Joining a university society is a must for any student. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast or want to join a society to build upon those lovely skills that employers will be desperate for when you graduate, there’s a society for everyone; from baking to student radio, American football to ultimate frisbee.
As you progress through university and the hair begins to grey ever so slightly, you may want to consider becoming a committee member for a society. Being on the committee carries more responsibility, but will enhance your CV massively. So what roles are available and what do they entail?
The big dog! As president, you’re responsible for the whole society and need to be able to lead the society toward a golden sunset. You need to have a vision for the society and how you intend to move forward.
This is very abstract and not that useful, so we’ll give you a few examples. If you were president of the rugby club, you might want to focus on recruiting more members and holding inter-club tournaments so that players of all abilities have an opportunity to play competitively.
Alternatively, if you were president of the feminist society, your aim might be to hold regular discussion groups and events to get the feminist message out there and reveal that feminism is simply about equal rights and treatment that everybody can take part in.
Therefore, your tasks include setting agendas, targets and deadlines, motivating your other committee members. You’re also the main contact for the students’ union to get in touch with if there’s an issue that needs resolving.
Being president is a big task, but you’ll develop leadership, strategy and communication skills.
The money man! As treasurer you’re in charge of the society budget, taking note of all the income (joining fees, sponsorship) and expenditure (summer ball, bowling socials). Therefore, your responsibilities would be to draw up and agree an annual budget, working out the cost of events, collecting membership fees and ticket sales and arranging sponsorships and grants.
This is a great role if you’re looking to follow a career in finance, but it also provides you with some transferable skills such as prioritisation and negotiation.
The organiser. As secretary, you would be responsible for supporting the president and communication with other committee member and the society as a whole. Where the treasurer and president would work together on organising a summer ball, the secretary would work on getting the word out to society members, booking rooms out where tickets can be sold and being the go-to person for queries.
You could also be responsible for pitch bookings and coach hire, sending out emails and updating any social media. In short, you are the voice and ears of the society. Being secretary means you can develop your organisational, time management and coordination skills.
There are also a few extra committee roles out there, usually for the larger societies. For example, the football club may have a kit secretary to place orders for a new kit every year, ensuring that every member has match day and training gear. Additionally, there may also be a publicity officer who builds links with the student media societies to get coverage in the student newspaper or radio.
Even more roles, which include social secretary (responsible for organising socials) and union representative (attends students’ union meetings and votes on behalf of the society) may also be available.
Overall, being on the committee for a university society is a fun experience as well as a rewarding one. It displays your work ethic and skills to employers but also allows you to make some great friends too!