L&H have become UCD’s largest society, displacing LawSoc. The debating society signed up a record-breaking 5104 number of members during Freshers’ Week. A massive recruitment drive also led to UCD’s oldest student society breaking another record by accepting 2209 members on Monday, the largest number in a single day by a society in UCD.
An L&H committee member said that Freshers’ Week had gone “exceedingly well” and that they had been “breaking records all week”. He put the society’s successful week down to the events which they ran, such as the Where’s Wally competition.
Both debating societies in the college, L&H and LawSoc, hosted guests during Freshers’ Week. Comedian Paul Foot visited UCD on behalf of L&H while LawSoc brought in James and Oliver Phelps, best known as the Weasly twins from the international box office-smashing Harry Potter franchise. Both societies also held high profile debates. This is in comparison to last year when Fresher’s Week was marred with events which were controversially cancelled.
All of the large societies gave out free items to entice new members, including condoms, bread, food vouchers, keyrings and t-shirts. There was also a large selection of free food available, such as pizza, sweets, pastries and donuts. One society handed out bags containing condoms to men but bags containing sanitary pads to women.
Political Societies are feeling the effects of the unusual political climate. According to a spokesperson for UCD Young Fine Gael (YFG), “UCD YFG is bigger than Labour and the [Fianna Fáil] Kevin Barry Cumann. For the first time ever, UCD YFG is the biggest politics society in UCD.”
While YFG have seen a slight increase on last year’s membership, Labour Youth and Ógrá Fianna Fáil have seen a fall in their numbers of members. A representative of Labour Youth said “recruitment wouldn’t be as heavy as previous years” but added; “I would presume we’re going to try to be more visible this year as a result.”
Some societies this year have been charging more than the traditional €2 membership fee. Film Soc charged €3 to new members owing to extra expenses for equipment. However, despite contracting student budgets, the extra charge seems not to have had an adverse effect. One member of the society told the College Tribune that by Thursday, they had equalled the number of members they had last year.
A correction was made to this article on 8/10/11: the figure for L&H has been changed from 4800 to 5104 to accurately represent the figures taken by the university.