Set up Your Own Society
Are you frustrated by how little your course covers real issues like immigration and energy security, the Financial Crisis and the Welfare State?
Do you feel like your course isn’t preparing you for the working world adequately?
Do you wish that your lectures and tutorials encouraged you to be inquisitive and ask big questions?
Have you realised that your economics courses never teach you about many legitimate economic perspectives like Austrian or Ecological economics?
Do you believe that economics would be more interesting and useful if it embraced debate and disagreement rather than pretended to be a body of scientifically established facts?
Do you believe that economic debates in the UK are dominated by too few voices and that economics should be made more accessible to the public?
These are all reasons that economics students have started up their own curriculum reform societies.
There are now 8 societies at universities across the UK at Glasgow, Cambridge, LSE, SOAS, UCL, Essex, Manchester and Sheffield. We are in contact with students at more than 5 other universities who are keen to set up too.
We are growing into a national movement and you can join us! We have just set up a National Platform which consists of students from all the UK student groups and we have received funding to employ staff and run projects. A key part of our work will be to support students set up new societies and to provide them with training and encouragement to grow and flourish.
What do societies do?
- They put on events with high profile speakers like Ha Joon Chang, Lord Robert Skidelsky, Diane Coyle and Martin Wolf to educate students and the public about economic perspectives which are not covered in the syllabus and apply economic thinking to the key challenges of our time.
- They plan and implement campaigns at their university to build student support for curriculum reform, engage their economics department in constructive debate and put forward feasible and imaginative suggestions for curriculum reform.
- They build a community of thoughtful, critical, engaged and fun students (and sometimes academics) at their university and run socials, open meetings and discussion groups.
- They do all sorts of other imaginative projects like pluralist economics workshops for sixth formers, organising conferences to engage the public in economics, make documentaries and write articles in national and international newspapers.
What support can I get?
We know all this can sound a bit daunting if you are frustrated and like the sound setting up a society but don’t really know where to begin. That is why we have hired staff whose role is to support students to set up new societies and help them grow until they are fully established.
- We are writing a series of How to Guides which will cover things like setting up a committee and organising your first event.
- We are preparing a series of resources including template petitions, committee adverts and speaker contact lists which will make setting up and running your own society a much easier.
- We are developing a series of training workshops which will be delivered by staff who will come to your university and cover things like developing a campaign strategy.
- You will be able to join the National Platform which will give you the opportunity to work with and share experiences with the other student societies in the UK.
- You will be able to join Rethinking Economics and the International Student Initiative for Pluralism in Economics (ISIPE) which connects students running similar societies from all over the world.
Why should I set up a society?
- You can contribute to making economics education more interesting and improving the training of new economists.
- Setting up your own society is an enormously rewarding experience
- You will join part of a national and international network of likeminded students and get the chance to attend national and international events.
- Running events with high profile speakers gives you the opportunity to meet some of the world’s most influential economists and further your education and that of your course mates and the public.
- Building a campaign from the ground up is fascinating and challenging work and it requires the development of skills and qualities which are highly valuable for both life and employment.
Find out more
If setting up your own pluralist economics student society is something you might be interested in then please do get in contact with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be very happy to discuss it further with you.
Do think about whether you have the time and energy to commit to setting up a society. It isn’t always easy! The next step is to have a chat with friends on your course or ask your course administrator for the mailing list. Then you can send an email out seeing if anyone will join you on the society committee. Once you have a small group together you can register as a student society with your Students’ Union.