Society & club committee members: Activity planning information 2020/21

If you are a society, club, group or network committee member looking to host an event or activity as part of this year's Freshers 2020 line-up or during the first semester, please read these FAQs to find out more about what type of events you should run and how the Union can support you with this.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with a member of the Union team (scroll down for contact information).
 

When is Freshers Week? 

Freshers 2020 kicks off on Monday 21st September, with a line-up of activities running through until Saturday 26th September. 


What format will Freshers 2020 take? 

We’ve been keeping a close eye on all of the guidance being provided to universities and unions so that we know exactly what kind of activities we are allowed to arrange as part of this year’s Freshers line-up. 

Due to the fast-moving Covid-19 situation, specifically in Aberdeen and the local area, we are planning for all of this year’s Freshers events and activities to take place online. These activities will all be listed through the Union website and hosted virtually across a number of social media and interactive platforms. 

The Union team have been working closely with departments from across the University to arrange an exciting range of virtual events which we will begin to release over the coming weeks. 


What kind of events can societies organise? 

Your safety and the safety of your members is our top priority. We are monitoring all current Government and University guidance, and until further notice societies should not make plans to host any physical events, on or off campus. All society activities should take place online only. The Union team will be in touch with society committee members regularly during the semester to keep you informed of any changes to this guidance and of any developments regarding the situation. 


Can we hold events off campus? 

Until further notice societies should not make plans to host any physical events, on or off campus. All society activities should take place online only. The Union team will be in touch with society committee members regularly during the semester to keep you informed of any changes to this guidance and of any developments regarding the situation.

Does the Union have any guidance regarding the type of events that can take place online? 

We suggest you think about the type of event you would usually host during Freshers, can you transfer that to an online activity? If so, how? Will it be a live stream on social media? Could it be hosted as an interactive event on Microsoft Teams? A Q&A on Instagram Live? There are many creative ways of hosting a virtual event, some popular ideas include: 

·      Drop-in chats or Q&As
·      Interactive cook/make-along sessions
·      Quizzes and virtual ice breakers 
·      Challenges and competitions
·      Open mic or live music streams


What is the Union doing during Freshers 2020? 

During Freshers 2020, the Union will host a number of online events, including social and entertainment activities, live streams, information sessions, ice breakers, quizzes, as well as interactive activities spread across the week. This information will be released very soon on the Union website at www.rguunion.co.uk 


When do students move into halls? 

Students will move into accommodation sites managed by RGU from the weekend of the 26-27th of September onwards. Any questions relating to student accommodation should be directed to accommodation@rgu.ac.uk


What University commitments will students have during Freshers’ Week?

Academic commitments during this week will be limited to induction and orientation activities. No formal teaching should take place this week, however we suggest you do not plan any society activities during the below times to avoid clashing with induction/orientation events: 

Monday 21st: 10am - 12pm 
Wednesday 23rd: 1pm – 1:30pm 
Thursday 24th: 1pm – 4pm 
Friday 25th: 11:30am – 12pm 


What’s the deadline for publishing events?  

To have your activity included in the initial Freshers 2020 events release please submit to us by 5pm on 4th September at www.rguunion.co.uk/whatson/submit. Any events submitted after this date will still be included in our Freshers listings and any subsequent promotion for Freshers 2020 as soon as the activity has been confirmed and approved. 



FRESHERS FAYRE


When is Freshers Fayre?

This year’s Freshers Fayre will take place online from 1-4pm on Thursday 24th September. 


How will the Freshers Fayre take place this year?  

Due to guidance regarding large gatherings and social distancing, it will not be possible for us to hold a physical Freshers Fayre this year. Instead, the event will be held virtually. We aim to allocate each society with a ‘virtual stall’, which will allow students to drop in, find out more information about your society, and to ask you questions via an interactive Q&A system. We will release more details regarding this to society committees very soon and will also host an online information session to clarify what is expected of you and how you can prepare for this. 


What do we need prepare?  

We will be contacting society committees very soon with guidance and to clarify what information we would expect each group to have available, but in the meantime start to think about how you would sell your society to a new student, just like you would at a traditional Freshers Fayre event… 

·       What is your society? 
·       How many members do you have? 
·       When do you meet?  
·       What happens when you meet? 
·       What do you plan to do this year?  
·       How can you help students meet new people?  
·       What is fun about your group? 
·       Why should a new student join? 
·       Do students need experience? 
·       Do students get any training? 
·       What has been your favourite part of participating in the society? 
·       How much does it cost? 
·       What do members get for their membership fee? 
·       What questions could you ask a prospective member that will encourage them to join your conversation? 


How do students sign up to our society?

All memberships will be processed through the Union website. Students will have two options; 

1)    to ‘note interest’ in a group, which is the digital equivalent of signing the sheet at your Freshers Fayre stall without paying for a membership; or 
2)    to purchase a full membership from the society page on the website. 

We will explain this process to you further during an information session over the coming weeks. 


How do students sign up to our sports clubs? 

Students will have two options;

1)    to ‘note interest’ in a sports club, the digital equivalent of signing the sheet at a Freshers Fayre stall, students will be directed to the Union website. This will provide students with access to communication from the club President but with no obligation to join the club.

2)    to join a sports club and participate in club activities, new students will be directed to the RGU SPORT website where they can sign up and pay for memebrships. 



ON CAMPUS ACTIVITIES - SEMESTER ONE


Can we book a space on campus?  

Until further notice societies should not make plans to host any physical events, on or off campus. All society activities should take place online. However, we will regularly review this process with the University as we receive further information regarding the phased opening of campus spaces. We will keep society committee members regularly informed of any developments. Please contact a member of our team if you have any questions or special requests regarding this. 


Are committee members expected to be on Campus?

During the first semester any Union-led society training, induction or committee support activities will take place online. We will not require you to be physically present on campus.


Can sports clubs book a space on campus? 

Until further notice, clubs should not make plans to host any physical events on, or off campus. Sports club training will be co-ordinated by President (Sport & Physical Activity) and RGU SPORT. Internal and external facilities will be running as close to normal as possible, speak to the appropriate club President or email j.moore5@rgu.ac.uk for more information. 



ONLINE ACTIVITIES - SEMESTER ONE


How do we use Microsoft Teams? 

The Union will provide each society and sports club with its own dedicated area on the Microsoft Teams platform. Our staff will set this up for you and will host a training session for committee members before Freshers to show you how to make the most out of Teams and its various features. You can access Teams by going to www.rguunion.co.uk/teams and logging in with your RGU username and password. 


Do we need to do a risk assessment for online activities?  

The Union will provide you with a template risk assessment for standard online risks. You should evaluate if there is a risk for your event that has not been covered by that and provide documentation as appropriate. 



UNION - SEMESTER ONE


Will Societies Forum still take place?  

Yes, Societies Forum will take place as scheduled throughout the year. As with all Union democratic events, these will be hosted online via Microsoft Teams until further notice. Joining instructions will be provided to relevant committee members prior to the Forum. 


What other Union events will take place?  

Union democratic events, forums and committee meetings will take place online hosted via Microsoft Teams until further notice.  

However we also understand how important social events, networking opportunities and community-building activities are to your student experience, so our team will work hard to provide opportunities to take part in a variety of events and activities throughout the first semester. In the first instance these will also be hosted online, however as guidance and restrictions are relaxed we will aim to re-introduce physical events to our calendar, but only when safe to do so. 

The best way to find out about our latest events is through the Union website at www.rguunion.co.uk and across our social media profiles @rguunion. If you have an idea for an event and would like the Union’s support, get in touch and we will try our best to help. 


Who/how should we contact for more information?  

The Union points of contact for Societies are:   

·       Ross Leven 
·       President (Communication and Democracy) 
·       prescd@rguunion.co.uk 

·       Lemuelle Assuncau 
·       Vice President (Societies) 
·       vpsocieties@rguunion.co.uk  

·       Euan Walker 
·       Student Development & Volunteering Co-ordinator 
·       e.walker6@rgu.ac.uk  

·       Gregor Mailer 
·       Union General Manager 
·       ext.mailer@rgu.ac.uk 


The Union points of contact for Sports Clubs are: 

·       Jordan Moore 
·       President (Sport and Physical Activity) 
·       presspa@rguunion.co.uk

·       Cian Gullen  
·       Vice President (Sport) 
·       vpsport@rguunion.co.uk 


Will the Union office be open?  

Union staff and Student Presidents are currently working remotely during office hours. The easiest way to contact a member of the Union team is via email. As we move towards the first semester there will be a phased return to the office for our staff in line with University and Government safety guidance. Any updates regarding this process and staff availability will be made available on the Union website. 


What expectations does the Union have of Societies?  

The Union expects our societies to continue with their excellent work and efforts by providing a welcoming experience for new and existing student members, as they always have done. We expect each society to participate in our virtual Freshers Fayre, to run (at least) one online welcome activity during Freshers Week, and to continue offering opportunities for student to engage with them and other students who share interests. 


What support will we get for fundraising? 

We will look to support you with fundraising wherever possible, and our team are working hard to identify a preferred digital fundraising solution which can assist with this process. We will inform society committee members of any progress. 


How do we access our finances remotely?  

The Union has invested in a new online finance module that will allow Societies to process expenses through our website. Details of this will be available once the module launches towards the beginning of semester one. Direct bank transfers are now the preferred way for the Union to pay back your expenses claims. 

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