General FAQs

 
I’ve missed the societies fairs, can I still join a group?
 
Why should I join student groups?
 
How much does it cost to join a group and what does that cover?
 
Why do I need to register as a member?
 
How often and where do groups meet?
 
How much time commitment do I need to make?
 
Who runs student groups?
 
Who oversees student groups?
 
What should I do if I have a complaint or question?
 
How many people are in student groups?
 
1. I’ve missed the societies fairs, can I still join a group?
 
Most groups take new members throughout the year so don’t worry if you missed the societies fairs, as you’ll still be welcome regardless of time of year. Most people join in October so there are usually more introductory meetings then, but there will be regular activities throughout the year. If in doubt, contact the group and ask before you register online, as there are a few groups that have limits on numbers they can take if there are courses/instructors involved.
 
2. Why should I join student groups?
 
Student groups are a great way to meet new people with similar interests, try new activities or develop an existing hobby or skill - with such a wide range of groups, there is probably something you’re interested in. You can have a great time, have some amazing experiences and it may be useful for your CV later on – get involved and make the most of your time at university.
 
3. How much does it cost to join a group and what does that cover?
 
Most groups charge a small membership fee to cover their running costs, typically £3 or £5, this goes towards publicity, equipment and regular bits and pieces. A few groups charge more, but they’ll give you more in return, through insurance or access to lots of equipment or expert instructors. If you’re not sure what you’re paying for, just ask the committee
 
Liberation and Representation Associations are free to join, and religious and fundraising ones usually are as well.
 
4. Why do I need to register as a member?
 
The group needs your contact information so that they can keep in touch with you, it also means that you’ll be covered by the Guild’s public liability insurance just in case something goes wrong. It only takes a minute to register as a member, and you’ll only need to give a small amount of information.
 
All contact details will be kept confidential to the group’s elected committee and a small number of Guild staff.
 
5. How much time commitment do I need to make?
 
It varies! Most groups meet once a week or fortnightly on a regular basis (often the same time and place each time), while others may have activities three or four times a term, varying depending on what they’re doing. Most groups will meet at in evenings, weekends or Wednesday afternoons – it won’t usually be during lecture hours. Most groups will meet in the Guild of Students itself or elsewhere on campus, but it may be in the local area depending on the activity. If it’s off-campus, they’ll give you clear directions and may offer to travel together.
 
6. How often and where do student groups meet?
 
It’s up to you how often you go along to group meetings, for the vast majority of groups you can dip in and out throughout the year as you wish, depending on how much free time you have. A few groups may run a course or need more regular attendance, but they’ll let you know up-front.
 
7. Who runs student groups?
 
All groups are run by a committee of students that are elected each year after being members themselves. Committee members are volunteering their time to help other members of the group. After being elected, they receive training from the Guild and can ask for help at any time. As they’ll have been members of the group before, they’ll look out for new members and take suggestions about new activities.
 
8. Who oversees student groups?
 
The Vice-President Activities & Development (VPAD), one of the elected full-time officers, supports both the members and committees of student groups with anything they need help with. Groups are also supported by the staff in the Student Development department, who help them with questions and make sure that everything is run safely and meeting all of the criteria they need to.
 
9. What should I do if I have a complaint or question?
 
It’s best to start with the committee of the group first, either contact their email address or ask one of them at a meeting. If you’d rather ask someone else, contact studentgroups@guild.bham.ac.uk if it’s a question about what the group do, or should be doing. However, if it’s a complaint about a committee member or the actions of the group overall, contact the Vice-President Activities & Development via vpad@guild.bham.ac.uk. Depending on the nature of the issue, they may start an investigation; all groups are held accountable through their committee to Guild Council, the highest student decision-making body of the union.
 
10. How many people are in student groups?
 
Around one quarter of students are in at least one group or more, with some people joining multiple groups. The vast majority of groups are fairly small, often with 20-40 members so you’ll quickly get to know everyone, although some of the largest and most active groups have as many as 600 members, although they won’t often all meet up at the same time.
 

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