BOPsoc reveals their society’s origins and aims for inclusivity for all to Jody Tideswell.
Only two years old but rapidly growing, BOPsoc are a unique inclusive society who are endeavouring to create a relaxed and welcoming environment for people from any and all walks of life.
Whether you’re a fresher or a third year, university can be a daunting time for anyone, and the task of finding people you identify with and relate to can seem impossible at times, particularly for those who are a part of a minority group.
I spoke to Naima Masud, events coordinator and one of the founding members of the Big Open Party, who described how the society came about as a result of this very feeling.
It all began at a university BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) conference where the founders got to talking about the need for a safe space for people of any ethnicity, something which is vital on a campus where the majority of students are White and British.
Just two years later the society is thriving, boasting attendance of up to 140 people at their most popular events, consisting of home and international students from a wide range of backgrounds. If nothing else, this rapid growth just goes to show how necessary the society is.
Their events range from informal discussions on contemporary BAME issues, to games nights and coffee evenings, to exchanges where members can share aspects of their culture such as traditional dress and food.
One of the most popular events on their calendar is an open mic night, which will be taking place at Pyramid on 6 th November. This showcase of talents includes many cultural aspects such as traditional music and dance, singing and spoken word, and promises to be a fun and entertaining night for all.
Throughout my conversation with Naima it was clear that, for her, the most important aspect of the society is its inclusivity and open environment. This means that the society is also not limited just to people from an ethnic minority.
BOPsoc can be a great place for non-minority people; whether they want to provide an alternative perspective in discussions, learn about a new culture, or simply socialise in a laid-back and open environment. The relaxed nature of their events means that there is also no obligation to drink alcohol that can be the case with many university societies.
If there is one thing that BOPsoc wants you to know, it is that this society is for everyone. Whether you’re from an ethnic minority or not, whether you’re with friends or alone, just come along, give it a shot and learn what they’re all about.
BOPsoc is a space that is constantly evolving to cater to exactly what its members want so if you feel like you haven’t yet found the place for you, BOPsoc is probably it.