Study. Travel. And get involved.” Timeless advice to all entering the coming academic year at the University of St Andrews. It isn’t bad advice either. Our three-modules-a-semester course load leaves us with plenty of time for coming-of-age self exploration of interests, and what better way to do just that than to get involved with the many societies that the University has to offer?
From activism, to political participation, to more creative pursuits, continuing from our Freshers’ Magazine feature of new societies, here are five more to give you a glimpse of how to get involved.
The Feminist Society:
A society that aims to empower all people within our community through activism, the Feminist Society (FemSoc) offers students the opportunity to get involved in student activism and campaigns that empower minority groups both locally and globally. They offer an open space to talk about a huge variety of issues that affect students, all with cups of tea.
“We run lots of types of events ranging from marches and conferences to relaxed socials and our Blue Stockings group,” says Kate Owens, FemSoc President. “There’s something for everyone and we’re open to everyone pitching ideas for an event that suits their passions or needs.”
“Our Blue Stockings discussion group is a Feminist Society staple, offering an intellectual, self-examining discussion and a respectful space to socialise and drink tea,” she continues.
“Previous discussion topics include black women in the media, men in feminism and recently we collaborated with Her Choice Saint Andrews and Students for Life on a discussion on reproductive rights. Other big events have included Shatter the Silence, the first event in Europe which was endorsed by the Take Back the Night Foundation, featuring music, comedy, and talks by national charities.”
Ms Owens said that FemSoc hopes to be more inclusive and more representative of the St Andrews community. “We encourage anyone who has an idea or issue which they are passionate about to contact us,” she says. “Or come by even for a simple cup of tea!” To contact FemSoc, go to the Feminist Societies of St Andrews University Facebook page or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Filmmakers’ Society:
For those with a passion for moviemaking, the Filmmakers’ Society is there to scratch that creative itch. It concerns itself with the creation of student made short and feature films in our University by providing students with professional filmmaking equipment (cameras, lighting and audio equipment) alongside workshops and personal assistance from the committee.
“For those new to filmmaking, it is the committee’s (and in turn, the society’s) wish to provide an opportunity to discover the wonderful world of filmmaking, and for more experienced members, a chance to join forces with like-minded cinephiles,” comments Valeria Ryabchina, the society’s president.
She adds that outside of being a forum for student filmmakers both old and new, the society holds a soft spot for independent films. “We believe that the cinematic medium frees ideas from the constraints of location and the ephemerality of the moment, and we hope our society preserves that ideal.”
Activities include hosting periodic film screenings and a festival at the end of each semester, to celebrate the University’s budding filmmakers.
“Although we are a new society, the founding members of the society made the feature film The Darkroom, which was the first feature film to appear in On the Rocks Festival,” says Ms Ryabchina.
“That was a good experience. We hope to do that again, alongside a possible documentary film production in collaboration with academic departments should there be enough interest.”
To get in touch with the Filmmakers’ Society, follow them on Facebook at the Filmmakers’ Society of St Andrews University or email them at email@example.com.
The Labour Society:
Whichever way you may lean on the political spectrum, the Labour Society is not only about promoting Labour party values but also encouraging students to increase their general political involvement at the University, via discussion, debate, and campaigning.
“There are already other societies in St Andrews for other UK political parties, and so we want to make sure the we on the left have a voice and student representation,” says Archie Brata, the labour society president. “However, whilst we are a political society, the only membership requirement is for you to be a fully matriculated student, so no matter who you are, we’d love for you to come on down and get involved — even if it’s just to argue with us.”
Mr Brata commented that, “The general election demonstrated that young people want to be heard in politics, and through our campaigning, discussions, and events with leading figures of the national party, we hope to give our members the chance to influence national and local party policy, as well as the chance to become more politically aware.”
“We host a variety of events from socials (almost exclusively down the pub) to face-to-face meeting with leading Labour MPs, MSPs, and councillors. For instance, our committee members also got the opportunity to meet former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown on the campaign trail,” he continues. “We’re very involved with the local party, and so also take part in campaign efforts for local candidates when we’re needed. We were very glad that, with our continuous help and persistent canvassing, Councilor Brian Thomson was re-elected to Fife Council last year.”
He hopes to continue the impressive membership growth in the past year, and soon become the biggest and most active political society in St Andrews. Anyone who wants to join in can find them at the St Andrew’s University Labour Society Facebook page or email the society at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If you prefer the human touch, all of our committee members are on social media and very accessible — feel free to drop any of us a message, or say hello around town!”
Her Choice Society:
Her Choice St Andrews is a pro-choice society and the only one of its kind in St Andrews.
“Unlike the Feminist society, Her Choice St Andrews is focused on a singular issue in women’s rights: the right for a woman to choose what to do with her own body,” says Lottie Kelly, President of the Her Choice Society. “We hope to provide an outlet for people to raise issues about countries where women have no right to choose and the dangers associated with forbidding women to have safe and legal abortions.”
They focus on women’s charities who support women in countries where abortions are illegal and provide assistance for them.
“Last semester, we focused on two charities. One based in Ireland where there is an almost complete ban on abortion and the other in America where the Trump administration are consistent in their efforts to try to defund Planned Parenthood,” she comments.
“As a relatively new society we have not had a chance to hold many events. However, they have had documentary screenings and co-hosted a Blue Stockings event with FemSoc discussing women’s reproductive rights.
Ms Kelly hopes that Her Choice will grow to become a successful and well established society within the community of St Andrews. Those that want to join the movement can follow the Her Choice St Andrews Facebook page and join their mailing list.
For Her Project:
For Her Project is all about raising funds, and awareness for women’s education in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.
“We offer students the opportunity to be involved in a global movement towards peace and prosperity through the education of women. We know that when we fight For Her, infant mortality plummets, economies grow, and new ideas and innovations come onto the international scene,” says Anna Atwell, For Her Project president.
Events range from a Mac n’ Cheese Night to a Gala, all focused on raising awareness of the society.
“My hope is that we can use the diverse and passionate voices around St Andrews to help raise funds and awareness for women’s education,” she says. “I believe that if we utilize our fantastic community we can have truly global impact.”
Contact For Her Project by following For Her Project St Andrew’s Facebook page as well as through email at email@example.com.