Activities Officer

Sophie McDermott

Activities Officer


Hi, I’m Sophie McDermott and I am your Activities Officer for 2018-2019.

I look after all things societies at the Students’ Union. If you’re looking for ways to meet new people, enhance your CV or just have fun, societies and volunteering are great ways to start. We have a range of opportunities on offer, such music, theatre and dance societies, political, religious and cultural societies and many charity and fundraising societies. I think it’s almost impossible to not find a society that suits you at Newcastle, but if you can’t, set up your own- it’s that easy!

We also have a variety of volunteering opportunities available through Go Volunteer. These range from bee keeping to running after school clubs, from helping the homeless to working with refugees in Newcastle. We have connections with many charities so you volunteer that way or join one of our many projects. Again, if there’s something you feel is missing- apply for a grant to start up a new project!

Or, if commitment isn’t really your thing, attend a one-off club or society session through Give It A Go! There are hundreds of events on throughout the year with massively subsidised prices. We don’t just offer society taster sessions but opportunities for making bath bombs at Lush, cocktail making at Revolution or learning a new language! Make sure you check out the big trips at Christmas and after summer exams!

Everything I do in activities links to employability. Through your extracurricular activities you could be eligible for the ncl+ Award, ncl+ Advances Award, and Career Development Module, all of which are either accredited or contribute towards your degree. Not only does it develop you as a more rounded person, but employers love to see you having interests outside of your degree.

Being involved in societies was the highlight of my time at Newcastle. I was mostly involved in charity societies, being Secretary of Coast 2 Coast and Treasurer of Women for Women International. I really felt like I made a difference in peoples lives though the activities we did her on campus, both for those who we were raising money for and the students. I was involved in organising a 48 hours spinathon, cheese and wine night, pub quiz, 200km bike ride and much more, and that’s just the year I was on committee. As a member I got the opportunity to do loads.

Without societies, I would not be where I am now and I wouldn’t have had half as much fun along the way. I also met my friends for life. I would recommend joining a society or volunteer project to anyone. Of course your degree is important but we all need something to do other than studying.  Joining a society is the best way to make the most of your time at University so get involved!

If you ever have questions about societies don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’m always happy to help!

End of Year Report 2018/2019



What have you done this term?

This term has encompassed a lot of wrapping up of projects, and a continuation of my day-to-day work. After the NU Festival of Culture finished and elections week was out the way (congrats to Eleanor!), I spend two or so weeks sorting out graduation ball, attending university meetings, and also started planning a new event, the Summer Jam. I am working hard on celebrating success awards as well as making sure Pride of Newcastle goes well. While it has been a busy time, I have thoroughly enjoyed this term. 

What has been your biggest achievement?
Bringing in online claims forms for all societies this term has been great, as that was one of my main manifesto points. In addition, just helping out with the awards – celebrating success and pride and recognising students for their hard work was something I was really keen on this year. I have started work on putting into place some extra training for next year and make sure it runs smoothly and easily. And lastly, working with the officers has been a delight and we have been working well with each other to represent the students to the University but also to create events which we know students will enjoy at the end of the year as a thank you. 

What could you have improved on?

I wish I had had more time to work on the Inclusive Society Award, as I feel this was not given the time or attention that it could have been, similarly my work on increasing access for students with disabilities. However, that isn’t to say I haven’t been working on these things and I have put in place hopefully something that will enable more support next year and beyond to enable this vital work to continue and grow. 

What piece of advice would you pass on to your successor?

Make a checklist at the start of the year of what you want to prioritise and do – and then just do it. Don’t let the processes slow you down or get in your way and don’t be afraid to try something radical and daring – after all that’s why you were elected. Make the most of the good stuff that comes up (there is a lot of it) and really engage with the committees you sit on at the University, you have so much opportunity to b a voice for the students so use it. Things get busy, so don’t be afraid to ask for help on the more administrative tasks as you should spend your time focusing on the big things and hopefully the new structure I am leaving you with will make this much easier. You only have a year, so make the most of it, and don’t wish it away. 

Any additional sections that the report writer deems necessary

I have really enjoyed this year and couldn’t have done it without help from so many different people. The Activities Office has always been a delight, they’re great to work with and it is always good vibes. All staff at the Union have been so helpful and friendly. 
Working with students, of course, is an absolute pleasure and even though it’s been hard work I have enjoyed every moment with them. 
And lastly, the other Officers. I couldn’t even begin to describe how wonderful a team it has been this year and all I can say is a massive thank you to the other 5 officers.  


No comments have been made. Please log in to comment.