Whether you’re a fresher or just curious about joining the political world of Stirling University, here’s the lowdown on our politics societies
Being a new student navigating their way through the tempting society choices can be a hassle at the best of times, let alone with the portents of end times 2020 has already dealt with; more seriously, COVID-19 and the impact it has had on the fresher experience overall, and also for returning students.
With thoughts of isolation and further flux and confusion about the everyday workings of our lives and studies, it can be a lonely and confusing time for many of us right now. It’s important to know that there are plenty of socials, Give it a Go’s, and other events happening virtually across an array of societies; here at the politics section, we will take a cracking peek at what political society options there are for students, and hopefully make you feel less alone in an ever-changing world at current. We’re all tearing our hair out, so why not do it together over a janky connection zoom/teams chat together?
First we’ll start with the Stirling University Politics Society. A non partisan society in which Con, SNP, Lab, Green, and everything in-between aligning folks can engage in discourse. I spoke with them and found out about their socials, events, and ethos which they laid out in their own words:
“The Politics Society at Stirling University is the place for political participation at the university. Hosting a variety of events over the year, it’s a great place to meet other students studying Politics, connect with students with similar interests and to expand your political knowledge. The Politics Society aims to broaden the horizon of students by encouraging political discourse at its events, as well hosting a variety of speakers and experts in different fields to inform students beyond their studies.
But PolSoc is about more than just Politics. Even with little interest in politics you should still be able to enjoy yourself. It’s a great place to make new friends and have fun times that should distract from the daily horrors of uni life. PolSoc also organizes Socials, pub nights and trips. At PolSoc there is something for everyone.
For the year 2020/21 PolSoc is hosting its event online through Microsoft Teams, however, if restrictions allow will go back to physical meetings. Until then we still plan to give students a great experience.
Our events this year will vary from Mock Parliaments, Games Nights, Debate Nights and Movie Nights and much more. The opportunity to host events online also means that we can continue to invite experts. Until January, we plan to host events on the US election, the House of Lords, generational Politics, Women in Politics and the BLM movement.
For further info check out our social media and if you’re interested, you’re welcome to join one of our meetings for free (without membership). All our events will be advertised on social media and on the Students Union website.”
The Stirling University Labour Society President Daniel Deery chatted with me, and articulated what The Labour Society would like freshers and students in general to know when I spoke to him about the events they have planned, including a cross country Uni wide social tomorrow, Wednesday 30th, political discourse, and why students would consider joining:
“Joining the Labour society is a brilliant way to get involved with making Stirling Uni a better place. We always try to be at the forefront of community activism- whether that’s working with the tenants union supporting striking staff, or organising nationally with other Labour societies from across Scotland and the UK.
“I’ve met amazing people through this society and we’ve always tried to be as welcoming as possible. Obviously things will be different this year with regards to COVID, but we’re still going to hold as many social events as possible starting with a virtual pub quiz on the 30th involving Labour groups from universities across the country. This can be found on our FB page or any of our socials for more details. Check the event page!
“Of course we’ll also be getting ready to campaign with Stirling Labour in the upcoming election and there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved with the party. We have been deeply involved with building a new democratic student wing. Our meetings are on Thursdays and topics range from discussions to training to talks from speakers across the labour movement. Everyone is welcome!”
The Stirling University Scottish Nationalist Association President David Mitchell had this to say when we discussed socials, discourse, and joining a political party on campus in general as a fresher, or any student curious and seeking to make friends:
“SUSNA is the SNP Society on campus and we have a long history on campus going back to the 1970’s, potentially earlier. Of course, our aim is independence for Scotland, but what sets us apart from the independence society is that we specifically support the SNP as a party, and it’s aim of building a social democratic Scotland.
“Aside from this, joining a political party is good for anyone regardless of their views. If you’re sitting in a room with people of similar political opinions to you, you’re going to make friends! After all, friends have to have something in common, and political views count for a lot in life. We have members from all over Europe, so we’re a diverse group and always looking to welcome more members regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what level of interest in politics they have.
“During normal times we have an interest in promoting Scottish Culture, History and Politics, and attending places and events that reflect this. It’s nice to think we can bring a little bit of Scotland to the thoroughly international campus at Stirling.
“This sense of togetherness is important and SUSNA is, and always has been for aslong as any of our members have been involved, a close knit and supportive group. This is particularly important at the present time, so that’s why we continue to hold our meetings over Zoom.
“It’s great to have time to socialise – but also to feel part of something bigger, and that you’re contributing to a cause you care about.
“Next year’s Scottish election will be the most important in history as we decide if there’s to be a second independence referendum. With that in mind, there’s no time like the present to join SUSNA.”
The Stirling University Scottish Socialist Party had this to say when I reached out to them about their society, their Give it a Go Event tomorrow, Wednesday 30th, why you may consider joining, and their recent activism- they go in hard!
“The Stirling University SSP Society is affiliated to the Scottish Socialist Party. We are proudly anti-capitalist and pro-independence. We campaign across the country for real, transformative change for working-class people – a real living wage, free public transport, and a socialist green new deal among our demands.
“Within the University of Stirling, the SSP Society have been at the forefront of radical action to improve conditions for both students and University workers.
“We were central to last year’s occupation of the management building, calling on University Management to support members of the UCU union forced to take strike action, improve mental health support, and conditions of university accommodation.
“Over the next semester, we will be campaigning further on the response of Scottish Universities to the Coronavirus crisis, and attempts to scapegoat students who have been sold a lie. Students at Stirling, like those across the country, were told that attendance on campus was vital for their learning. With limited exceptions, this was a blatant lie – students are instead being trapped in low-quality, overpriced accommodation so University bosses can fill their pockets at our expense.
“Why would you join the SSP? Because there’s no point in simply being angry at a system rigged against working class people. We can’t go on hoping for concessions from governments which don’t represent our interests. The only people who are going to stand up for our interests are ourselves!
“Don’t Moan – Organise!
“Come to the Scottish Socialist Party Give-It-A-Go event next Wednesday! We shall be holding an online event where we will explore the Coronavirus crisis, how it happened, and what we should be doing to recover.
“We will also be delighted to welcome Róisín McLaren, National Co-Spokesperson of the Scottish Socialist Party, for a lead-off discussion. Bring a team to try it out, or come on your own and join a team on the night!”
Joining a society is as simple as going to the Stirling Students Union website and taking a look at the full A-Z of clubs and societies, then gaining membership. All Give it a Go’s and socials mentioned can be easily found on the social media pages of all societies provided. Just search for them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and check out their event details.
Don’t despair in a pinwheel of stress, worry, and confusion: get involved with these socials to meet others with the same interests, albeit unfortunately remotely at current. We’re all stuck on this COVID-19 shaped desert island and it’s important to remember to be there for one another.
That wraps up our politics lowdown for societies on campus in a nutshell. While there are no Conservative, Lib Dem, or Green Official societies, the generalist Politics Society is your go to if you align with those politics.
If politics is your game or interest, then please do get involved and reach out- mostly for your sanity at this point potentially! I’m jocular but the serious undertones of wanting to illustrate social options for students, and ways to make contact and potential new friends are sincere; it’s a tough time right now, and we all need to lose our minds collectively, right?