Thinking of founding a new society?

A brief guide to getting a society up and running

▲ Illustration by Jenny Corcoran

So you think you have an idea for a fresh society for Trinity, but have no idea how to carry it forward? It is widely assumed that the process is difficult, especially since there’s already 120 societies. Yet this is not the case; for example, The Workers Party society was just recognised in the last few months. Here are a few tips to kick your plans into action.

Form a unique idea

It is crucial to research what societies already exist in the college. Before pursuing your idea further, you should ensure that it is unique and does not have considerable similarities with any others. You should also consider how this will contribute to student life. It’s recommended that you have a group of people who want to help set up this society alongside you.

Seek advice

It is very helpful to contact the Secretary of the CSC (Central Societies Committee) at [email protected] in order to discuss your idea for the society and to ask any questions you may have about the process. After receiving advice, you should reshape your ideas before proceeding. You should also note that, if you wish to found a society of a sporting nature, you should instead contact DUCAC at [email protected].

Research roles

It is necessary to inform yourself of the role of each committee member and what they are expected to do. This can be learned from the page on “running a society” at You should also inform yourself on how societies operate financially and what is involved. It is essential to have a clear picture of the precise aim of your society at this point and how it will budget, along with what events it will run throughout the year.

Draw up a constitution

You must then write a formal constitution for your society, which will set out a framework for how the society will operate. It is very important to look at the sample constitution available on the Trinity societies website to get a feel for the formal layout. It may also be helpful to read the constitutions of other, existing societies.

You must state who can access membership and ensure it is democratic. You must also write about the committee including the number of members, their titles, and the election process. Their collective responsibilities, as well as their individual roles, must also be noted.

How your society will function financially is also super important and must be laid out within the constitution. It is important that this document is formal and it must be deemed of a satisfactory standard.

Collect signatures

You must collect at least two hundred signatures, with corresponding student numbers. These can be from either staff or students in the college. These are usually collected by canvassing in the Arts Block or the Hamilton, although you could also set up a stand. Also note that a list of just names is not sufficient.

Send it in

To submit your society application, you must email the list of signatures alongside your constitution to the Secretary of the CSC. This must be done before the end of week 12 in Michaelmas term! If you miss this deadline, you will have to wait until the following year.

The result

Your application is then revised by the Executive of the CSC. You may hear back about provisional recognition between week one and week four in Hilary term and be asked in for questioning. However, by week seven, you will hear the final result of your application and whether you have been granted permission to found your society.

If you are refused recognition, the Executive must explain the reasons why you were refused. If granted recognition, it will be in place for eighteen months before expiring. In this time, you can qualify for a grant from the CSC and will also have full access to their facilities. After you record your financial expenses and income for at least one academic year and have a secretary’s report with at least fifty official members, you may apply for full recognition at a CSC AGM.

To learn more about the process, you can always inquire directly with the Central Societies Committee. Overall, there’s nothing stopping you from giving it your best shot, and worst case scenario, you can try again the following year!

Maeve Breathnach

Maeve Breathnach is the current Assistant Societies Editor of Life. She is a Junior Fresh English Literature and Maths student.