Few universities take societies as seriously as we do at Trinity. There are over 100 societies each year (in addition to 50 sports clubs); ranging from charity organisations and political parties, to light-hearted event-based groups.
At the start of the year a Freshers’ society fair is held in Front Square, where students can join as many societies as they want (and because membership is usually only €2, most first years join almost everything!) From Capoeria to Comedy, Korean to Knitting, there are societies to suit every interest and many Freshers find society-run events a great way to make friends. Even if you only joined a society for the discounts and freebies a membership buys you, I would recommend going to an event run by every society you join (you may discover a new hobby you never considered before!)
The main role of a society is to bring together like-minded people, so regular events are organised by each committee. Events can include: performances and gigs; guest speakers; nights out; and classes and workshops. All of these ensure that new students who want to become part of a society have plenty of chances to get involved.
If you think that there is a society missing from Trinity, you can go to the Central Societies Committee and they will help you set one up. The CSC plays a crucial role throughout the year behind the scenes (coordinating societies and sharing out crucial funding); and at the end of each year they hold the CSC Ball, where various awards are given to the societies which have made the biggest impact that year.
At the end of the year an AGM (Annual General Meeting) is held by each society and the next year’s committee is elected. As societies are entirely student-run, it is up to the members of each society to decide who should be in charge for the following year, and things can get competitive as people try to get the best positions. This democratic approach can be really scary (I remember feeling daunted in my first year when I stood up and asked people to vote for me); however committees are always looking for help to organise and plan events, so are happy to welcome anyone who wants to get involved.
During my time in Trinity, I’ve was involved in a lot of societies before I found the one perfect for me. Being on the committee of the Physics Society in my first year was really interesting and volunteering as an S2S peer mentor in my second year was very rewarding, however the place I felt happiest was always with the Comedy Society. Taking part in their stand-up classes and going to gigs helped me meet people who were as interested in comedy as I was, and by the end of my first year I was elected into the committee as the Social Representative (basically I had to tell people when we were going to the pub and organise the Christmas party). Although I was away on exchange in my 3rd year, they have welcomed me back in my final year as the PR officer.
Finding the right society for you isn’t all about the things it allows you to do, it’s also about the people you meet. Societies allow you to find people who love the same things you do, regardless of what course they do or what year they are in. I know I’ve found some of my best friends whilst setting up for a comedy gig, or learning how to perform stand up and I don’t think I would have ever met them if I hadn’t become part of the Comedy Society.