Joining a university society or sports club is a must for any student wanting to experience the most out of university. Whether you happen to be a sports enthusiast or are interested in starting/joining a society to grow your employability skills for when you graduate, there’s a group for everyone; from hockey to student media, business to ultimate frisbee.
As you begin reaching your final years at university and the bags under your eyes seemingly never disappear, you might want to start looking into applying to become a executive committee member of a society or sports club. Although it carries more responsibility, it will enhance your CV massively, and will really help with getting a job later down the line. Here's some of the more common roles within a society.
In this leading role as president, you are the key person responsible for the whole society. You need to have the vision, set the goals, and work out how to implement them to move forward.
An example might be that if you were president of the football club, you might want to focus on recruiting more members and holding inter-club tournaments so that players of all abilities have an opportunity to play competitively.
A good president doesn’t run the club by just telling everyone what to do but hears everyone’s opinions and needs and integrates them. The president, with the rest of the committee, helps to set the tone for the rest of the club. If the president is positive and welcoming, the club will probably be too! The great thing about presidents is that they come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t be discouraged by not fitting the archetype.
As president, your tasks include setting agendas, goals and deadlines, as well as motivating your other committee members. You’re also the main contact for the students’ union to get in touch with if there’s an issue that needs resolving, or risk assessments that need submitting.
Being president is a big task, but you’ll develop leadership, strategy and communication skills.
As you can see, being the president can be a hard job and so the vice president does their best to support them. There is no specific role or jobs for the vice president to do except to support the president in their running of the club. This means you really get to invent your role! The role of the vice president is also to be a part of the committee. They’re there to lend their voice and skills to the club and help to balance the team dynamic. As another major representative of the club, it’s also important that you keep up good relationships with the rest of the members in the same way that the president would.
The master of coin. As treasurer you’re in charge of the society budget, taking note of all the income (joining fees, sponsorship) and expenditure (race fees, socials etc). Therefore, your responsibilities would be to draw up and agree an annual budget, working out the cost of events, collecting membership fees and ticket sales and arranging sponsorships and grants.
This is a great role if you’re looking to follow a career in finance, but it also provides you with some transferable skills such as prioritisation, negotiation, and forecasting.
The organiser. As secretary, you would be responsible for supporting the president and communication with other committee members and the society as a whole. Where the treasurer and president would work together on organising a summer ball, the secretary would work on getting the word out to society members, booking rooms out where tickets can be sold and being the go-to person for queries.
You could also be responsible for pitch bookings and coach hire, sending out emails and updating any social media. In short, you are the voice and ears of the society. Being secretary means you can develop your organisational, time management and coordination skills.
This was my role on committee so it’s very dear to my heart. In today’s culture, it’s becoming increasingly important to manage your social media and communications well. You’ll be looking after internal (within the club) and external (the rest of the world) communications. Internally, you’ll be making sure the people in the club to connect to each other and make sure important announcements get out. Externally, you’re thinking of how you present the club to the university and the world by making sure you have positive interactions with them through all your avenues. Making flyers, cover photos, designs and Facebook groups/events are also up your alley!
Good skills to have: problem solving, creative thinking, communication
The activities officer is (surprisingly) in charge of organising events. What you’ll be doing is focusing on thinking of events to run and then actually running them. This role overlaps with a lot of the other roles as you’ll be making events on Facebook, advertising, organising and interacting with the people in your club. The benefits of having a dedicated activities officer include taking a lot of the load off of the other members of the team. Organising an event is hard work and takes up a lot of time and so for a bigger club, it might not be viable for the president, vice president etc. to put together a really great event. The activities officer is a fun and exciting role since you’ll get a big say in things like balls, parties and fundraisers!
Good skills to have: creativity, organisation, thinking outside the box!
There are also a few extra committee roles out there, usually for the larger societies. For example, the football club may have a kit secretary to place orders for a new kit every year, ensuring that every member has match day and training gear. Additionally, there may also be a publicity officer who builds links with the student media societies to get coverage in the student newspaper or radio.
Overall, being on the committee for a university society is a fun experience as well as a rewarding one. It displays your work ethic and skills to employers but also allows you to make some great friends too!