Ruth Murphy and Melissa Ridge give the lowdown on UCD societies.
UCD has over seventy active societies, ranging from the political to the religious, course-based to artsy, and then there’s also Juggling Soc. Each society costs €2 to join and gets you a membership card and sometimes a goodie bag of treats and sometimes even candy floss or popcorn. Unfortunately, the societies that offer such treats may have the longest queues to join, but remember, the stalls are here for all of Freshers’ week, go when it’s quiet. Here is a rundown of some of the weird and wonderful societies UCD has to offer.
The Literary and Historical Society (L&H), UCD’s largest society, hosts regular debates on contentious issues including feminism, religion, and death eaters. The society has given its James Joyce award to Martin Freeman, Panti Bliss, and Jenna Marbles to name but a few. LawSoc also hosts a variety of debates on important issues like Brexit, Kanye West, and Dumbledore’s sexual orientation and won society of the year 2015/2016. They also get in exciting speakers to discuss issues such as careers, electoral politics, and ISIS.
When it comes to politics you’ve got Labour, Sinn Féin, Young Fine Gael, Kevin Barry Cumann, Socialist Worker and the new Social Democrats. YFG host weekly meetings that consist of political discourse and society updates, often followed by a few scoops in the student bar. They also host an annual trip abroad; previous destinations include Krakow, Madrid, and Amsterdam. All of these societies care about Irish politics, so if you want a night out where you end up singing the national anthem in a taxi these may be for you.
There are a wide variety of course-based societies on campus such as C&E (Commerce and Economics), Arts Soc, and MedSoc. EconSoc host coffee mornings, nights out, a mock dáil and panel discussions. They also host guests such as TK Whitaker and the contentious Milo Yiannopoulos. The Philosophy society host regular coffee mornings, debates and discussions on morality, ethics, free will, the existence of God and many other topics. They have also got in special guests such as Naom Chomsky and Robert Frisk. There are Russian, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Japanese societies boasting a combination of language-based and cultural events. Africa, Arab, Chinese, Indian and Malaysian Societies also exist. There are also Christian, Islamic, and Baha’i groups. There is also an International Student Society along with a Mature Student Society.
In the area of arts and media we have Belfield fm, UCD’s own radio station which you can listen to anywhere on campus. There’s also UCDTV and NetSoc. Comedy Soc hosts numerous humorous events each year including many stand-up comedy nights. LitSoc is rising in popularity and won “Small Society of the Year” and “Publication of the Year” in its last session. Their publication the Caveat Lector is produced bi-annually and contains literary works by UCD students. Alongside Comedy Soc and L&H, LitSoc hosts a monthly music, poetry, and comedy night known as “The Cavern” as well as its own weekly creative writing workshop “Writer’s Bloc”. DramSoc have the use of the student centre’s theatre where they host several productions a year including their annual Freshers’ Project where people new to the society can try their hand at performing a play with little time and plenty of calamity. Musical Soc has fewer though often larger productions that feature plenty of song and dance. Music Soc, another society entirely, love a good open mic night. DrawSoc, still a young society hosts relaxed events for the skilled and unskilled in the areas of life-drawing, pastels, watercolours, collage and many more. TradSoc may suit those of you who brought your fiddle from home and would love an evening tune. Film Soc, a large and active society, host film screenings in the New Student Centre’s very own cinema. Each screening is cheaper than the regular cinema screenings and if you’re lucky you may get some popcorn and coke (even though coke is still not sold on campus). If you would like to be behind the camera, FilmSoc can help with that too. SciFiSoc also host weekly screenings, coffee mornings and TV nights, as well as fortnightly animation nights for the sci-fi inclined. The TV nights however, are not restricted to simply Sci-fi but for the other nights expect plenty of Game of Thrones, Star Trek, and anime.
Amnesty International, St.Vincent De Paul, World Aid, and Volunteer Overseas make sure that charity is not forgotten in UCD. SVP runs four soup runs a week, as well as homework and youth clubs and flat decorating. Homeless week is the society’s busiest, and it encourages members to sleep in front of the library. The society also hosts social justice meetings. In collaboration with Amnesty International, the society hosts English language classes for refugees. They also have a welfare officer who helps UCD students suffering from short term financial strain. To top it off they host social events such as nights out and coffee mornings.
The Harry Potter Society has gone from strength to strength since its inception, gaining official society status just last year. The society even has an annual Sorting Ceremony. The Chess society is another fresh face on the block. Games Soc is one of the most active societies on campus. Some say that they never actually leave their spot in the Newman Building where they play their plentiful supply of boardgames. The LGBTQ+ Society is another incredibly active society with events almost every weekday including coffee mornings, workshops, film screenings, guest speakers and, probably their most popular though only biannual event, speed-friending.
The medium and large societies, as well as the University Observer, have offices upstairs in the New Student Centre. If you want to speak to a member of any committee they’ll probably be found there procrastinating from actual college work, staring at computer screens, and hoping their office won’t be taken off them if they misbehave.
Whatever societies you choose to be a part of, it will be an opportunity to meet like-minded people and make friends that will last you a life time or until you have awkward sex one night and you can never look them in the eye again (it happens). The huge number of active societies allows students to not only indulge in hobbies and interests but to discover something you never knew you would enjoy or a talent you never knew you possessed, be it performing a slam poem or drawing a comic strip, debating against terrorism or growing a garden. Yes, that is a thing. Check out the Horticulture Society. The Freshers’ tent is vast, the choices are yours.