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21st February 2019

The best societies you can’t find at Manchester

Ellie Martin takes you through her favourite societies from universities across the UK
The best societies you can’t find at Manchester
Team Mem & Em pose in Disneyland – a world away from Chained For Charity’s Scottish experience. Photo: Manchester RAG

Following on from last week’s article about everything you need to know about starting a society, I’ve searched high, low, and across the UK for the best societies that we don’t currently have at Manchester. Take a look, and maybe there will be something here you think you’d love to attend. If so, what’s stopping you from bringing the idea to the doors of the SU and adding it to the list of Manchester’s societies?

First of all, let’s take a look at the University of Kent’s Competitive Eating Society, which was recently mentioned on the BBC News website because of its crazy challenges. Apparently the idea came from the TV show Man vs Food and, in line with this, the society meets every month or so to eat as much as they possibly can. The challenges aren’t limited to pure mass of food, but they range from spice tolerance to speed of consumption as well. Events include the ‘Chicken Nugget Centurion’, ‘The Big Boy’ burger challenge, ‘One Metre Pizza’ and a ‘Triple Thread Hotdog’, plus various spice tests.  

Staying with the food theme, students at St Andrews in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Appreciation Society meet to partake in the glorious tea time treat that is the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer, and who can blame them? Meetings are held every week to enjoy the biscuits, alongside the promise of plenty of laughs and banter. Can anyone else envision a Manchester version to celebrate the Greggs Sausage Roll? Vegan or regular, as you like.

The University of Warwick’s Jailbreak Society isn’t unique to Warwick, but their event is probably the most infamous. The idea of a jailbreak is for groups of students to get as far away from campus as possible while not being allowed to spend any money on transportation. The event is usually run to raise money for charity. With only 36 hours to complete the challenge, Warwick students have a pretty impressive record, with some participants having managed to get to Poland, Morocco, even crossing the Atlantic Ocean to New York. Here in Manchester, we do the same challenge through RAG, so if this sounds like it’s right up your street, keep an eye on their Facebook page for more details.

The University of Anglia’s Beekeeping Society is absolutely one of my favourite societies I’ve come across in the course of writing this – can someone please take one for the team and start this in Manchester? The Beekeeping Society gives students the opportunity to look after some fuzzy lil’ honey bees without having to invest in all the equipment themselves. It’s definitely a relaxing way to get back to nature and take the sting out of studying, plus I’m sure the members get a real buzz from the society! The hives are on campus and, as well as being cared for by the student members, the bees are used as a tool to reach out to the wider community around the university. What a sweet way to reach out to their neighbours!

Staying loosely with the theme of animals, the University of York boasts its Kigu Society. Kigus are a Japanese style of onesie made to look like different animals. In a similar vein to our very own Pirate Society, the group is mostly focused on socials and hanging out together, but dressed as their favourite cute animal. They want to share the joy that wearing a kigu can bring, which they explain in their mission statement, saying “we believe there is no occasion or activity that is not improved by a Kigu.” We’re very much inclined to agree.

Next up, not to far from the hearts of our own Larping Society (Live Action Role Play), who meet on Saturdays in Whitworth Park, Plymouth University’s Viking Society meet weekly to learn and educate about Viking life. Meetings can include playing traditional Viking games, or walks dressed in full Viking gear (of course). Reenactments of battles are on the cards, but the social elements of Viking lifestyle are also celebrated, including plenty of traditional Viking banquets and other historical entertainment.  

Another one of my favourites, the Extreme Ironing Society at the University of Nottingham, aims to inject some fun into the ordinary day-to-day task of ironing. Their tagline on their Facebook page states that “the sport combines the thrills of an extreme sport with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” The rules are loose – you can combine any extreme sport you’re interested in with some clothes in need of pressing to participate. Members have been seen ironing in busy main streets, strung up on climbing walls, on the top of cliffs or mountains, up trees and, in my opinion most impressively, while scuba diving and skydiving! Other ways in which international enthusiasts have completed the challenge have been while water skiing, in the North Pole being pulled by dogs, or in the Australian outback. Honestly, for the first year of university I didn’t even own an iron so this is definitely something I’d love to see come to Manchester.

Which of these brilliant societies would you like to see come to Manchester? Could you be the one to lead the way?

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