Are you new to the University of Manitoba and looking to get involved in the student community on campus? With over 206 student clubs and 28 associations, there’s always something for everyone.
Whether you’re interested in politics, chess, sports, feminism, or anything in-between, we can help you find the group that’s right for you! As the Vice President of Student Life with the University of Manitoba, one of the largest aspects of my portfolio is overseeing all of the student-led clubs and associations on the University of Manitoba campuses – both Bannatyne and Fort Garry.
Why join a club? Here’s my take.
I used to be quite involved in student groups myself, and I wouldn’t be sitting in my position at UMSU now if it weren’t for the experience and connections I’d made through my involvement in my first few years of university.
My introduction to student clubs on campus was through residence, and I quickly found myself involved with two different residence councils on campus. I later found myself wanting to be more involved in my faculty community, so I joined the Science Students’ Association and was with them for two years. It was so valuable to be able to connect with students who were in similar programs and courses as me and to be able to create programming specific to science students.
I spent 3 years with another club on campus called Justice for Women Manitoba, and it was here that I discovered my passion for anti-sexual violence work and advocacy. I was surrounded by strong women and male allies that wanted to create a more equitable campus and the world, and to create a safer community for all students. This club truly changed my entire outlook on society, and it’s because of this group that I’ve been able to continue advocating for consent culture among post-secondary institutions as well as increased resources and supports for sexual violence survivors. My work through Justice for Women has led me to other anti-sexual violence organizations and allowed me to take my advocacy efforts to larger levels throughout the province of Manitoba and throughout Canada.
I’m a huge believer in the concept of getting the absolute most out of your university experience, which to me means being as involved as possible in your campus community. Because of the irreplicable experience I’ve received as a member of these clubs and a member of the UMSU executive I’ll be leaving the University of Manitoba with far more than just a framed slip of paper. Don’t get me wrong, your academics are extremely important in university; but I’ve made friends for life and had the opportunity and privilege of creating positive and important change on campus and throughout the province because of student clubs. I know it sounds cheesy, but without the clubs, I joined at the U of M, I would be nowhere near the person I am today, and I cannot begin to put into words how grateful I am for that experience.
There isn’t a simple answer to this question, but I view that as a good thing. The truth is, it really depends on who you are as a person, what you’re passionate about, and what you’re interested in gaining from your time at the U of M outside of your studies. That’s the beauty of being able to choose from over 206 clubs and 28 associations. As someone who works with clubs every day, here are some of my personal recommendations:
Faculty/Program Specific Clubs: If you’re looking to meet ambitious students who are taking the same courses and involved in the same program(s) as you, these clubs are really worth looking into. There is a club or association to represent almost every single program and every faculty on campus, so you’re guaranteed to find your community. As I mentioned, my involvement with the Science Students’ Association really helped me to make connections with students in my faculty, and offered me so many rewarding opportunities to create a better community within the Faculty of Science for students just like myself.
Hobby Groups: Everyone has a hobby or a favorite pastime they like to partake in outside of school. Whether that’s a sport, music, acting, art, anime, video games, or even knitting, we have dozens of hobby groups to choose from, so you’re bound to find something you like. Even if you aren’t familiar with the list of hobbies these clubs represent, choose something new you’d like to try! University is the perfect environment to try new things and meet like-minded people.
Cultural and Religious Groups: Since most students identify with either a specific culture, religion, or ethnic background, these clubs are usually a really good fit. If you’re an international student looking to find fellow students from your home country who understand what it’s like to be new to Canada, I highly recommend checking out these clubs! This is one of the largest categories of student clubs, so you’re very likely to find a club with which you share beliefs or cultural backgrounds with.
Networking Groups: University is about making connections with others, especially if you’re involved in a program that values networking opportunities and sees them as a stepping stone for a future career. There are lots of groups on campus that cater specifically to helping students form connections with fellow students, companies, and even large corporations, and this can be something that turns out to be very helpful once you find yourself out in the real world and looking for work after you graduate!
All of these categories and more (there are 15 in total!) are neatly laid out through the UMSU website, so if you’d like to navigate the list to find something that interests you, be sure to check out UMSU’s student clubs directory online. All of these groups are free to join with the exception of a few that require a small fee in order to connect you with valuable resources associated with the purpose of the club.
How to join.
This part is easy! Once you have your eye on a club that you’d like to join, you can find their contact information and social media handles through their associated page on the www.umsu.ca website.
From there, check out their social media or send them a message or email to learn about how you can get involved. Clubs are always looking to recruit and onboard new and enthusiastic students!
And, on the off chance, you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can create your very own club, central to your own idea or hobby! All you need is to contact the UMSU Service Centre and find 10 students in total that are also interested in dedicating their time to creating the club as well!
I truly had no idea where student community and club involvement would take me at the U of M, and if you had told me I’d be sitting in a student union executive position today a few years ago, I would have never believed it. That’s the wonderful thing about these clubs, they open doors to opportunities you never would have considered before. Who knows, maybe you will even find yourself in a UMSU executive position one day too! The opportunities are endless, and I’m so excited for all of the first-year students who are joining us in the fall to navigate all of the incredible opportunities here at the U of M.
So go ahead, put yourself out there and get involved! You never know where these opportunities might take you.
Looking for more ways to get involved at the University of Manitoba? We’ve got you covered.