Clubs and societies

What actually are societies at university?

What’s a university society?

Why join one?

I’m not really interested in anything, what would I do?

University is all about being more independent and trying new things. For most people the thought of going can be both an exciting and scary thought. Which is where societies come in.  They help you settle in and get to know other students who are in the exactly the same position as you.

So, what are they? Societies are just groups of students who all share a common interest. This can be music, sports, languages… you name it – we have it! But if not, then you can create your own society!

Joining a society is so much more than just a hobby – there’s a sense of community – you make some amazing friends whilst doing something you love each week.


Still not convinced?  Here are my top 4 reasons why joining a society should be top of your list when you come to uni.  So why should I join a society at university?

1. It keeps you busy 

A busy student is a happy student. If you are living away from home for the first time you may sometimes feel lonely. Joining a society helps you make great friends and keeps you active.

2. You experience new things

I’m part of Taekwondo Society. In my first year I got to go to my first ever Taekwondo competition where I competed against other universities. I would never have had that opportunity if I wasn’t a member.

I’m also in Music Society. We get the opportunity to play in concerts and gigs throughout the year and there is even a music tour in June. If it weren’t for the society I would never have had the opportunity to perform abroad with my instrument.

3. Relax

You can relax and leave any worries and stresses in the lecture theatres.

4. Dedication

University is about making more of your opportunities. If you have been swimming all your life and you really enjoy it, then going to university shouldn’t hold you back. Joining a relevant society means you can keep doing the things you love regularly, despite a change in location.

I’m in! But how would I get involved?

It’s really easy, you go along to fresher’s fayre talk to current members and sign up to any that you like the sound of. You can join as many as you want – I have friends who are part of no societies whilst others, like myself, are members of 4 or more! 

Still not for you?

If you don’t like the look of any societies available at your university, that’s okay! Why don’t you give one a go anyway? University is all about learning new things and pushing yourself in directions you normally wouldn’t go in. Give it a whirl, you might surprise yourself.

Making Friends

One of the best parts of university is all the friends you make. Some you meet in your lessons, some in your accommodation, others in societies and clubs, and others just by bumping into each other at the right place and time!

I was lucky to make friends with someone in my halls on the very first day of university, and now almost 3 years later, we still live together in a student house! While you can’t really make friends by living together during your school years (unless you are close to siblings), there are lots of other things you can try to have a healthy social circle.

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Classmates are often the people you are surrounded by most often, both in school, college, and uni. These guys up here are brand new uni students on their first day of lessons! The most important thing to remember when meeting new people and trying to make friends is that almost everyone is in the same boat as you. As classmates there’s also lots of things you’ll experience together that gives you something to talk about – from difficult maths homework to what you think of the new paintings around school.

In university this works too. Even though I came to Portsmouth from abroad I found that I’d had lots of similar experiences to people from England, and had things to talk about and bond over!

If you find that you need more in common with people to be friends with them, why not try looking for a club or society that is dedicated to something you enjoy? Your school might offer some, or be able to help you find some nearby you can join to meet people interested in similar things to you.

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Remember, clubs don’t always have to be something sporty if you’re not into that – whether you like art, theater, music, charity work, creative writing, etc, find a place you can do your hobby with others. The more the merrier!

If you’re still at a loss of what to do, you can always sign up to a one-off kind of event, like the kind that the University of Portsmouth run for school and college pupils. Here are some South Downs College students trying out the forensic science equipment to investigate a crime scene.

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Our events can be signed up to with the link under “Events” on the right. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can make friends when doing exciting activities together!

The most important thing about making friends is to remember to actually be open to meeting new people and getting to know them! Just because the very first conversation you had didn’t go flawlessly doesn’t mean you’ll never be friends, maybe one of you was too shy, nervous, or had a bad day.

Smile, and try to be the type of friend that you would want to have yourself.

Keeping it social!

Clubs and societies are an important part of student life at uni.  At the University of Portsmouth there are over 190 sports clubs, societies, media groups and volunteering opportunities.

We caught up to with Vicky, a BSc(Hons) Biomedical Science student and member of the University of Portsmouth Equestrian Society to find out what it’s all about.


Vicky is on a work placement at the moment but will be back on campus in September to start her final year.


Whilst at uni, Vicky is also a part of the Equestrian Society. This society offers riding, jumping and polo lessons.  Even if you haven’t ridden a horse before. Not only that, but there are socials and the chance to compete against other universities!

Check out this video of when Vicky’s team went to play at the University Nationals. Their polo tournament is know as SUPA, which is the Schools and Universities Polo Association. It runs twice a year, in the winter and summer, and takes place over four days.


For polo, Vicky’s team travel to Guildford, where they are lucky enough to train at student prices. They usually take the train or car share, which gives them a chance to chat about the lesson and make preparations for any tournaments.


In the Winter, Vicky went to SUPA. Their teams did really well…including the beginners team placing 1st, and their novice team placing 4th! Vicky has been to four SUPA tournaments, and here are some of her pictures, including one from her first tournament and when she received second place prize.


Apart from tournaments, the club also organises socials and events for the team to get together and chill out. Here are some snaps of when Vicky went to the riding holiday in Sicily, and from their Christmas meal.


Here, Vicky showed us what you need to join the club, but what you really need to get is a traditional riding helmet! The club provides kit, such as mallets, knee pads and team tops. But, the option is there to get the full gear if you want to.


Unlike clubs run at school, sixth form or colleges, university clubs and societies are run by the students themselves, and they are helped by the students union. Each club or society has a committee, which is a group of students elected by the club. Taking on these responsibilities is a great addition for your CV and helps you to develop great skills.

Vicky put herself forward as part of the club committee for organizing the polo committee, and was elected into the role, which she’ll begin next year.

Let’s wish her lots of luck!