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It’s really important to join a society while you’re at university. But it can be difficult to find the right one for you, especially if you don’t know exactly what you want to become involved in. So I interviewed Izzy, the Archivist from the SSAGO (the Student Guide and Scout Organisation) to find out what they get up to!
First of all, what three words best describe SSAGO?
Welcoming, adventurous, limitless!
Why did you join?
I loved being a member of Guides when I was younger, but wasn’t sure that it was something I wanted continue at uni. However, someone handed me a leaflet for SSAGO at the Bunfight last year with a list of all the socials and activities they had planned, from hikes to film nights, bonfires to pub crawls, and I decided to give it a try. I went along to their Freshers’ campfire, and I’ve never left – in fact, within a year I’ve ended up on the committee!
Do you have camps, and if so, how often?
Camps are a big part of what SSAGO does. The beauty of SSAGO is that it’s not just for any one university. Universities across the country have their own branches, and three times a year we go on rallies, which are big camps hosted by varying SSAGOs where we all get to meet up and spend a weekend together. There are lots of different things to choose to do, and of course lots of campfires! As Southampton SSAGO, we also hold three of our own smaller camps – Freshers’ Camp in the autumn, Winter Camp and the week-long Summer Camp after exams. On top of all of this, we also go on international trips, and this summer over 60 members of SSAGO from across the country went to Berlin together for a week. And Southampton are planning their own overseas trip for next summer!
What sort of socials do you go on?
Every Monday we have a casual get together at The Stile pub, just for a quiet catch up, and then on a separate night we’ll have our social. Sometimes they’re small things, like arts and crafts, sometimes outdoor things like hikes, horse riding and archery, and now and then we have bigger parties and meals out. And then of course, we have lots of camps!
What could someone expect to do if they got involved?
The brilliant thing about SSAGO is that there is such a varied program of things to do – you’ll never be doing the same thing two weeks in a row. Where most societies will be focused on one particular interest or activity, SSAGO is all about getting together with a group of lovely people to just have a great time and try lots of different things. SSAGO also offers so many different opportunities; not only could you be elected to our Southampton committee, or help out with local Scouting and Guiding groups, but because there is a SSAGO network stretching across the country, there is an almost endless list of things to get involved with – national events, rallies, trips, and even a national committee if you wanted to get involved in that!
What’s your favourite thing about SSAGO?
For me Southampton SSAGO is more than just a society – it’s now a group of people who I consider really good friends. I was made welcome from the very first time I met everyone, and that’s a key part of our ethos – everyone is welcome, whether you live and breathe Scouting and Guiding or you’ve never had any contact with it, whether you want to climb Everest or prefer a night in. In the space of a year I’ve gone from not knowing anyone and being the most inept of campers, to being a member of committee and going on the international trip, which was one of the best things I’ve done at uni. If you want to join a society
where you’re welcome no matter what your interests and abilities, where you can make a brilliant group of friends which stretches not only across Southampton but across the country, SSAGO might just be the one for you!
Where should people look out for you?
We’re at The Stile pub on the north edge of campus every Monday evening from about 8pm onwards. You can find out about our upcoming socials on our section of the national SSAGO website or join our Facebook page as well. The good thing about SSAGO is that you can do as much or as little as you like – just come to the pub if that’s all you fancy, or every single camp and social if that’s more your cup of tea. There’s no problem if you don’t make it to one of our socials for weeks either – you’ll be welcome whenever and wherever.
There you have it! If you think SSAGO might be for you, get in touch with them!