Societies give students the chance to be creative and get to know their classmates outside of lectures. They’re a great way to make friends and get insider knowledge of your subject from those in the years above yours. Each society is run by committee and elections each year encourage new people to get involved.
Florence Townend, outgoing president of the Bristol Engineering Mathematics Society, told us about her year.
What motivated you to run for president?
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Being president was a way to give back to the Eng Maths community who made me feel right at home at the beginning of my degree. I wanted to find a way to make the society even better and to do for other people what it had done for me. I also enjoy leadership roles and had a working knowledge of the committee from being treasurer the previous year.
What events does the society organise?
The Bristol Engineering Mathematics Society hosts social and industry events. Our industry events include Pint of Eng Maths, where graduates come back to speak on a panel Q&A about their industry. Usually these are themed event with topics such as software engineering, start-ups, or PhDs. Our social events involve scavenger hunts, pub trips, and our summer formal at the end of the year.
What has been the highlight of your year?
The highlight of my year in the society was our first family social in the first week of the academic year. It was great to see all the years mixing and chatting to each other, as well as seeing the first years becoming more integrated in the society. It was a brilliant start to the year and a good way to kick off a year of socials and industry events.
What skills have you developed during your time as president?
As president I’ve learnt the importance of communication and delegation. There are so many things to keep track of and people to talk to that it becomes impossible unless you’ve got a great team around you – which thankfully I did. I also improved my public speaking skills and feel much more comfortable in a leadership role, knowing I’ve been successful in one before. I have more confidence in my abilities.
What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming a committee member?
I would say go for it! I was never part of any clubs at school and was convinced that nothing would change once I got to university. However, being part of the BEMS committee for two years has made my university experience much richer and taught me valuable skills to take into life after university. I think it’s important to be part of a committee for reasons beyond your CV. Being passionate about the society is the main motivation for many of us. If you’re worried about the committee roles being detrimental to your grades, then this may be a great opportunity to work on time management skills as well – it definitely was for me.