Societies: Debating and Campaigning

The university has plenty of societies that focus on debating and campaigning, we’ve put together a list of what York has to offer

Amnesty International

Amnesty International aims to ‘take action and stop grave abuse’ of human rights, safeguarding the physical and mental integrity and freedom of individuals. The society offers a platform for all those who want to promote, engage and empower human rights. Some of their famous campaigns include the #BringOurGirlsBack, women’s rights in Afghanistan, refugee crisis in Syria and forced evictions in Kenya. 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!

Debating Society

York’s Debating Society acts as a non-partisan forum for speech and debate at York. They run weekly public debates and training sessions, while hosting speakers and competing at national level. If you want to indulge in public speaking and improve your argumentation and persuasion skills this is a society for you.

Gender Accessible Politics Society (GAP)

University of York society seeks to encourage underrepresented genders to get involved in University politics as well as general politics at every level. The society welcomes everyone wishing to debate and work to change the current gender political environment, disregarding their political orientation or gender. Societies events include guest speakers, inter-party panel debates on current affairs, training events in public speaking, campaigning and socials.

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. They 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!


Part of the national movement, this society aims to raise awareness, campaigning 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 to learn about the issue. The society provides an open platform from which a fluid and important dialogue between different campaigns and groups can be stimulated. Their objective is contributed to the wider humanitarian cause by organising various events and campaigns which will help to raise awareness of the Palestinian plight.

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.

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.

Think Tank (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.

United Nations Association

Based on the classic model UN structure, the United Nations in York is widely respected not just in York but nationally. They hold an event in York every year as well as travelling to events all over the country.

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 Union

Established in 2013, the York Union aims to host engaging talks, interviews and debates that contribute to the intellectual life of the University and surrounding area. It grew from the foundations of Nouse Events, set up in 2012. The York Union is one of the most popular societies as it has hosted events with Alastair Campbell, Jonathan Powell and Baroness Scotland! 

Wiki Stage

WikiStage is a non-profit organization powered by a network of people across the world who share the belief that it is important to never stop learning and to ‘Celebrate Curiosity’. Their objective is to create a collaborative free video library of questions; to make knowledge go viral. This year marks the launch of WikiStage for the first time in the UK, from our university! WikiEvents provide a platform for both speakers and students to discuss and explore a broad range of questions. Working alongside a passionate international community, our society invites you to take the stage and fuel your curiosity.

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