Why joining a club or society is great!

We’ve got absolutely loads of societies here at UU. From the Baking Society to Climate, Dungeons and Dragons, Snowboarding or Chess, there truly is something for everyone!

There are so many benefits to joining a society at university including:

  • Making friends who share the same interests as you
  • Building confidence by trying something new
  • Standing out from the crowd and having something interesting on your CV
  • Taking a break from your studies to have fun

But don’t just take our word for it!

Student story: 'I found my people!'

Kathryn Christie, who studies at our Derry~Londonderry campus, shares her experience of getting involved with societies during her first week at Ulster and the positive impact it’s had on her time at university.

Ulster student Kathryn Christie in a woodland

“I didn’t know a single person when I started uni and it was nerve-wracking to approach this brand new chapter of my life all alone! It sounded like a good idea when I first applied, but now I was here; where do you even start?

Learning to navigate the city and campus was an overwhelming enough task to think about, I was left wondering how I was going to make friends.

But I am very proud to say I’ve found my people and societies really did help propel me to this point. Here's how and why you should get involved too.

Attend Freshers' Fayre

Hobby, sport and academic societies gather for Freshers’ Fayre during the first week of semester on each campus. It is worthwhile taking the time to dander down and have a look at what's on offer.

Along with lots of lovely freebies (top tip: free stationary is always good to have for your lecture notes!) you will find your local societies have set up informational stalls so you can get a feel of what is on offer to you.

As someone who has been both the very shy first year wandering through that hall and an experienced committee member running the stalls there, I assure you we understand it can be daunting to approach at first, but I promise it is worthwhile to have a chat with the people there.

If you see a society you think you might enjoy, say hi! They will be able to give you info on any Welcome Week incentives, when they meet, what the events are like and any other questions (or worries) you might have about joining.

If you can’t attend Freshers’, I would recommend having a look at the UUSU website for the full list of societies available for your campus.

Each society has a blurb on what they do on their UUSU page, along with links to their social media accounts which will give you a better idea of their past and future events, if you are not able to ask in person.

Take the leap and go to an event!

So, you’ve picked the society you’re interested in and found out they have a Welcome Week event, which is an amazing opportunity to see if the society is really for you.

You might be lucky and have a pal keen on going with you, which is fantastic. Or you might be like I was, wondering if I should really be going alone. This is your sign to take the leap and give it a go.

The more the merrier, but you honestly don’t need to bring a friend to attend.

There will be loads of people in exactly the same boat as you to sit and chat with and it is the perfect opportunity to meet people who have similar interests, but you might never have crossed paths with otherwise.

All these years later, I am still friends with one of the people I met that scary first week I decided to investigate the gaming society.

And don’t forget – the event activity could be really fun and memorable too. University can get challenging at times and I think having an outlet or hobby outside of your coursework is really important in maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

Students playing pool together

Be brave and join a committee - or start your own club!

I did both. I ended up secretary for that same gaming society before starting my very own arts and crafts society in my final year of undergrad, when I realised there wasn’t really anything available in Derry~Londonderry for that niche hobby!

While being an attendee was fun, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the committee because it gives you the opportunity to the run events you would like to attend.

I have loved my time meeting so many new personalities, making lifelong friends and doing the hobbies I love. It turned out to be a great outlet for me when I was stressed in my final year and during my PhD.

The benefits of getting involved

There are lots of benefits to getting involved beyond just a bit of fun though – you will gain plenty of transferable skills for your CV depending on the role you take on.

You’ll be able to talk about your experience with organisation, team work, leadership, communication and financial responsibility which is useful for any career. You will gain a credit towards your EDGE Award for the time you have put towards societies.

Additionally, you will also get the opportunity to attend the Student Excellence Awards (SEAs) which is an end of year party for societies and you might even win an award. Of course, running a society is an additional challenge, but it is a rewarding one.

If you can’t tell already, I have adored my time being involved with societies, and I really recommend it to anyone as a part of enriching your student experience. Give it a go!"

Students playing computer games together

How do I join a society?

Follow Kathryn’s lead and take a look at the clubs and societies we have here at Ulster. Keep doing what you enjoy at uni or try something new! And if you can’t see anything that appeals to you, you can always set up your own society!

Getting involved in uni events

Alongside checking out our clubs and societies, keep an eye on the Student Guide Events page for the latest info on fun things happening around the university. You're more than welcome to attend events on any campus - not just your home campus!