Joining a society is a fantastic way to meet new people, indulge your interests or try something new. Our University of York Students' Union supports over 200 student societies at York.
What's a society?
Societies are student groups who meet to take part in an activity or shared interest. From astronomy to aerobics, and politics to poetry – we have over 200 student-run societies and more than 65 sports clubs to get involved in. If you can't find what you're looking for, you can even start your own!
As well as having fun, you can develop skills highly valued by employers. For example, joining a society committee is a great way to develop your leadership or teamwork capabilities. You can also get your experience recognised through our employability certificate, the York Award.
Over 200 societies and 65 sports clubs
all entirely organised by and for our students
England's longest-running student TV station
York Student Television (YSTV) has been broadcasting since 1967
Britain's first independent radio station
University Radio York (URY) was first DJed by John Peel in 1968
Academic and educational
Expand your subject knowledge, enhance your employment prospects and take part in fun activities with our academic societies.
Most departments have an associated society, open to students from across the University, so if you're studying law but you love history you can still get your fix!
Whatever your interest, we have societies for many subject areas taught at York.
Faith and international
Discover and celebrate world cultures and religions with societies such as Christian Union, Islamic Society, Jewish Society, African Caribbean Society, Ukrainian Society or Chinese Society to name just a few – they're open to all students. You can get informal language support, try different foods and meet people from all over the world!
You could also join our International Students' Association (ISA). They organise a variety of events and trips throughout the year, such as food fiestas, cultural celebrations, coffee afternoons and day trips.
There are loads of societies at York celebrating world cultures and religions. They offer communities full of amazing people who come together for fun, support and celebration. I’ve particularly enjoyed showing off my moves at the Bollywood nights!
Navin, MBiol Genetics.
Campaigning and political
Find your purpose and make an impact. Join one of our student activist groups to campaign, fundraise and spread awareness about global issues.
Write for a newspaper or an online magazine, produce or direct films, or become a radio presenter. Getting involved in our award-winning student media societies is a great way to enhance your CV and impress potential employers.
York Student Television (YSTV) is an award-winning TV station run entirely by and for students.
YSTV have their own control room and studio (complete with green screen!), something most student TV stations don’t have the space for.
Have a go at writing, producing, directing or presenting. If you’ve ever wanted to get your face on screen, or you have a brilliant idea for a show, YSTV is the society for you. You don’t need to have any experience to join YSTV, you just need lots of enthusiasm!
Our well-respected student press is a great place to hone your journalistic skills. You could help produce:
Best Student Radio Station
Student Radio Awards, 2020
Our student-run University Radio York (URY) was Britain's first independent radio station. Their first show was DJed by John Peel in 1968.
They broadcast 24 hours a day during term time, and can often be seen around campus covering events. They've won lots of awards over the years, including 'Best Journalistic Broadcasting' in the Student Radio Awards, 2020.
Arts and culture
Express yourself, or simply be inspired by the art on offer around campus.
- Art Society runs life drawing classes and workshops, and holds termly exhibitions and trips to art galleries.
- Enjoy painting beautiful and intricate designs with Henna Society.
- Norman Rea Art Gallery is run entirely by students. They curate student- and professional-made art in exhibitions throughout the year.
- Hone your creative writing skills with Inklings.
- Beginners, experts and everyone in between can enjoy all kinds of needle-craft with Sewing Society.
- Try your hand at spoken word with Slam Poetry.
- Watch and discuss films from around the globe with the World Cinema Society.
There are many societies dedicated to almost every nerdy thing under the sun. If you want to chill out and play some games, you'll find your space at York.
- Attend weekly socials and workshops welcoming players of all skills to the adventure that is Dungeons and Dragons.
- Join in online gaming events, socials and esports tournaments with the Gaming and Esports Society.
- Get involved in competitive or casual gaming – join Chess Society and hone your game in good company.
- Explore board games, card games, war games, and live action role play at the Board and Sword Gaming Society.
We have over 20 societies dedicated to pop-culture obsessions. We even have a society dedicated to Taylor Swift – SwiftSoc!
Other fandom groups include:
Explore what interests you the most or try something new.
- Build body strength, flexibility and peace of mind with Yoga Society.
- Try fighting, costuming, camping, crafting, dancing or feasting – channel your inner Viking in Re-Enactment Society.
- LGBTQ Social hosts twice-weekly socials in a friendly, safe environment for all non-heterosexual and/or non-cisgendered students.
- Experience the great outdoors in good company with the Outdoor Society's weekly walks (pub stops optional)!
- Meet like-minded travel enthusiasts and take part in fun, affordable trips around the UK and Europe with Travel Society.
Explore more on campus
Sport and fitness
Choose from over 65 sports clubs, play for your college team, or sign up with the fitness centre.
Give something back to the community and boost your experience and skill set through volunteering.
Culture on campus
Whether you want to play, watch, listen or perform, there are lots of ways to enjoy culture on campus.