8 strange and quirky societies you can join at UK universities

Sean Campbell
Sean Campbell

1 September 2020 • 6 min read

Joining a university society is a great way of expanding your horizons, having fun and making new friends. Your parents or guardians (and your lecturers, perhaps) may consider it prudent to join a society related to your degree. You know -- debating for the law students, university magazine for the would-be journalists, activist groups for the social scientists and so forth. But what’s life without a little bit of whimsy?   

In an environment filled with fun-loving, colourful people, there’s also a whole host of quirky, weird and wonderful university societies to join throughout the UK. As usual, we’ve done the painstaking research so you don’t have to. 

*Alas, we really wanted to tell you all about Manchester University’s Zombie Apocalypse Survival Society, but it appears that they’ve disbanded. Or, you know, turned into zombies...

RoboGals, University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen’s Robogals society has NOT, for the record, got anything to do with robotic females. But it has a lot to do with women who make robots! The society exists to promote and nurture interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering & maths) in young children, and particularly young girls. Female participation in STEM subjects is still much lower than for males. In fact, less that 15% of STEM careers are held by women. But it’s slowly outgrowing the old gender stereotype thanks to role models like the RoboGals. As a member of the society, you’ll visit schools in the Aberdeen area to hold workshops in things like robotics, coding and even rocket engineering! 

Assassins, Durham University

The strange thing is, this is not the only Assassins society in the UK or the world, but it does claim to be the most active (a scary thought). 

While you won’t quite be learning to evade detection and kill unsuspecting victims (at least we don’t think you will), you’ll take part in a range of simulated assassination and combat games throughout the year. You’ll learn the skills needed to be an effective killer, should you ever need them... and you’ll even put them to use in competitions against other UK-based Assassins societies. There are also much less violent social events taking place on the regular, where you killers can unwind a little.

The Quidditch Club, Oxford University

If you don’t know what Quidditch is, it’s a sport played at a ferocious speed high in the air on broomsticks… At least it’s supposed to be, but us Muggles have to just scamper around on the ground with an old broom held between our legs. Does any of this make sense? No? Ok, let’s start again -- Quidditch is the most popular sport in the world of Harry Potter, and we non-magical folk are “Muggles”, rather unfortunately. But given the world’s love for all things Harry Potter, we’ve gone ahead and tried to play the sport anyway. And just like the Assassin’s Society mentioned above, the Oxford Quidditch Club is far from the only one in the UK (there are over 300 worldwide). No matter the university you choose to go to, there just might be a Quidditch club for you, too. 

The 20 Minute Society, Newcastle University

Newcastle University's most popular social society, this is one for the impulsive and the open minded, those who are willing to seek adventure on a moment’s notice. The concept of the 20 minute society is simple: Every week, you’ll receive a random text message with a location. Your job? Drop whatever you’re doing and get there within 20 minutes. The good news is that it’s always worth it -- you might wind up at a concert, a comedy gig, a nightclub, or even find yourself heading on a mystery holiday or city break! 

SocieTEA, University of Bath

If you’re moving to the UK from overseas to study, one great way of getting in touch with your new home would be by taking part in the great British pastime: drinking tea and chatting with friends. This is one for the students who aren’t so keen on sweaty nightclubs and bars, preferring an altogether more relaxing social event. It’s quite a simple affair, just bring your mug, meet at a cafe of the society’s choosing, sip tea and make friends. And since the group will no doubt have a couple of tea aficionados, you may well learn a great deal while having a great time. 

The Chocolate Society, Edinburgh University

Or ChocSoc, as it's better known. And boy do we like the sound of that. Much like the TEA society, this is not a complicated society. Just bring yourself and your love for chocolate, and take part in regular tastings! I don’t really think we need to say much more about this to be honest… But for what it’s worth, the Edinburgh University ChocSoc is about more than just chocolate and chatting (you could do that at home in your pyjamas after all). The tasting sessions are informative and interesting, teaching you more about the whole world of chocolate, and you can even take part in chocolatiering workshops!


The Viking Society, Plymouth University 

If assassins and wizards aren’t up your alley, then how about vikings? The UK was a viking hotspot in days gone by, given that they originated a short skip and a hop away in Scandinavia, and frequently sailed the seas around Britain and Ireland. In the Plymouth University Viking Society, you’ll learn all about their way of life by taking part in traditional Viking games, while fully dressed for the part of course. You’ll be doing this in public, by the way, so enjoy that! One thing you should know by the way is that Vikings liked a good old alcohol fuelled party, so best to bear that in mind. 

KiguSoc, University of York

This one takes the crown for the quirkiest of our quirky university societies, and so we’ve saved it for last. The “Kigu”, if you don’t already know, is that Japanese one piece costume that looks like an animal (or a Pokemon). The KiguSoc philosophy is simple, “There is no occasion or activity that is not improved by a Kigu”. To be honest, we kind of see their point. Why not be as comfortable and colourful as possible when stepping out with your friends? 

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Sean Campbell
Written By
Sean Campbell

Sean is a writer, copywriter & editor from Ireland.


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