Are you a member of an academic society? Or are you often sat wondering why your department doesn’t have an academic society? Whatever your experience, we are launching a review into academic societies and we want to hear from you!
In my manifesto when I ran for the President role, I was super keen to do some work around academic societies. It seemed clear to me that when they work well, they are absolutely fantastic and bring so many benefits to students, but they are inconsistent. It is also clear that support from both the University and the Students’ Union could be better, and that there are so many other opportunities for academic societies that we have yet to explore and provide. When COVID hit in March, other priorities came to light. However, I am really excited to have now appointed an external consultancy, Organised Fun, to help us undertake this important review.
We are essentially stripping the discussion back to basics, as working more closely with academic societies is a discussion the Students’ Union has been having internally for a number of years now. Fundamentally we need to start by understanding; what an academic society is, what benefits do they provide to members and committee members, how should they work with departments, what support do they need, and should all departments have one? We will then turn to look at how we can work in partnership with the University to better support academic societies, and ensure their specific needs are catered for.
However, we can’t answer all of these questions and make decisions on our own. We need to hear from students about your experiences and you need to feel comfortable sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of everything to do with academic societies. This is why we have brought in an independent organisation to act as external consultants for this review. When we come to ask for your input, please tell them everything you can about your experience. It is really important that we get a diverse and representative set of views in order to inform recommendations about what we do next to support academic societies. Be open and be honest. Think your department hasn’t funded your academic society as much as they could have? Tell us! Think our processes are too bureaucratic to enable you to undertake activities? Tell us! Think academic societies are the best thing ever? Tell us!
The review is already underway so please keep an eye out for information on how you can get involved and share your view. We will be reaching out to committee members, academic society members, unaffiliated academic societies, as well as those who have never been involved. If you are interested in being involved in conversations or have any questions please email me at email@example.com.
I am really excited to hopefully make some very beneficial changes in this area (and to do some proactive work that isn’t pandemic-related!).
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