Student-run clubs are an integral part of student life at Monash University, which has an enviable level of activity on a world scale. The appeal of student-run clubs is that each club fills a unique niche in student life, not offered within the bounds of course syllabi. Involvement in clubs also offers students diverse ways of networking and developing skills that may or may not be related to their line of study.
Clubs at Monash are classified into diverse categories, including academic, cultural, special interest, performing arts, spiritual, political, welfare and Halls of Residence. Within these categories, the variety of activities is endless. I attempt to delve behind the scenes of some of Monash’s clubs to illuminate their infinitely interesting pursuits.
MUPS / Philharmonic Society / The Phil (Performing Arts)
With its origins dating back to 1982, in its primal form as a string quartet, the Phil now unites musicians at Monash with weekly rehearsal and seasonal concerts, encompassing a full orchestra and several smaller ensembles and bands. Social events, including a semesterly camp, as well as an annual charity concert, round out the suite of activities undertaken by the Phil’s 300+ members. The Phil finances itself through part of the proceeds from concerts, as well as C&S grants; with a 14-strong committee responsible for MUPS’ soaring success. http://www.monashclubs.org/ Clubs/Philharmonic
MoPS/ Polish (Cultural)
The Monash Polish Society cites as its creed “to enrich Monash with the cultural wonders of Poland”. Formed in 2011, the Polish society has made quite an entrance to club life, becoming one of the more conspicuous and active clubs in 2013. Members and acquaintances of the Polish Society have been spoilt with weekly social events or barbeques, as well as festive occasions such as Fat Thursday, to usher in Lent with as many Polish strudels and doughnuts (paczki) as possible; and Cake Day featuring more Polish specialities. Undoubtedly, the hospitality of the Polish Society has been enjoyed by many more students than the 270 that are recognised as members. MoPS also partnered with the Juggling and Fire twirling Club (McJAF) to host a trivia night, as well as a creative rendezvous (hardly a ‘partnership’) with the German Club in a symbolic showdown of Laser Tag. http://www.monashclubs.org/Clubs/Polish
MAD/ Debaters (special interest)
The Monash Association of Debaters has grown from its inception 50 years ago to be the largest and most successful debating society in the Southern Hemisphere. Monash has earned the title of World Champions not one, but three years in a row since 2011. The club’s membership numbers 763, which places it in the same category as the largest clubs on campus, which is usually an honour reserved for large faculty clubs. Aside from the Australasian Debating Championships, the novice Easters tournament and the World Debating Championships, MAD’s calendar also features a home-grown tournament, the Monash Intervarsity Debating Championships. Debaters also publish a one-of-a-kind peer-reviewed journal which is circulated internationally. MAD is sponsored by several faculties, as well as Bain & Company consulting firm; who undoubtedly see the value of associating with a club of successful public speakers. MAD is open to individuals of any level of debating experience, with weekly training sessions tailored for anyone from social debaters to world-champion debaters. http://www.monashclubs.org/Clubs/Debaters
To find out more about all the clubs and societies at Monash, log onto the swanky new C&S website at http://www.monashclubs.org/ Home. Activities run by all clubs are open to members and non-members alike.
Thank you to Katie, Louisa and Samuel for providing me with the wonderful insights into their clubs on which this article is based.