The University Students’ Council (USC) provides support to over 200 clubs on our campus, in areas ranging from linguistics to dance to culture and anything in between. If you have an interest, there is likely a club for it. In our diverse campus community, however, on occasion, a student might have an interest or passion not currently represented by a club and in that case, the USC encourages students to create their own. Club creation is a multi-step process in order to ensure that students at large paying club fees receive value for their money in the form of club events and opportunities.
HBA1 student Justine Rogers applied to create a new club, Beyond the Books (BTB), when she was in first-year. “I decided to start BTB because I noticed there was no current USC club that catered to the many book lovers at Western,” said Rogers, “I had a pretty good idea of what I, as a book lover myself, would want and I knew that there was a lot of interest from other people just like me.” BTB has hosted several events including a talk with Emma Donoghue, author of the New York Times best-selling novel, Room.
When asked if she has any advice for students who are looking to start their own club, Justine acknowledged the process was tedious but encouraged students to work hard to achieve ratification if they are passionate about their club idea, “the process isn’t the easiest, but it’s definitely doable and it’s absolutely worth it to be USC ratified.”
Being a member of the USC clubs system has many benefits that may not be initially apparent to students. For instance, clubs have access to the Clubs Space on the third floor of the UCC for team meetings and events. The USC also provides discounts to clubs at many of the USC’s affiliated services such as Western Film, the Spoke, and the Wave. Club executives gain access to financial and clerical services including a USC financial account in addition funding opportunity through grants. Arguably the biggest benefit of ratification, however, is participation in the USC’s annual Clubs Week where every club has the opportunity to promote themselves to thousands of Western students in the Mustang Lounge over five days in September.
Declan Hodgins, former president of Model United Nations and current USC Associate Clubs believes the clubs system and his student leadership positions on campus positively impacted his university experience. “The clubs community has given me a tremendous opportunity for personal growth. When I became a club executive, I entered a large community of like-minded people, many of whom continue to be some of my closest friends. The opportunity to plan and execute large scale trips to cities across Canada, as well as to host conferences at western was a truly fulfilling experience. Now I have the opportunity to support clubs from a system level as the USC’s leader on the portfolio. We strive to make the club system accessible and fair for all users.”
Club involvement provides student leaders on campus with incredible development opportunities. Reesa Barkhouse, current President of UWO Dance Force, one of the campus’s largest dance clubs, believes in the importance of leadership development that the club experience provides. “In my role, I’ve learned valuable skills which I believe will benefit me in the future. The leadership skills I’ve developed have encouraged me to consider a career in arts administration.”
Whether involved in the clubs system as a general or executive member, students can expect to find a home in one or more of the USC’s many clubs on campus. 2018-19 club registration and new club applications for the 2019-20 academic year are accepted until January 31st. Check out the USC’s website to learn more.