Societies Guide: Debating and Campaigns

Debating and Campaigns aim to make a difference on and off campus, tackling a range of issues such as human rights, refugees and the importance of literature

Debating and Campaigns aim to make a difference on and off campus. With societies that include York Amnesty, STAR, YorkPEN and Feminist Society they cover a range of issues tackling human rights, refugees, the importance of literature and equal rights. Whether you’re interested in competitive debating and campaigning within the societies, some of which are registered charities, or you just wish to learn more about particular causes there is something for all. It doesn’t matter how much experience or knowledge you have regarding the different issues as long as you’re passionate. Of course each society also offers an array of socials and meetings, including the Debating Society’s infamous ‘tipsy debating’.

University of York Amnesty International
Aims to “make a difference” and end injustices and abuses of internationally recognised human rights. The society campaigns and writes petitions and letters in an attempt to end such injustices – if you’re passionate about human rights then this is the society for you.

Body Gossip Society
Body Gossip is a nationwide project whose aim is to invite everyone in the UK to write something about their body and submit it to the Body Gossip website. A selection of the stories received are then made into live stage shows, short films or even published in the Body Gossip book; all of these championing a realistic and positive body image. Body Gossip Society will take it’s lead from the national project and work to collect the stories of students at York. By encouraging people to write their own stories down – and reading other peoples’ – it helps people to realise that everyone has hangups about their body and things they’d change, and that’s ok, its part of being who you are! It’s the acceptance of these things that can make you feel more confident and better about yourself.

York University Debating Society
Debating Soc holds non-partisan debates on any and every issue every week. Anyone is welcome to come and listen to these debates. If you want to get involved and become a debater, then the society also holds classes for people of any level of debating. This can then lead to becoming part of the debating team and competing against other Universities. The society also has socials, including their infamous “tipsy debating”.

York Feminist Society
Ratified last year amongst national debate, the York Feminist Society welcomes both men and women to discuss feminist issues, and organise campaigns. Last year ‘One Billion Rising’ and ‘York Needs Feminism’ were both associated with the fledgling organisation.

A debate surrounding the stocking of the Sun caused controversy on campus last February

A debate surrounding the stocking of the Sun caused controversy on campus last February

Gender Accessible Politics (GAP)
Gender Accessible Politics is a welcoming society for people with an interest and involvement in politics at the University of York, working together to encourage underrepresented genders to get involved in University and National politics. Welcome to anyone of any political or gender orientation who wishes to debate and work to change the current political gender climate. Events include guest speakers, inter-party panel debates on current affairs, training events in public speaking, campaigning and socials.

International Development Society
Aiming to connect students with a shared interest in international development, the society organises trips and speakers to engage with its members and raise awareness. It also runs campaigns and advocates issues.

New Generation Society
NGS is a non-partisan group of students dedicated to expanding discourse on campus through creating an open, welcoming space for engaging debate. We run weekly informal “Thinking and Drinking” speaker-and-discussion events on varied social/political/flat-out interesting topics – bring yourself, a drink, strong opinions, and enjoy! (Tuesdays, P/L/005, 7:30PM)

Oxfam
Part of the national movement, this society aims to raise awareness and to campaign for the eradication of poverty and injustice. They run activities with the North England and City of York Oxfam groups, ensuring a wide and interesting membership.

Palestinian Solidarity Society
Do you feel passionate about the Palestinian cause? The Palestinian Solidarity Society is a society that aims to raise awareness aims and support for Palestinians with a particular focus on human rights and occupation. The society welcomes all members and any student that wishes learn about the issue or express any opinion. Therefore, the society provides an open platform from which a fluid and important dialogue between different campaigns and groups can be stimulated. Our objective is contributed to the wider humanitarian cause by organising various events and campaigns which will help to raise awareness of the Palestinian plight. We also hope to and expose the misrepresentation of this plight for those who face violence, terror, injustice, inhumanity and oppression.

People and Planet Society
People and Planet claims to be the University of York’s “biggest campaigning society”. As part of a national student organisation, they campaign on issues such as Human Rights, World Poverty and the Environment. The society is open to new members and easy to join and get involved in.

The national STAR Logo

The national STAR Logo

STAR (Student Action for Refugees)
STAR falls under the national network of student groups working to improve the lives of refugees in this country. They promote positive images of refugees, volunteer for projects helping refugees, and campaign for rights and issues surrounding refugees.

Vegetarian and Vegan Society
Providing a forum for vegans and vegetarians to discuss the politics behind their choices, swap recipes, and meet other alternative food eaters. They also support alternative eating campaigns, such as “No Meat Monday”.

York PEN: University of York’s English PEN Society
York PEN is a registered charity campaigning to protect and promote literature and freedom of speech, with an emphasis on freedom of speech. The society coordinates with the English department, alongside a new module on Human Rights, helping to raise awareness through events such as talks by authors such as Erwin James.

York Student Think Tank
York Student Think Tank is one of the only student think tanks in the country. They focus on social policy so have regular group discussions, big events with guest speakers and we write our own reports and journal. Great for anyone who is interested in politics, current affairs or a future career in research. Look out for their policy report on disabled students’ access to sport at York, available at their Freshers’ Fair stall. Here’s the article from when YSTT was Nouse’s featured society.

A policy lab in action at the York Student Think Tank

A policy lab in action at the York Student Think Tank

Find contact details of each society on the YUSU website

Have we missed your society off, or does your society’s profile need updating? Email [email protected] to update your listing.

One comment

  1. 3 Sep ’13 at 12:38 am

    University of York Women's Officer

    Just to clarify – York Feminists are not a ratified society, they are a subcommittee of the Women’s Network. One Billion Rising was organised by members of University of York Amnesty International, and York Needs Feminism (https://www.facebook.com/YorkNeedsFeminism) is run by Women’s Committee and Amnesty jointly. York Feminists are a discussion group and not a campaign-based group. For anymore information on the different feminist and women’s issues groups available at York, please contact [email protected] or find us at Freshers Fair.

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