Clubs & Societies

Your Guide to Clubs and Societies

14 February 2018

You’ve just arrived at university. It’s your first week, you’re excited AF but pretty intimidated at the same time. You might recognise a couple of people from your old school—or maybe you know nary a soul. The place is huge, confusing to navigate and you wouldn’t even know where to start when it comes to getting involved in campus life.

Every year, the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) clubs and societies department publishes an official clubs guide, detailing most of the university clubs and societies on offer. Joining one of these can be one of the most enriching things you do as a humble JAFFY.

But with so many clubs to consider and so much information to take on board, it can all be a little overwhelming for students fresh on campus.

Why join a club?
“Clubs and societies are amazing ways to get involved in all areas of student life and make the most of your time at the University of Melbourne,” said Matthew Simkiss, one of UMSU’s two clubs and societies officers.

“With over 200 clubs on campus there is everything from language and culture clubs, to food clubs, to faculty clubs and so much more. Clubs allow you to make new friends at university, entertain yourself between classes, extend your learning potential and enjoy your time here.”

Second year Bachelor of Arts student and vice president of the Pirates Club, Josh Bruni, said the best thing about joining a club or society in first year was “[meeting] people who enjoyed having a good time, who were laid back, with similar interests. You bond in ways you can’t in tutorials.”

As so much of the university experience occurs outside the classroom, clubs allow students to make new friends in what can often be a strange and lonely new time in their life (and also drink a large amount of alcohol, if they’re so inclined).

How do I join a club?
The easiest way to join a club is to sign up on the UMSU SummerFest clubs days, held from 11am on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 February during orientation week.

There will be different clubs present each day, so it’s worth checking them both out.

There is usually a small fee to join—for most clubs and societies that will only be $2, but for those few with higher operating costs, these can be upwards of $10. Memberships are on an annual basis, expiring at orientation week next year.

If you want to join a specific club but miss your opportunity at orientation week, you can still sign up! Either contact them (via email or Facebook) through their details as found on the UMSU clubs and societies website, or simply go to one of their events as conveniently listed online on the clubs events calendar.

Which clubs should I join?!
This is the hard part, and really depends on your own personal interests. Having a read through the clubs guide, which can be found in brochure stands around campus, or checking over the online clubs listing is a good place to start.

Faculty clubs are always a sure bet for new students looking to jump into university life and culture. The six undergraduate faculty clubs and societies (Arts, Science, Design & Environments, Commerce, Engineering and Biomedicine) are some of the largest clubs on campus. They run the largest non-UMSU-organised parties and events, and even have their own offices on campus. Joining any one or more of these clubs will not only give you cheaper tickets to parties like Paint ‘n’ Glow, End of Exams, and the various annual Balls, but also free access to regular barbeques and special deals and offers from various sponsors.

If you’re looking for something a little less broad, there are plenty of special interest clubs on offer, ranging from the prestigious Debating and International Relations Societies, to special interest clubs related to film, cheese, robotics, hard liquor, and Harry Potter—there is even a club for Friends Of Unnatural Llamas, if you so happen to be one.

No matter your interest, there is almost certainly a club that will cater to it.

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