Have you ever thought about starting your own club? Perhaps a yoga club or a movie club or even a chocolate club! If so, then Shannyn Cain is the person you need to talk to. As the Clubs and Activities Officer at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus, it’s her job to oversee the clubs that are run each year and help them to achieve their goals.
Shannyn originally studied Engineering at Swinburne, yet it was her experience with clubs that changed her mind. “I got involved in clubs and societies and realised that I enjoyed organising their camps, party cruises, things like that,” She said. “So I decided that I didn’t want to be an engineer any more and I wanted to do event management.” After a course at TAFE in Event Management, she got the job when a friend alerted her to the position of Clubs and Activities Officer.
There were 50 clubs that attended Clubs Day at Hawthorn campus in March, and around 100 clubs affiliate by the end of the year. They cover a range of social, cultural, faculty and sporting purposes, yet there is always scope for new clubs to be founded.
So, how easy is it to found a club at Swinburne? Shannyn explains: “To start out a club you need to have ten current Swinburne students that are interested in the same purpose as you and want to get that club off the ground. Even before that you can put in an expression of interest with me and say ‘Hey, I’m interested in starting up a photography club’, for example, and if I know of any other students that have been interested I can match them up together.” A club must then hold a registration meeting, an initial Annual General Meeting to elect the committee and fill in a registration pack, which covers the basics like the mission of the club, the membership register and a basic calendar of events for the year.
Clubs at Swinburne obtain funding for their events through avenues such as membership, fundraising, sponsorship, ticketed events and through grants from the SSAA. “We try and get them to think about doing self-sustaining events price-wise, but we’ve also got the opportunity for them to request extra money.” Though the university recently introduced a Student Amenities Fee, it’s too early to say whether clubs will receive any of this funding. “We’re all crossing our fingers and hoping!”
Shannyn estimates that less than half of the student populace is actually involved in clubs. “There’s a lot that just come to class and go home and don’t really get involved.” However, she is sure of the importance of clubs in student life. “It’s a great place to meet people that you wouldn’t ordinarily meet through your class, and the way lectures are, you’d never sit next to the same person twice. It’s a good way to foster friendships that last you for the rest of your life.”