Lois Edwards, activities and events co-ordinator at the University of East London Students’ Union shares why she loves societies and why she thinks students should get involved.
I’m Lois and I’m the activities and events co-ordinator at the Students’ Union. I have recently graduated from Aston University in Birmingham, where I studied Law. Throughout my time at University I was always really involved with Aston Students’ Union, I knew it was the best place to make friends, and there were always exciting things happening there. So, I got involved in several sports clubs and societies, including cheerleading, Raise and Give, and the Disney Society.
Midway through my studies, I undertook a placement year and worked full time within the Aston Students’ Union as the student activities assistant. During that year I was able to really get stuck in with loads of different clubs and societies and help them to deliver some great events and activities, including a ball at Villa Park with over 600 attendees!
This experience then led me to getting a job at the University of East London Students’ Union – I knew I wanted to continue working with societies and helping to plan events. I gained so much through my time being involved with my Students’ Union and now I want to help you all to do the same!
What do you do at the Students’ Union?
I am responsible for helping all our societies achieve their goals and run great activities and events for students. If you are looking for inspiration, I am here to make suggestions on the types of activity your society can do, point you in the right direction if you need help with events, or just be on hand to help make sure everything goes according to plan!
I also help to put together the events that are run by the Students’ Union throughout the year, including Welcome Week, cultural and social events, games nights, and workshops. It has been great to see the innovative and new ways that societies have been operating this year, and I have loved seeing how many societies have grown and excelled despite the difficult circumstances we have been in.
What societies does the Students’ Union have?
We currently have over 50+ groups ranging from academic groups, faith and culture groups, general interest groups, and community groups for under-represented communities. So far this year, societies have organised loads of activities, including Among Us games nights, Laughter Yoga, movie nights and more! There is something for everyone and the best part is; if you don’t see something you like, you can make your own! Find out more about the range of events they organise by checking out our events calendar.
What do society committees do?
The society committee are brought together by their interest. Each society is made up of a core committee consisting of a president, finance officer, and events and admin officer. Each of these roles has their own individual duties, but the committee work together as a team to put together all the society activities and events. We provide training for all the things they need to know, it’s a great way to gain impressive skills for your CV, and we are always available if they want some help with planning.
Why should I become a society committee member?
The benefits of becoming a committee member are endless. It is an incredible way to boost your skills, meet new people, and if you are hoping to land your dream job after graduation, it’s a great way to boost your CV!
The graduate job market is incredibly competitive at the moment, which means you are going to have to stand out. Every candidate applying for a graduate role will have a degree, so you need to think about different ways to bring your skills and experience to life. Not only are committee members provided with on-going training opportunities, to help them with areas such as event management, marketing and finance, they also have the hands-on experience and soft skills which recruiters love.
Before I decided that I wanted to work in a Students’ Union, I interviewed for graduate schemes. Not a single interviewer asked me about my degree, but they all wanted to know about my experiences and the extra-curricular activities I took part in. Being involved in activities and societies is a really good way to demonstrate to employers that you’re proactive, curious and eager, which are exactly the sorts of things they’re looking for in candidates. In job interviews you will be able to reflect on your experiences as a committee member, which will help you to stand out as a candidate with ambition and leadership skills.
By becoming a committee member, you will have the opportunity to gain soft skills which are valued by employers. Running a society can boost your skills in teamwork, leadership, organisation, creativity, problem-solving and much more, giving you impressive experiences to talk about in job interviews.
How can I find out more?
Talk to me, visit our website to see what’s happening. Look out for society elections this spring for the chance to unlock new skills by taking on a committee role!
So, if this sounds like something you would be interested in, then come and give it a go! Find out what’s happening with all our societies and events. If you are interested in becoming a committee member, or just want to find out a little more, you can get in touch with me.