Laura, your President, gives her top tips on starting a society:
Starting a society is a really great experience, you learn loads of new skills like project planning, learning to be part of a team, and you gain confidence by talking to people you don’t know. All you need to set up a society is three committee members. Then you just need to get 12 more students to sign up. After this, your society becomes affiliated with the Students’ Union… that’s totally doable right?! See below for a society jargon buster to help you out.
GIAG - Societies run Give it a Go’s as taster sessions, introducing students to their society and what they get up to. It’s a chance to learn more about them before you purchase a membership.
Affiliate – To become a fully-fledged society that has access to funding, block room bookings, stall booking at Fresher’s Fair.
So, here’s my top tips to help get your society off to a flying start:
Book a stall at Fresher’s Fair. It’s a really great chance to shout about all the things you’re going to do during the year and a really good opportunity to promote your society! It might feel far ahead, but start planning now. Have flyers to hand out with details of all your upcoming events, so people will know where you’ll be and when. Send us an email to find out how and when book your stall: firstname.lastname@example.org
Collaborate! Some societies have a lot of success hosting big events by collaborating with different societies– it’s great advertising and a chance to bring people together to try something new. It also means that students who might never have been involved with your society may want to join as a result!
Think about how to appeal to people outside your niche. If you run a society that is mainly course based, is there a way to open it to people outside of that course? There are bound to be students who are interested in your subject area, so is there a way to host a beginner’s event or bring in a guest speaker to talk about a really interesting idea?
Advertise, advertise, advertise. Why not find yourself a student designer or contact the Graphic Design Society and get some posters designed. Make use of your discounted society printing privileges and print your promo off at the SU. You can book a stall to promote your society on campus or use the info screens and poster boards to advertise what your society is up to.
Shout out! There’s probably someone in your department or faculty who would be happy to let you talk for a few minutes at the front of a class about whatever it is that you’re running – but do make sure to ask first! If you run something that ties in really well with a specific course or group of courses, try asking a course leader to help you advertise (and they may well have a course leader fund for you to use for trips and events!
Keep up the communication. Utilise the SU website, keep your page on the SU website updated, use the SU website to email all your members and put your events in the calendar. If you don’t know how to do any of this, then come and speak to a member of the Student Activities Team in the SU office – they are always happy to help. Make sure you keep your members and the SU in the loop, we can’t shout out about what you’re doing if we don’t know!
Send in a Society Spotlight if you are already planning a fab big event!
If you would like to have a chat about your society or about any other way the SU can support you, tweet me, message me on Facebook or pop into the SU office.