Why you should be excited about clubs and course unions!

If you have attended at least one UVic campus tour before, you’ll have almost certainly been told the following about UVic’s clubs and course unions:

  • The UVSS has roughly 200 active clubs that students can join.
  • These clubs include everything from the club ‘classics’ (e.g. 25+ rec sport groups) to almost all niche types of interests one can have on campus (e.g. quidditch, bionics club, and the ‘pickle sisters’ – a club “for people with a passion for pickles”). Get the full list of active clubs here.
  • 30 different course unions are run by students, for students, to represent UVic’s academic departments. They are integral for department-relevant student activities and interests on campus.
man and woman playing soccer

Credit: Vikes Intramurals Website

If you’re like me, the knowledge of these facts are followed by an immediate sense of overwhelm.

I mean, I personally don’t really need 200 clubs to choose from. I need clubs that are accessible, approachable, and low cost to fit my tiny student budget. And unless you attend the ‘clubs & course unions’ fair at the start of each semester, it can be really hard to find information on what club you might be interested on, and where to join!

So, here’s how you can get started:

Credit: UVSS Website

  1. Look at the current list of active clubs on the UVSS website. For intramural sport leagues, register here.
  2. Once you find a club you’re interested in, contact the club using the email address or social media handle found in the spreadsheet.
  3. If you aren’t able to contact the club using these methods, or have any general questions about UVic clubs/course unions, reach out to affairs@uvss.ca with your query!

“Ok so I can see who to contact, but tbh this seems like a lot of effort – is it really worth it joining a student club?”

This^ is something I hear quite a bit, and fair enough – joining a course union or club partway through a semester can take effort and energy, particularly if you don’t love cold-emailing groups essentially asking to hang out.

But, I think joining a club or course union can be enriching to your undergraduate experience.. and no, not because you should ‘try a new thing’ this semester, make the most of your student experience, etc. etc.

No, I think that the biggest reason for why you should join a UVic club is because of how most undergraduate programs are structured.

As you progress further into your degree, you tend to spend more time with a relatively small group of other students who study the same thing that you do (which can be amazing in its own right). But as I entered my upper-year courses as a 4th and 5th-year student, I found that I barely ever interacted with students in other faculties.

By joining a UVic club, particularly as an upper-year student, you get to continue meeting a broader slice of UVic’s student population that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

These are people who may not be in your program, but who might have amazing projects, interests and hobbies that overlap with your own, but whom you would never cross paths with during your regular course timetable.

Especially when doubting my own program, or even my place at this university, it was interacting with students being people who share a common, non-academic interest (e.g. volleyball, chess), that cemented my feelings that being an undergrad student was a good choice for me.

So, there’s my hot take. I sincerely believe that in order to really experience everything that UVic has to offer, you have to try a club – not just to do a new thing, but to meet students you’d never normally get to, and have a healthy on-campus break from your classes.

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