I wanted to get another blog post out to you guys about societies. I was involved in launching our own Maritime & Shipping Society in my second year and I think being part of a society is a great added value everyone should try out.
There are some 100 societies that are part of the Students Union and all offer something unique. We started our society to get all the shipping students together for maritime conferences, socials, beach cleaning events, football tournaments and other activities i.e. a fun run to raise money for seafarers (there are still cases of seafarers being abandoned onboard without supplies by their employer). Our maritime students come from all over the world: Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Latvia, Russia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, the UK etc. The only time everyone will be together is during the events we do and for our last social there have been about 100 people coming to the Treasury for drinks with our multicultural group. It just represents perfectly the industry we will work in and it’s great preparation as well.
Not only have we launched the student society but also a Professional “sub-group” of a networking group in London called Shipping Professional Network London (SPNL). Our first conference was held at our most maritime building Mast House with a view over the harbour. Talks were given by the SPNL chairman and a naval commander regarding Somalian piracy followed by a round of drinks. We were even lucky enough to have a couple of industry professionals joining us. Building up contacts and getting extra knowledge is a key focus of every society. I also have been able to organise a networking event for our course during a trip to the Port of Rotterdam with a networking group there. We met those young aspiring professionals that we will hopefully be in a couple of years - and it was great fun (the event was on an old ship restored into a bar!).
One of the great events we have launched was a beach cleaning volunteer expedition together with the National Trust. We went down to the River Plym and picked as much litter as we could. Many people came and it was such a fun time so that the work was done easily! It is a great way to enhance your CV but also a chance to have a fun day with your friends whilst meeting new people. Another event was our Oceana end of year social to celebrate our exams which was a crazy night and this summer some of our members were invited to attend the London International Shipping Week.
If you have not yet thought about joining a society I think you should get involved with one of the societies in your chosen subject as soon as you get the opportunity. It is so much fun every time and I would just love to stay a student for a couple more years.