How to become the President of a Society?
So society elections are coming up!! Which means my time as President of my society is quickly coming to an end and I thought I’d share some tips on how you can grab that presidency position now or in future if it’s something you’re interested in.
When I first came to Warwick as a somewhat unconfident Fresher, I looked at Society Presidents and couldn’t imagine being in their position at all – I didn’t think I had it in me to run or even manage a whole society and couldn’t wrap my head around some people managed to do it and balanced their degree as well. 2 years down the line, and I had the confidence to run and was elected President of a society; Warwick STAR! (aka Warwick Student Action for Refugees). So I’m here to share some wisdom and show that it’s really not that far out of reach.
If you’re currently actively involved in a society, you actually have a good chance at running for presidency, even if you’re just a first year.
That’s all you really need to do to have a chance. If people know who you are and you have actively engaged with the society and shown continuous interest – you can run!
If you think you’re not confident enough or not ready yet (which is how I felt this time during first year), run for a different exec position so you get a taste of what it’s like being on an exec and show you’re committed and responsible – then you’d have an even better shot the year after!
Ask whoever is President (or on exec) that year what their role entails – show that you’re interested in running for it next year and see if what they tell you would actually suit you.
Come up with new ideas and improvements to the society – show that you’re going to continue making sure the society is a success and what you’re going to do differently in the role in your manifesto (if online elections) or speech (if elections event). Show that you’ve been to past events and seen how they’ve been run (incase people haven’t seen you there it also lets them know you were actively involved) and suggest what could be done differently. But I do not mean saying what has been donely by the outgoing exec and talking about how the society has been run in a negative manner – talk about what you liked and what you think could bring that could supplement and make things better. And talk to other members and see what they say as well!
The most important piece of advice I have to give is that you be honest to yourself, ask yourself why you’re running. Do not run if you’re just wanting to put that Presidency or exec role for the sake of your CV. It is a big role and it is not always ‘fun’ in the traditional sense – it involves a lot of admin and paperwork, and managing everyone else on the exec to ensure things run smoothly and tasks are delegated evenly. You have to be committed, professional and be easily reachable.
That last point is something I personally struggled with. I do not like to use my phone very much and I’m not very good at responding to emails / texts and I really had to try be constantly available to people all the time – which can get exhausting. At times, it can also be difficult to balance with your degree.
While I’m quite sad that it’s almost over, in a way I’m also glad as it will probably free up some of my time so I can focus on the last push of my final year at university. It’s a bit of a bittersweet ending for me. I learned so much and it has been completely invaluable to me, but it has really made me realise what type of role and tasks I enjoy. If I were to compare being President to my previous role as Conversation Club Coordinator in running the volunteering sessions, I definitely preferred the latter as I felt a lot more involved that way and you could see results from that. Being President can be a lot of behind the scenes work and less physical engagement a lot of the time. But it really improved my ability to time-manage and how to prioritise tasks.
So, while I’m definitely glad I ran for President and enjoyed that experience overall, I honestly do not think I could do another year of it as it can really take over your time and life at times.
That’s all for me, I hope this was helpful and good luck with everyone running for elections!