The university’s Student Union, with a proud tradition since the university´s founding in 1965, plays an immense role in student life at Warwick along with societies on campus. With over 250 societies, the university has a lot to offer in terms of extra-curricular activities. Almost all of our student and alumni interviewees were involved with multiple societies in some kind of capacity. Our interviewees recounted experiences from cycling from London to Paris for charity (Pierre Botcherby) to dancing with Salsa Soc until 2AM on the Piazza (Andrew Burchell).
At the end of my first year we did like a charity bike ride from London to Paris, over 3 days, which was quite good fun, and we raised a lot of money, had a laugh doing it, bit of a car crash of organization really. But we got there in one piece – well, just about, because I nearly killed myself a couple of hours in, coming off spectacularly descending a hill on a country lane.” Pierre, French and History, 2011-2015
Was right at the end of my final year, before any work had started on the Oculus and actually it was fairly near to the site of where the new Humanities building is, that little bit of grass where the acorn sculptures are and it was a brilliant summer, it was the time the World Cup was on but most of us in Salsa weren’t interested in watching it, so we took a speaker, set up there and played music and just danced on the grass from about 1 pm till about 9 pm. Then after the match had finished, we took the speaker onto the Piazza, cleared away all of the smashed glass and then just danced there until about 2 am, as we had all finished exams and had nothing else to do.” Andrew, History and French, 2010-2014
Our student-run Nightline is a great representation of student dedication. During term time, volunteers do 9 PM to 9 AM shifts in order to listen and help struggling callers. Warwick Nightline even won the "Nightline of the Year" award in 2014. Pierre recounts his experience as a volunteer.
I used to volunteer for Nightline and you know that is an experience certainly… it was a really interesting extracurricular thing to do, but also one where you felt you were providing some kind of service to the student body. Cause it was – is, I assume – still a well-used service, [a] much needed service. For those who don’t know, it is essentially the Samaritans but run by students, it does other things too, general enquiries, pregnancy tests, things like that, it is a whole host of things”
I used to do one shift of that a week, I was in charge of the publicity too, which was good fun. As part of our publicity we tried introducing a mascot – the “Night Lion” – to hand out stuff after club nights in the SU. At the time, loads of other uni’s Nightlines had mascots so we felt we had to try having one, though we didn’t keep it. A more successful initiative was working with the uni to increase signage around campus and getting the Languages Centre to help us produce publicity material in multiple languages.” Pierre, French and History, 2011-2015
Some students expressed feelings that there has been a recent downward trend in terms of society interaction on campus.
RAG week used to be so much better than it is now. You could pay to have people come into you lectures and they’d pie people in the face or they used to tie someone to a tree and throw backed beans on them and stuff. All this stuff that happened. So, it was really quite fun, RAG week but now’s it a bit meh. Now it’s on the Piazza but it used to be around all the lectures. It used to be bigger.” Ellie King, Joint Oxford and Warwick PhD Candidate