Joining a student association always makes sense. Coming to university is an opportunity to meet new people, but also to defend a job and acquire new skills.
Why not join a student union this new school year? “Joining a sorority is ideal for making a connection when you arrive at college. It allows you to meet other people and feel less lost on your own campus,” explains Christophe Guidier, student president of the Animafac association network.
is also an opportunity forparticipate in a project that matches their valueseven to change the things we don’t like on our campus,” says the student.
1. Why join a student union?
This is the first step before you accept Ask yourself why you want to join a student association. To meet people? To improve skills? To change things that don’t suit you? For example, Christophe was engaged in the Bordeaux association to reduce waste and create connections on its campus. “It allowed me to acquire skills in management, communication and teamwork that I would not have acquired during my studies,” he says.
Ryan Saibi, a law student, joined the Assas LGBT+ association early in his studies. “I wanted to join a community that was meaningful and whose values I shared. I have suffered from LGBT-phobia and witnessed this type of behavior against other people. Therefore, it was logical to defend the ideas of this association,” explains the young man. Now, as the president of the association, he has mastered the skills of relationship building, organization and debate.
Mathieu Adenot also joined a club in the first year of his chemistry degree. “It got me out of the promo bubble and introduced me to students from other fields“, he recalls. Clermont Ferrand (63) The third place opened by the LieU’topie association immediately convinced him, especially with the solidarity grocery store and the cultural program. Six months after joining the association, he joined the board of directors.
Four years later, Mathieu is co-chairman. “I have created a large network that is not bound by the law, but very interesting in terms of values“explains the student. He also acquired human relations skills by regularly recruiting employees to the association.
2. Find out about associations at your university
After you are clear about your wishes, move on to the information stage. You can get information on the preschool forums of the university to get acquainted with the associations.
Another possibility contact them on social networks, where you can find a lot of information. It’s also a good idea to approach the student life service, which lists all the associations on campus.
3. Discuss with the members of the association
Do not hesitate to contact association members to find the association that best suits you. And, Attend events to better understand what they actually do.
“The main thing is to feel good in the association, appreciate its atmosphere and share its project,” says Mathieu. Ryan also insists on shared values: “When you’re in your first year of undergrad, you look to others to make friends. Instead, I recommend listening to yourself. If you like company, go there even if you are alone. Where you bring something to the university, or even to the community, you should apply for something that makes sense to you”. Also, check that you will not be burdened. You can inform the union that you have time.
4. Choose the theme of the student union
“Different themes allow everyone to find their own way,” assures Christophe Gaydier of Animafac. There are many options for you in the field of eco-transition, for example, RESES (student network for an ecological and integrated society), which creates projects against cigarette butts in the streets, or the CLOPE association in Montpellier (34).
You will find it too bonding associations, such as the New Play club in Paris, foster social connections through play. Others act for mental health, such as Nightline, or against discrimination, such as MEUF (universal feminist student movement) in Bordeaux (33).
Some associations are also sector-specific. For example, in Strasbourg (67) MASSS (Associative Movement in the Social Sciences of Strasbourg) promotes the integration of new students at the beginning of the year, organizes sponsorships and helps to implement projects. And, of course, associations operate on culture, sports or even on an international scale.
5. Become a member of the association
After making your choice, all you have to do is register. Generally, no selection is made. It is enough to ask to join the union. You will often have to pay an annual subscription that varies by association, which may be a free price or a fixed price. You will be able to participate in its events, promotions, meetings and exchanges.
If you want to invest more, you will have the opportunity to join the office of the association. For this, you must be elected at the general meeting. “This is often organized at the beginning of the school year, precisely so that newcomers can take responsibility for themselves,” the president of Animafac notes. Several positions are possible: secretary, treasurer, president…
6. Find a balance between community involvement and college courses
In this case, you will devote more time to the association. Mathieu, for example, devotes twenty hours to LieU’topie. However, “don’t put pressure on yourself,” cautions Ryan. President of Assas LGBT+, he is also vice-president of CAELIF (Collective of LGBT student associations in Ile-de-France). “Sometimes it’s hard to cope with the exam. I neglected my studies for clubs in the first semester. Don’t be afraid to go back to work, I did the same in the second semester,” he said. he says.
You can also accept this associate commitment at your university. The student commitment “bonus” system makes this possible getting schedule adjustment, ECTS credits or additional points.