Register a new society
Thinking of setting up your own society? Cambridge SU is here to help!
Before you start...
- If you want to start up a University Sports team, please see the University Sport website
- From hereon all student groups will be referred to as a society including university & collegiate sports teams.
- Check the Societies Directory to make sure that the society or club you want to set up doesn't already exist. Exact duplicate societies will not be approved in the interests of providing clarity to prospective members.
- Speak with people to see if they would be interested in joining your group or be on the committee with you and help run the society. Post on social media (ask your JCR/MCR and Cambridge SU to share it!), talk to people at the bar or find classmates. You'll be surprised how many people will share your interests! It's important that you share the workload, it is much easier and more enjoyable with a committee!
- Identify which society type you would like to be. View information on types of society here.
Cambridge SU clubs and societies definition
Please note only Clubs and Societies of Cambridge University may be listed in the Cambridge SU society directory. All societies should ensure that they comply with the following requirements to be added to the directory and to access Cambridge SU’s society support services and events such as Freshers’ Fair:
To be eligible to become a Cambridge SU registered club/society, a student club, publication or group; -
- must have a committee, on which at least half of the positions are held by current University of Cambridge students,
- must have at least five members of which the majority are current University of Cambridge students,
- must agree to abide by the Terms and Conditions of registration,
- must agree that the data they provide can be published to the Cambridge SU website, stored and processed by Cambridge SU,
- must be going concerns in that they are not simply one-off/annual events such as a May Ball, theatrical production, fundraising events or research study. Societies should be active year-round for their membership and run an engaging events programme.
- Must have a constitution or other guiding document that is readily available to the societies members and uploaded to the Cambridge SU directory profile,
- must not be for-profit; that is the primary purpose, as defined in the constitution or other guiding document of the club, publication or society cannot be to generate private income, and any surplus income generated must be employed in service of the club, publication or society’s primary purpose.
- must be distinct from any existing groups or societies. Registrations of duplicate societies will be rejected.
- must not act as a front for an external organisation (i.e. the purpose of their existence is not to publicise or work for a certain company, charity or other group). Any affiliations to national charities/brands/regiments/think-tanks/organisations/political parties must be declared even if a society acts as an autonomous chapter of the larger organisation.
Please note that Cambridge SU reserves the right to refuse any student group membership of the society directory. Cambridge SU is able to suspend or remove a student group's membership to the society directory if it is later determined that they are ineligible for membership or in breach of the terms and conditions of use. From time to time, eligibility criteria may be reviewed and updated and members will be notified of any changes via the email address they have provided.
- Request to add your new society to the Cambridge SU society directory by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make the most of the Cambridge SU website and support services! List events on our what's on page and submit anything of interest to the all student weekly bulletin to ensure your content gets out to lots of students. If you have any questions, you can contact our Student Activities Coordinator for further assistance.
- Set up a Facebook group. You can link social media profiles to your listing on the Cambridge SU societies directory to ensure members can easily find and follow you online.
- Register your society with the University if you wish to (Note: Registration is not compulsory and you can do this at any time - see below for more information. You may wish to wait until your group has grown a little larger).
- The University website has useful information on Clubs and Societies, including guidance on the formation and running of a society.
- Don't forget to check out our page for information on funding opportunities for your society.
- For more assistance with creating a University-Wide society, contact our Student Activities Coordinator who will be happy to guide you through this process.
- The President currently sits on both the Societies Syndicate and the Sports Syndicate if you have further questions relating to this.
How to register your society with the university
Once you have registered your society with Cambridge SU, you may wish to also register your society with the central University. In order to do so, your society will need to be open to all interested members of the University and you will need to have the following prepared:
- A Constitution - This sets out why the society exists, what it does, and how it operates. Here is a sample constitution to help you get started.
- At least 3 committee members in the positions of Chair/President, Secretary and Junior Treasurer. Fill in this information on this officers list form.
- A Senior Treasurer – this person should appear on the Roll of the Regent House. Start by approaching someone known to you, e.g. a college personal tutor or supervisor.
- If your society has been running for some time, you will need a statement of its current financial position, signed by the Senior Treasurer. There is an example accounts form available under 'Useful Documentation' on the University Clubs and Societies webpage.
- Once you have all these, send them to the Junior Proctor at email@example.com.
If you are not sure whether your society is registered or not, either contact the Junior Proctor or check this list. Benefits of University registration include the ability to bear and use the University name within your society name, eligibility to apply to the Sports or Societies Syndicates for further funding and additional support managing financial processes such as setting up a bank account, VAT registration and so on.
Think you'll need a bank account?
To set up a bank account, you will need to go to a bank and ask to set up a clubs and charities account. You will require a Senior and Junior treasurer, and a minimum of three signatories. You can arrange for only one signatory on cheques.
Any society that has a turnover of over £81,000 legally has to register for VAT with HM Revenue and Customs. If your society turnover is less than this amount you can choose whether or not to register. If your society pays VAT on a lot of purchases and only a little on what you supply (e.g. concert tickets), then it might be worth considering registration.
For more information on VAT for charities go to the HMRC website or call their helpline on 0300 123 1073.
Types of Society
There are 3 types of society at Cambridge:
University Wide (Cambridge SU & University Registered): A University-Wide registered society is eligible to apply to the Sports or Societies Syndicates for further funding, as well as access to society services and facilities from Cambridge SU. To become a registered University society you must register with the Junior Proctor, see above for information on how to register your society.
University Wide (Cambridge SU registered only): Societies not registered with the University are unable to gain financial support from the Societies Syndicate. These societies however apply for approval through the SU to become a part of the Cambridge SU society directory and have access to SU society services.
College-based Society: A College-Based society will draw most of its members from a single college and apply to the JCR and/or MCR for funding. College-based societies, therefore, have to compete for these funds, which are given at the discretion of the students on the JCR/MCR board. The method of applying differs in each college as does the date of application, for more detailed information contact your JCR/MCR treasurer. College-based societies may apply for approval through the SU to become a part of the Cambridge SU society directory and have access to SU society services.