This blog was written based on experiences prior to Covid-19.
Hi Everyone, my name is Isla and I am headed into my final year at Exeter University. I’ve been part of 4 Society Committees and attended some amazing society events in Exeter, but when I arrived as a fresher the societies process seemed quite daunting. What societies are there? How can I sign up? How can I afford to pay for society events and membership?
Well, here is my beginner’s guide to Societies at Exeter Uni…
What types of Societies are there?
At Exeter University there are over 250 societies, with Sports Clubs under the Athletics Union, and sSocieties under the Student Guild. I will be explaining how Societies work at the university, not Sports Clubs, however for more information on Sports Clubs see: https://sport.exeter.ac.uk/studentsport/clubs/
The Student’s Guild Societies are split into different categories: Academic, Employability, Faith/Worldview, Charity and Causes, Fitness, Hobbies and Interests, International, Media, Medical, Music, Outdoor and Travel, Political and Theatre and Performance.
I promise there will be a society for you, from running soc, to hide and seek soc, Xpression radio soc, Edu-venture soc, Cardiology soc, Muay Thai soc to Travel soc and subject societies (english, physics etc)… There is definitely something for everyone! I won’t go into too much detail on individual societies as you can research all the Exeter societies in your own time, including their aims, social media pages and events on the student guild page here: https://www.exeterguild.org/societies/
If you think there should be a Society at Exeter that doesn’t yet exist you can apply to found a new society! Any student from any year can found a new society, by applying to the student guild with a minimum of three committee members.
Societies and Freshers’ Week – What events are available?
Freshers’ week is an amazing opportunity to meet loads of students from all over the world and to discover societies you want to join. Societies host a range of events, taster classes and meet and greets to introduce freshers and other new student members (you can join any societies you want any year of Uni) to their society atmosphere and committee. Remember there are a lot of other students feeling nervous and new to the university or society, but current students want to help you get involved! Don’t be shy to ask questions about the society, the cost of membership, their events etc, committee and current members are always happy to help you.
All societies will be on Forum Hill and in the Forum throughout freshers’ week in the middle of campus with tables of information, flyers and committee members there to answer questions and help you sign up.
Almost all societies run a meet and greet, with their society committee where you can ask any questions you want and meet some members to get a feel for the society. There is always a mixture of student ages, year groups and drink options at socials. I don’t personally drink alcohol often and was concerned as a fresher I would be left out of night out socials due to this, but games have always been adapted to involve all members at socials I’ve attended so I would encourage freshers not to worry about the Uni stereotype of being pressured to drink alcohol.
Performance societies such as Acapella and Theatre usually hold a mixture of socials and auditions you can sign up for during freshers as some performance societies are entrance by audition.
Fitness societies such as Yoga, Running, Muay Thai, Boxing and Ballroom Dance societies host free taster sessions on campus where you can trial their classes before buying membership. You can go alone or in groups and there will be committee members and current members there to encourage you and answer any questions you have.
International societies often run socials with food from their society’s country (I highly recommend Korean Soc’s food), as well as welcome parties with games and other activities (Karaoke, Quizzes etc).
Other societies, all hold a mixture of welcome parties, meet and greets and activities specific to their societies to recruit new members.
Freshers’ Fair: How do I join a society?
Freshers’ Fair is all day on the Saturday at the end of Freshers’ Week, held on Campus in the forum where you can find all the societies under the student guild, and purchase memberships at a forum till. You can also buy membership of any society online at any time during your degree on the Student Guild Website. Therefore, you can join societies at anytime during the year, including before and after Freshers’ week.
Are Society memberships and events expensive?
Society memberships can be expensive or cheap depending on the society. Sports and fitness society membership tends to be more expensive due to equipment, training and hiring of training spaces costs (From £30-£200 approx.), however you can buy a cheaper ‘social membership’ for sports clubs which solely gives you access to social events. A lot of international, employability and academic societies cost around £5 for membership. You have to repurchase society membership every year.
Most Societies’ events are free to members and occasionally cost a little for non-members depending on the event size. Societies host Balls and Dinners around Christmas and Summer term ranging from £15-30 for dinner tickets and £27-50 for Ball tickets. You can attend Balls for societies you are not members of but usually have to pay more for entrance.
If you are worried about affording society membership the Student Guild does offer the Society Hardship fund you can apply for here to help: https://www.exeterguild.org/activities/societies/support/hardship/
How will society events be affected by Coronavirus?
With the current pandemic I know many students are concerned about freshers’ week, university classes and societies going ahead. Some societies have moved to online socials including quizzes, challenges, webinars with guest speakers and more. You can check out some of the events happening online right now on the Student Guild Website.
I am hoping that society events can continue as normal next year, but I know society committees will do their best to deliver great events and opportunities to members be that in person or online.
I hope this has given you an idea of the sort of societies there are at Exeter University and how you can sign up! If you don’t immediately find a society that feels right for you, keep looking, there are so many interesting people and societies, you will find something that is right for you!
Note: societies correct at the time of writing.