Almost everyone will tell you to join a society when you go to university. It’s a great way to make friends and either learn a new hobby or continue with a current one. And while you could stick to the mainstream by joining a football or hockey team or getting involved in the theatre or hiking society, don’t be afraid to go a little off-piste. Draw inspiration from these unusual university societies, from the past and present to get you started. They will certainly be a talking point when you return home for the summer.
1. Nicolas Cage appreciation society, University of Sussex, UK
This doesn’t need much introduction, does it? Students at the University of Sussex come together to discuss the joys of Nicolas Cage films and have viewing parties for some of his finer cinematic gems. You may be surprised to learn that the University of Sussex is not the only university to have a society dedicated to the star of films such as Face/Off and Gone in 60 Seconds. If you’re headed to the University of Lincoln, you’ll be able to join one there, too.
2. Moustache Club, Carleton College, US
Beards have experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, but the moustache has yet to experience such a revival. The Moustache Club at Carleton College pays homage to this less-loved facial hair feature by encouraging men to proudly grow their moustaches. And don’t worry, women, you are free to join too if you’re willing to let your upper lip hair grow. The group also carries out regular voluntary work in the community and helps to raise funds for shelters for women who have experienced domestic violence.
3. Extreme ironing society, University of Nottingham, UK
Many students hate ironing; in fact I would wager that many don’t even do their ironing. Students who are part of the Extreme Ironing Society at the University of Nottingham are united in the sole aim of injecting a little danger into this mundane household chore to liven it up. Taking your ironing board out while surfing or rock climbing could certainly raise your adrenaline levels.
4. Reject Muzakel Society, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland
We’ve all been there. Desperate to join your university’s theatre club with an ambition to tread the boards and become the star on campus. But you’re tone deaf and you’ve got two left feet. Well, don’t worry because the Dublin Institute of Technology has just the society for you. The Reject Muzakel Society welcomes all those students who struggle to hold a tune and lack the coordination to carry out the simplest of dance moves. The society holds activities such as bongo lessons and mud wrestling.
5. Squirrel club, University of Michigan, US
This club was started back in 2002 following a late-night dorm room conversation about squirrels, more specifically the huge squirrels that are often seen on the University of Michigan campus. Following an initial meeting of just five people, the club has grown and continues to adhere to its main aim of feeding and protecting the squirrels in the area.
6. Bagpipe society, Mount Allison University, Canada
It’s not unusual to decide to pick up a new musical instrument and the bagpipe is as good as any other, really. This society at Mount Allison University in Canada welcomes beginners and experts. Beginners to the traditional Scottish instrument will learn the basics from others, while more practised students will be encouraged to play gigs at weddings, parties and local events.
7. Campus people watchers club, University of Minnesota, US
Who hasn’t sat and mindlessly people-watched from time to time? This group of students at the University of Minnesota have turned this traditionally solo activity into a sociable pastime by getting together and forming back stories for the people they spy on campus and in the local area. The group goes one step further by attending events with a checklist of things they might see. Each time you tick off an item you gain a “fun point”.
8. Kettle Society, University of Nottingham, UK
While this sounds like a society dedicated to the appreciation of kettles, it is in fact a group of students from the University of Nottingham who come together to drink tea and coffee, sampling new and unusual blends. They are also partial to a tea crawl by visiting cafes and tea rooms in the area.
If you’re heading to university in September why not check out the strangest societies that your institution has to offer?