Welcome back to, or welcome to, the Gryphon Society pages!
We are committed to showcasing the many different clubs and societies that are home to Leeds, helping you discover what’s on offer and helping our readers find more about what they can get involved with. With over 300 societies to choose from, we can comfortably assume there will be a group or two (or five) that catch your attention and that reflect your interests, values and beliefs.
Below we have picked out a selection of societies from a range of categories – Creative, Thinkers and Logic, Sports, and Action and Campaigning – to help you kickstart some ideas, including two ‘Spotlight’ features.
These societies are brilliant if you are more hands-on and love working towards producing a finished piece. It could be that you haven’t exercised any creative ability since around GCSE Art, or are a seasoned artiste, but whatever your ability you there any ways to work towards making or creating. Photography (PhotoSoc) allows you to make use of the purpose built darkroom in the Union, and holds photography trips around the country to develop your keen eye, and ArtSoc holds weekly life drawing classes in the evening that are brilliantly therapeutic (snacks are provided also). Or, what with the return of Bake Off this autumn, perhaps you’ve realised that you really need to be flexing your baking guns – so head over to BakeSoc and get stuck in with the ‘Cakely Run’. The ‘does what it says on the tin’ Stitch n Bitch group lets you natter over a cuppa whilst creating knitted/crocheted/embroidered masterpieces.
Thinkers and Logic:
Theres plenty of societies to get involved with if you prefer less ‘making’ and more ‘thinking’– using and developing your logic and critical thought, or encourage you to engage with a new skill or discipline. Become a master of the board at ChessSoc, where you have the option to represent Leeds competitively (very budget friendly at just £2.50 per year). AstroSoc invites you to extend your knowledge of the cosmos by attending lectures provided by experienced astrophysicists, or simply by joining in on their stargazing sessions. Or if you’re interested in economic thought head to OPEN Economics who regularly meet to question and demystify existing logic in economics, contending with topics such as global capitalism and income inequality, as well as inviting key speakers and screening documentaries.
Freshers – don’t forget to look into joining your course society as well – its a great way to meet coursemates at socials and sport events, as well as allowing you to delve deeper into your subject or share coursework tips.
Freshers Week may seem like the time to get away with being as lazy as possible (bed, to sofa,to shop for hangover snacks, rinse and repeat) but getting up and moving in the day enjoying a new, or tried and tested, sport is perfect for an endorphin boost particularly handy in the grey winter months. Being active and pushing yourself toward a goal, whether that’s individually or as part of a team, can really heighten the university experience.
Most clubs have different ability groups so even if you haven’t so much as touched a ball/stick/net for years you can still have the chance to play. Many are infamous for their big midweek socials and there are also lots of sports trips abroad in the Christmas and Easter holidays. Societies such as Hockey and Lacrosse remain ever popular, with large boy and girl teams.
f you prefer something more tailored to the individual, check out Cycling, Athletics or even Archery. There is even a Sport for Non-Sporters society if you’re less into the competition but still enjoy the team spirit – they play friendly games of rounders and dodgeball.
Your course society may hold regular football and netball games too, so definitely investigate if you fancy blowing off a bit of steam with your coursemates after a hefty 2 hour lecture.
Society Spotlight – Snowriders:
Snowriders is one of the largest societies on campus and welcome all abilities of skiers, snowboarders or other snow enthusiasts (their biannual trips to Alps resorts such as Val Thorens regularly exceed 1000 students!), and are known for their big socials in venues across Leeds. Your membership also gets you discounted trips to the local snowdome on Thursdays, and there are training sessions on Tuesdays
I asked Leeds Snowriders Vice President Eleanor Faragher-Siddall to tell us what Snowriders have planned over the upcoming year, and why you should join..
“Calling all snow lovers! Whether you’re a racer or freestyler, beginner or seasonnaire, Snowriders is the society for you if you love winter sports. We encompass everything from beginner’s lessons, to competitions, and most importantly socials and trips. We have two huge ones on the way, with our first trip of the year being Tignes at Christmas, and we have loads more in store this year. I would urge anybody interested, or if you just want a good time, make sure you come along to our first social of the year on the 21st September at The Pack Horse (Woodhouse Lane).
If that’s not enough, we also have weekly buses to our freestyle and race training at Castleford, a weekend in Edinburgh for BUDS and a post- exams R&R session in Amsterdam. Please do come along and get involved.”
Action and Campaigning
It may be that you fancy getting involved with some campaigning whilst at Leeds. The Green Action society works as a group to provoke positive change, putting ideas into action, with green and other social issues, allowing you to help give back something to the Leeds community at large during your time here. They run the Green Action Food Co-op, a practical example of a difference they have made to the way many people on campus buy their food. Global charities Save the Children, Water Aid, Amnesty International and Oxfam also have groups operating around the uni, where you can lead campaigns, talks and petitions, and respond to global crises.
The Debating society provides opportunity to express your opinions on topical current affairs and issues around the University, between fellow students and across the UK in competitions and events.
Another way to get your voice heard (literally), is to pitch a show idea for Leeds Student Radio. Anna Palmer, LSR’s station manager, tells us more below:
Society Spotlight – Leeds Student Radio (LSR)
“LSR is the biggest student radio station in the country. We broadcast from 9am till late, 7 days a week, and our schedule is always eclectic. Anyone can apply for a show, regardless of content or experience. As well as this, you can also join our many teams and contribute to our core shows, that broadcast every year.
Beyond radio, we host events across the city, putting on sell out gigs with local bands, showcasing our resident DJs and hosting the most interesting speakers. Last year we held an event showcasing local creatives, set up an LGBT art installation with LoveMuscle and held a media industry day with Sheffield student radio station.
For £15 a year, you will be trained to use our state of the art broadcast studios, get experience interviewing, reviewing and creating radio, learn how to DJ, have access to our editing equipment and also be part of the LSR family. Our members have gone on to work in all aspects of the media, they’ve set up nights out, multiplatform initiatives and they’re always keen to come back and share their knowledge with members.
Every year we sound different, and every year someone comes up with something we’ve never seen before. Feeling inspired? Come along to our intro meeting on the 21st of September, at 5pm in Pyramid Theatre to find out more.”
We are lucky at Leeds that we have and can accommodate so many societies and things to do/make/get involved with, so we urge you to make use of these opportunities. Plenty of Give it A Go sessions take place around Freshers Week and into the first few weeks of term, so you can try as many as you like to get a flavour of what’s out there.