The best societies to join in St Andrews?

Viewpoint editor Max Waller gives his opinion on the best student groups and societies to get involved in.


One of the most important events of freshers week (apart from making friends and drinking alcohol, hopefully in that order) is the freshers fair where you sign up for clubs and societies.  Problem is, there is so much choice and there are so many societies that you will inevitably end up signing up for more clubs than it is humanely possible to attend (trust me – I have tried). Time however should not be a constraint so sign up to them all anyway. Here is a list to help get you started!

The University Debating Society (UDS)

Guess what.  You’re already a member. The membership fee was £0.  How much?  Zero pounds. Yes – it was free.  That’s cheap you say?  Well you’re correct!  Not only is it free, but it gives you a chance to wear your gown while drinking port and eating cheese in formal attire while engaging in some of St Andrews finest traditions. Come a long to the public debate on Thursday evening. You don’t want to miss it. If you are so inclined you can even get involved and do a floor speech after the main event.  

Tea Society

We may be in Scotland, and the local Tesco may not have the best selection of tea, but you needn’t worry. Tea club have got you covered, and they also have cakes…  So if you’re missing merry old (or new) England then this is a good place to go – just please don’t throw any more tea in the harbour.

Baking Society  

Once you have drunk some tea, join the baking society and eat cake.  Their stall at the freshers fayre may even have some cakes on it… and I am told they are very good at baking so they probably taste good.  

Cheese and Wine society

It specialises in um… cheese, and wine – need I go on?  I mean really what did you think it did?

Whisky Society

You’re in Scotland.  Whisky is amazing.  You need to try some at some-point and this is got to be one of the best ways.  Joining the society gets you a significant discount on every event, which in effect means you get money off drinking whisky at the whisky tasting events, which are brilliant, because, well, you drink whisky!  

Academic Societies

You came to university to study a subject, and presumably you want to talk about it after class and tutorials?  Thought so.  So join up.  These clubs are also a great way to get to know your classmates and people in higher years who are also doing your subject. Events include pub nights, pub quizzes, barbecues, balls, MORE lectures, black tie dinners, and, in the case of the St Mary’s society (theology), an annual staff vs students bowls match.  They are also a great place to find academic parents.  

The Saint Newspaper

While perhaps not a club or society, writing for the paper is really good fun and you get to see your work in print.  If you’re interested in getting involved, or even if you just want to write the odd article, come along to the welcome drinks advertised in these pages or send one of the editors an email. Their addresses can be found on the The Saint’s website.  Obviously, according to this completely unbiased author, the best section is Viewpoint, because, who doesn’t want to write about their opinions?  


Scotland has lots of lovely places to walk and you want to go and visit them right?  Then join the hill walking society and you can go and visit them.  This is a very popular society and their events get booked up very quickly so be organised and join up early.  

Staumc (St Andrews University Mountaineering Club)  

Basically Breakaways big brother. You have walked up and down lots of mountains and hills, you are starting to think that the grand old duke of Yorks men had it easy.  Well its time you learned how to hang off a cliff on a bit of a rope.  Also a new climbing wall has just been installed at the fitness centre…

St Andrews University Golf Club

For some reason every time you mention that you go to St Andrews people ask if you play golf —.  St Andrews has got some good golf course, or so I hear, and membership does allow you to play on the Old Course and pretty much all of the courses in and around St Andrews. So if you like spending long days outside in the lovely tropical weather this island is famous for, this is the club for you.  

Dance Society

Presumably you are going to attend some balls in your time at St Andrews – perhaps it’s time you learned how to dance properly? They teach ballet, highland dancing, Irish dancing and many other types of dancing.  I would recommend highland dancing, so that you can then explain to your friends how to do it properly…

Harry Potter and Quidditch Society

You’re in the middle of nowhere in Scotland, surrounded by medieval architecture and the students all wear gowns, and even sing, on occasion, in latin…  need I say more?

Sherlock Society

My dear Watson, it’s elementary (yes I know this line doesn’t appear in the originals), its quite simply a case of identity, those three adventurous students are quite clearly members of the Sherlock Holmes appreciation society.  They look, but they do not see, otherwise they would notice that I am hiding in this armchair besides this greek interpreter.  And no,  I can’t come to 601 on Friday, I have got to go to Uruguay — MRS HUDSON.  

The ‘I lost my Barbour in Ma Bells’ Club

Meets every Wednesday morning in various Facebook groups across St Andrews.  To the hue and cry of “My friend” lost their coat which seemed to contain everything including the kitchen sink.    For some reason attendees of the great teetotaler club, Ma Bells, which meets every Tuesday evening, have a habit of getting their coats mixed up when they leave in the early hours of the morning after discussing the use of metaphor in the fifth canto of Dante’s Inferno



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