Union campaigns to get students involved in clubs and societies

The Students Union is launching a campaign this week to encourage more students to join societies and sports clubs.

The scheme, “Better late than never”, replaces last year’s poorly attended Re-Freshers fair, and aims to get societies and clubs to organise events and socials similar to those held during Freshers’ Week to attract new members.

The Union already produces a weekly information leaflet, the Bubble, which includes information about upcoming sports and society events. This campaign aims to publicise events further, by highlighting them more prominently on the website, producing posters, and through the Union Street Team touring campus kitchens to raise awareness of the initiative.

Terry Marshall, Students Union Sports Officer, said that the Re-Freshers fair had been seen as a ‘bit of a non-event’ last year, and that a different approach was needed to target students. Lucy Reynolds, Students Union Societies Officer agreed, saying that through consultation with society presidents, the ‘consensus was that this plan would be better’.

The Union website boasts that Warwick has over 220 societies, ‘the largest number of any Students’ Union in the country’, and 77 sports clubs, offering ‘something for everyone’.

At present however, less than 50 per cent of students are members of the Societies Federation and at least one society. Of the 18,000 students at Warwick, only 8,766 have joined a society, although that was an increase of 700 on the previous year. The Union did not supply data regarding membership of the sports clubs, saying only that clubs are required to have a minimum of 30 members in order to make sure that they are ‘active’.

Max Roberts, a second year Theatre and Performance Studies student, said that societies have enriched his time at Warwick. Participation in them, he said, ‘gives us [Theatre students] the experience that we would need to pursue careers in many facets of theatre’. This compliments his degree that focuses on ‘the academic study of theatre and performance as opposed to the actual practice of it’.

An Engineering student, said that he had not joined any societies or sports clubs. ‘I don’t have the time to fit them in with my studies’, he said, ‘and I don’t want to put my degree at risk’.

The potential for the campaign’s success has already been questioned by students. One fresher said that she had ‘already joined all the clubs during Freshers’ Week’, and that the campaign seemed ‘a bit pointless’.

A third year, who is currently on a society exec, said that while he hoped for more members, he ‘doubted’ whether the campaign would be effective. ‘Previous years suggest that recruitment is an ongoing process’, he said, ‘and it is only during Freshers’ Week that people join in large numbers’.

Marshall, however, was keen to stress the Union’s confidence, saying with students making New Year resolutions to keep fit and try new things, a ‘fresh drive’ would help to encourage students to get involved.

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