Behind The Scenes: Running QMUL Film Society
4 February 2016
I often say one of the best decisions I made in my first year was joining Film Society. In case you didn’t know, societies are groups and organisations to do with a particular interest or subject, run by university students. I knew hardly anyone in my first year, but after seeing their stall at the Freshers' Fair, I decided to go along.
It was there that I met the majority of my friends, and also introduced some of my other friends to them. I met people from different courses, different ages and different countries, and I loved going to the weekly meetings. We soon had a fairly large group of us, and they became my main university friends.
So naturally, when the opportunity to help run the society came up at the end of first year, I jumped at the chance. It’s quite a daunting process, we had to anonymously nominate ourselves, then give a speech on why we would be best for the position, and then our members anonymously voted for who they wanted. A pretty terrifying experience but I got the position of Secretary! Essentially, most societies have four leadership roles, in the following hierarchy: President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. My jobs included being extra-friendly to all of our newest members and also sending out the weekly emails. I also baked over two hundred cookies for Freshers' Fair, although that quantity was mainly due to some dodgy weight conversion, rather than my enthusiasm! The best thing I did all year was organise a quiz with the treasurer, who also happens to be my close friend and housemate, and is one of the people I introduced to the society back in our first year. I really enjoyed the position, but it didn’t come with much responsibility.
We discussed with one another about what was going to happen the following year. We both wanted to run the society for the next year and had lots of ideas about how to make it better, so we agreed to go with a less conventional approach to make sure we were both happy. Instead of having a President and Vice President, we decided to change the roles and elect to have two Co-Presidents instead. Our ideas essentially included more democracy as we'd noticed that our members wanted more choice in which films were shown. We also wanted to run a lot more events outside our weekly film screenings and get a lot more first years involved. And we won!
This year has been more difficult, and it’s particularly tough because we are both in our final year, but I don’t think either of us would give it up for the world. We’ve attended both rounds of Freshers' Fairs, organised numerous joint film screenings with other societies, thrown a Christmas party in our local cinema, got over 600 people on our mailing list, and we’ve still got a lot of plans ahead. Obviously university work comes first, but having an active role in a society is so rewarding. I love our weekly screenings and our Christmas party this year was one of the best things we’ve done, so I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year has in store!
- Blog provided by Sarah Garnham, a third year English student at Queen Mary University of London.