Guelph-Humber societies giving students out-of-class experience

Natalia Vega
HSF Reporter

University of Guelph-Humber’s motto is “Get Involved! Be Informed!” and one way to do this is through joining one of the GH societies.
Brenley Devlin, Student Life and Alumni coordinator of Non-Business Societies, said the difference between clubs and societies are that clubs run by Humber Students’ Federation are for Humber College and Guelph-Humber students, while societies funded under Student Life are primarily for Guelph-Humber students, centering around the programs the university offers.
However, GH students are not limited in joining societies that are based on the program they are enrolled in. For example, a Media Studies student can join the Psych Society.
“All of our societies are run by Guelph-Humber students,” Devlin said. “Every year we run an application process so students can apply for those executive roles.”
Devlin said students involved in societies gain many skills such as event planning, communication, team building, scheduling and taking initiative.
She said there is a plan in place that should start in the near future that will record the enrolment in clubs and societies on an official transcript.
“One thing that Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber are working on is called a co-curricular record and basically that’s a transcript of all the activities that a student is involved with outside of the classroom,” Devlin said. “It’s kind of a bridging tool for student to be able to articulate, ‘I was a part of this club or this society, and these are the skills I gained from it.’”
Devlin said the societies usually run about two to six events each semester and each society is required to submit an activity plan to Student Life before the semester starts.
Liana Acri, Student Life coordinator and society advisor for Business Societies, said nine societies are based on business programs and six are based on non-business programs.
Acri said the events hosted by the business societies range from conferences and debates to alumni networking events. She said there are two societies involved with outside organizations.
“DECA, (formally known as Distributive Education Clubs of America) which is our business case competition group is a chapter organization so they’re part of a larger part of DECA U Ontario. There’s different chapters set up at different colleges and universities across the province,” Acri said.
“The non-business society, Alpha Phi Sigma, is a chapter organization and it’s an honour society so there’s a certain academic level you need to maintain to be in that society and that’s within our Justice Studies program,” she said.
Acri said depending on the society, there are usually three to six executive positions available to a student. By taking on executive roles, students learn skills involving communication, event planning, taking initiative and scheduling.
“It’s really a great opportunity for students to take what they’re learning in class and apply it in another area and get involved beyond the classroom,” she said.
Acri said their goal was to have a society for each program and now that they do they’re not accepting applications to start more societies.
Fourth-year Business Administration student Ashish Mohan is the president of the International Business Association.
He said the society raises awareness on what international business is and prepares students interested in business for future internships or careers.
“We try to maintain an outlook where the society is not just for business students,” Mohan said. “People who are interested in travelling abroad and doing an internships there, we can help in whatever way possible.”
Mohan said the society doesn’t have a strict list of members. There are four executives and about six students who will usually attend events.
He said being a part of this society not only helps with applying for future jobs but also to learn more about the career path he would like to pursue.
Fourth-year psychology student, Saloni Kalia, 21, is the vice-president of activities for the Psych Society. She is in charge of setting up events for the year. Events include raising awareness among students about mental illness.
“Psych Society really tries hard to be very accessible and easy for others to get involved. For the first time we have a really big volunteer base,” said Kalia. “One of our volunteers suggested an event for Movember which is why we really got her on board and she actually lead the campaign for that.”
Kalia said being in this society will help her gain skills needed for her future career. She has been part of the Psych society for two years. Additionally, last year she was a third-year rep at GH for her program.