and has a committee with a president, secretary and treasurer and usually some other roles It’s the job of the committee to keep the society running by organising activities for the members. During my time at Leicester I’ve had 3 committee member roles. In my second year I was treasurer of the hiking society and secretary for SLUGS (Students of Leicester Universities Guides and Scouts) and this year I’m the Camps Secretary and SSAGO rep for SLUGS (read on for more on what that means…).
The president is in charge of the society and works with the rest of the committee to promote the group to new members, put on activities and oversee the day to day running of the society. Larger groups sometimes have a vice president to help with this. The treasurer looks after the finances of the society by budgeting, taking payments from members and reimbursing expenses. The secretary deals with all the paperwork that’s key to the running of the society, such as booking rooms, letting members know about events and taking minutes for committee meetings. Most societies also have other committee members with other roles such as social secretary, transport secretary or publicity officer depending on what the society needs. My SLUGS role this year is a more unique role, which involves organising trips to camps with other student scout and guide groups around the country and representing SLUGS at SSAGO reps meetings. SSAGO is the Student Scout and Guide Organisation which has groups at universities all around the country.
Being a committee member is a very rewarding experience, you get to contribute to running a group based around something you enjoy, plus you develop lots of skills in a whole range of areas including time management, organisation, communication, public speaking, budgeting and team work. It’s also a great thing to have on your CV to demonstrate to employers that you have these skills. It doesn’t take up too much of your time to be on a committee either.
It’s fairly easy to become part of a committee. Every spring societies hold elections for the committee for next year where you can nominate yourself to stand for election, then the society’s members vote for who they want to run the group next year. The elected committee then have a handover period with the outgoing committee to show them the ropes, so new committee members aren’t thrown in completely at the deep end!
Being responsible for running a society might sound a bit daunting, but the Students’ Union have a team in the Union Activities department who are dedicated to supporting the over 200 student groups with everything from arranging transport and events to promoting your society to get new members, as well as making sure that groups are running smoothly and safely. They also have grant funding available which societies can apply for to help finance their activities.
My roles have helped me to develop loads of new skills, have loads of fun and make some great new friends. I’d definitely recommend the experience of being a committee member to everyone.