12/08/2019 Leadership roles within uni societies

Leadership roles within uni societies

Since starting uni, I have found that there is a lot of pressure and hype around being on the committee of a society. Whether it’s being president of the finance society or secretary of the baking society, I have been told numerous times that being a committee member is a stand-out feature on a CV or application. However, as I found out the hard way through law society elections this year, not everyone can be a member of their chosen committee and spaces are limited. Today, I am going to share with you alternative ways to get involved with societies and faculties, even if you are not voted onto a committee.

Mentoring positions

At UCL, there are various forms of mentoring that students are encouraged to get involved in. The more informal and social ‘law parent’ system is run by the law society and involves students pairing up, getting ‘married’ and then being allocated ‘law children’ from first year. My law parents were so supportive through my first year and I’m really excited to be able to support first years in a similar way from September. By contrast, ‘transition mentoring’ is a more structured mentoring scheme run by the faculty, requiring an application before mentors are picked. Before term starts, mentors complete a transition course before being allocated a small group of freshers to meet with on a weekly basis. They can help with anything, from proofreading essays to helping with applications for first year schemes. Most universities offer similar opportunities and taking part in mentoring is a great way to learn how to lead and organise group situations while developing confidence, problem solving and people skills.

Sub-committee roles

A recent change to the UCL’s law society this year was the introduction of sub-committee roles. This new level of leadership allows committee members to ‘recruit’ (through application and interview) various sub-committee members to aid them in their role. Positions such as judges for mooting competitions, editors for publications and social media curators are all available, giving committee members extra help and society members new opportunities. This allows you to gain a role which can be put on your CV and lets you dabble in the skills that you would develop as a fully fledged committee member. Experience on the committee may also increase your chances of being voted in next year.

Proactive membership

Even if you are not selected for (or your university doesn’t offer) the above roles, you can still gain CV-worthy skills through simply being a proactive member of a society. Valuable things to do include:

  • writing articles for the society newspaper or magazine;
  • writing blogs for any sites your committees have;
  • offering to help run an event; or
  • being present on social media.

Even just joining one of the sports teams at a recreational level can show people skills, teamwork and involvement. UCL’s law society sports teams range from football to dodgeball and present networking opportunities when matches are played with city firms! With the right language and skill selection, any involvement with societies can look impressive to make your CV stand out and evidence a well-rounded personality.

So, do not fret if you are not elected onto a committee this year. Being involved in a society in any way is valuable and can be used to evidence your skills. That being said, don’t use this as an excuse to shy away from running in a committee election; from my experience, they are great fun and develop confidence massively, even if the result is not what you hoped for.

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