Talking Points

A sunset over the rocks at Rombalds Moor in Yorkshire.

Five unexpected University of Leeds societies

The University of Leeds has over 300 clubs and societies waiting to be discovered by students. Whether you’re drawn to the adrenaline of sports, the sense of community in religion, or the intellectual pursuit of your degree subject, there’s something for everyone.

Joining a University of Leeds club or society isn’t just about finding your place — there are many benefits to gain. From building lasting friendships and combatting loneliness to taking essential study breaks and boosting your CV for future employment.

Clubs for football, performing arts, and rock music exist at all universities, but hidden treasures are waiting to be found.

Join us as we unveil five unexpected societies at Leeds University that offer unique opportunities, adding extra interest to your undergraduate or postgraduate experience.

1. Stitch & Bitch

Membership fee: £5.00

Embark on a creative journey beyond the confines of solitary crafting by signing up to Stitch & Bitch, where creativity flourishes within a vibrant social setting.

Crafters gather weekly to unleash their imagination, armed with their preferred crafting equipment  — knitting needles, crochet hooks, cross-stitch patterns, or a stack of origami paper.

This society welcomes beginners and seasoned crafters alike, fostering a supportive environment for exploration and skill-sharing.

If you’re keen to try a new craft, express your interest to the committee, which organises regular teaching sessions led by knowledgeable members. Accessing materials is easy, with starter kits available at discounted rates for members, and bringing your own supplies is always an option.

Past sessions reflect the diverse array of crafts covered, including:

  • tote bag painting
  • embroidery
  • bracelet making
  • square knot charms
  • origami
  • amigurumi
  • crochet.

2. Bedside Buddies

Membership fee: Free
Bedside Buddies is a heartwarming initiative and a unique chance to contribute to the local community. There are 21 volunteer societies at the University of Leeds, and Bedside Buddies stands out for its dedication to bringing comfort and joy to young patients at Leeds Children’s Hospital.

Membership is open to all, with no fees required. Potential volunteers undergo a thorough selection process. You’ll need to complete an application form, two references, an interview, and a DBS check.

Once accepted, members gather for regular socials and commit to spending two hours per week in a designated hospital ward, engaging in playful activities and entertaining the children.

If you can’t make a regular commitment, you can become a temporary volunteer during special events at Christmas or Halloween.

Recruitment for volunteers typically occurs at the start of the academic year, so don’t miss your chance to get involved. Submit your application early to be part of this meaningful cause and make a tangible difference in the lives of young local patients.

3. Hat Society

A male student drinking a pint of beer in a bar, wearing a blue hat.

Membership fee: £3.00

If you’re a headwear enthusiast studying at Leeds University, the Hat Society awaits. For just £3, you can dive headfirst into a community that celebrates all things hats.

Whether you’re a hat lover or designer headgear collector, this society promises plenty of fun-filled events where you can socialise with like-minded individuals. From lively quizzes and spirited bar crawls to creative hat-making workshops and charitable fundraisers, there’s something for everyone.

The only rule? Don your finest headpiece at every event — the crowning touch brings the community together.

4. The 93% Club Leeds

Membership fee: Free

The 93% Club is a beacon of inclusivity dedicated to enhancing the university experience for state-educated students.

A proud member of the nationwide 93% Club, named after the percentage of UK pupils educated in state schools, this society is a testament to accessibility and equality. Far from an exclusive enclave, it welcomes all with open arms, striving to level the playing field in education and beyond.

Alongside typical social gatherings synonymous with university clubs, The 93% Club offers its members many invaluable invites to special events.

The club recognises the disparity in access to top job roles for state-educated students. It’s committed to bridging the gap through career workshops, networking events, and insightful panels of speakers.

Past events have illuminated diverse paths to success and include:

  • a discussion with Jack Edwards (social media influencer and author) about university and social mobility
  • an evening with Robert Verkaik (journalist, author, and barrister) discussing the inequalities of the education system
  • an event hosted by Bethan Staton (deputy editor of the Financial Times’s work and careers section) about the field of journalism coming from a socially mobile background
  • a LinkedIn and networking workshop hosted by Teach First
  • free professional LinkedIn headshots.

5. Wilderness Medicine Society

Membership fee: £15.50 (including £3.50 personal liability insurance)

Step off the beaten path and venture into the world of expedition medicine with the Wilderness Medicine Society at Leeds University — a society unlike any other.

Most societies meet on campus, but the Wilderness Medicine Society thrives in the heart of nature. Weekend trips are often spent in the Yorkshire Dales’ serene landscapes, the Lake District’s rugged beauty, or the remote expanses of Northumberland.

This society caters to students passionate about wilderness and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a gateway to unparalleled adventure and learning.

Led by a dedicated committee, members embark on regular excursions to immerse themselves in real-life wilderness medicine scenarios.

The society provides unique learning opportunities delivered by seasoned professionals like the Holme Valley and Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Teams. This ensures that each event is educational and exhilarating.

Local day trips, “Give It A Go” sessions, and weekend getaways happen often. There are plenty of chances to immerse yourself in the wild, whether navigating the rugged terrain of Ilkley Moor or exploring the picturesque charm of Settle.

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