Forming a new winning new society of the year!

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Footsteps on a path: text at start reads "Forming a new society" and 'arrives at' "Winning new socie

When I started at Heriot-Watt, I was playing chess online but wanted to join the chess society to play against people from the uni, make new friends, and possibly play in tournaments against other universities. 

After going to the Freshers FairI found that, to my dismay, there was no chess society. I spoke to Polly and found out what I needed to do in order to set one up. Having just joined the university I didn’t really know anyone who enjoyed chess and I still needed two more committee members and ten members overall. 

After booking a spot on the link-bridge for a few hours and we got 60 people interested as well the other two society committee members we needed. We met up to discuss what we wanted to do going forward, completed all the relevant forms and went along to the next society council meeting. After talking about the aims of our society and a few questions there was a vote and we were officially a new society! 

Next, we set up a bank account and applied for funding to buy some chess boards, which we managed to get. After buying the boards and getting ready to launch, we had some free lessons and got a good community going; with weekly games, nights out, and even competing in an international competition against Russian universities, alongside other Edinburgh universities! 

When the volunteer awards came around, our members nominated us for new society of the year...and we won! It was a fantastic experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Starting a new society was a great experience and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who thinks they see a gap in the market for something that they enjoy doing. 

You might think that you don’t know enough people or that you can’t set up a society because you’ve not been at the uni long enough but that’s not true! Setting up a new society has led me to make some great new friends (two of whom are my roommates), some great experiences, winning the new society of the year award, and a job at the union, plus loads more, so I’d highly recommend you just go for it if you’re thinking about setting up a new society! 

We have a great resource on starting a new society here, and if you have any questions feel free to email me ( or Polly ( 


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