Clubs and societies 101

1 December 2020

One of the most exciting things about university life is all the Clubs and Societies you can join. You’re sure to find your community at the Union with over 300 societies to choose from, so here’s a quick guide on all things Clubs and Societies.

clubs and societies

There are lots to choose from

300 something, in fact. Don’t panic though - there’s an alphabetical list of them all and what they do.

You can’t join them all :( 

At the beginning of the academic year, whether you're studying remotely or on campus, you’ll get to meet and try out as many societies as you can before deciding which ones to join for the year. But don’t worry if you don’t get to speak to all the societies you want to during the first few weeks - the ability to join societies is there all year-round so you can join anytime.

If you are studying remotely to begin with and are unable to make it onto campus, the SU will be hosting a digital societies and clubs fair so you won't miss out on anything and will still be able to join the myriad of societies at your disposal.

You won’t know what some of them are…

Discovering something new is half the fun of university. Have a chat to Application of Psychedelics Society or the Kendo Club and find out why they love what they do. You might find a new passion! 

Cultural societies aren’t just for people from that background

We have lots of societies named after different countries. But you don’t have to be from Afghanistan to join the Afghan Society - you just have to be interested in Afghan culture. These societies are a great way to learn more about the world around you and all students are welcome.

There are lots of career building societies

It’s not all about fun for fun’s sake. Getting involved with societies like Economics and Finance and Leading Women, are great forms of extra-curricular activities that can help you get a step ahead when you start your career (even if it seems a bit odd to be thinking about that before you even get here!).

But actually, any involvement in societies looks really good to prospective employers

It shows commitment, teamwork, and self development. If you want to go one step further, you can join your club or society’s committee and get some management experience too. Or skill-up by joining societies that help you learn new skills for a future career.

Consider whether or not they’ll fit in with your timetable

While an annoying technicality, it is an important one - your studies come first! The good news is that most competitive sports games take place on Wednesday afternoons, which are kept entirely free of lectures to give everyone a chance to play.

You can join any time

No rush to sign up in your first week; all joining is done online and can be done at any time. If a group doesn’t fit with your timetable in term one, check back in term two, because maybe it will then.

Although some sports clubs have pre-season training

If you’re interested in competitive sports, then you’ll still be able to take part. The British University and College Sport (BUCS) National Governing Body of university sport in the United Kingdom will be resuming matches again from January 2021 so you’ve still got time to prepare from home and whilst socially distancing.

Membership costs vary

It all depends on how much equipment your activity requires and other elements of running the activity. But one thing never changes - the amount of your membership that goes to funding your activities. 100% of membership fees are used to run clubs and societies (plus some extra funding from elsewhere in the Union, such as money made in our cafes and bars).

They’re not just for undergrads

Lots of our sports clubs have Postgrad teams with training timetables that fit around your schedule and all of the groups welcome members from all walks of life. 

Remember, you can be as involved as you like (or not)

Some students find that their activity of choice is central to their time at UCL and get heavily involved. And while it’s great if you feel that way, that’s not compulsory at all. If you just fancy occasionally going along to a social or having something you can dip in and out of, that’s absolutely fine too!

They can be the most amazing addition to your time here

We’ve lost count of the number of students that say the friends they made and experiences they had through their club or society were an absolutely invaluable part of their time at UCL. Whether you want to hitchhike to Morocco with RAG or perform on a West End stage with the Drama Society; go on tour with your sports club or just meet people who share your passion, clubs and societies are the best way to do something amazing!

Last revised: 8 September 2021

Guy Stepney, Students' Union UCL Marketing Manager