Bouncing back: Meet some of Cambridge’s most unique societies

Who knew cambridge students liked nuggets so much?


If you’ve been following the Tab these past few weeks, you might have noticed that we’ve been curating how the university’s sports, art, and cultural spheres have been rejuvenating themselves post Covid. 

But upon perusing the societies directory we noticed several societies that were…unusually named and/or classified. Some of them bamboozled us, others made us smile, a few made us ponder (especially number 10). All in all– we’d love to share a sampling of these enigmas with you. 

1) Cambridge Nuggsoc

Yes you read that one right, Cambridge University is home to a society whose foundation is solely appreciation of nuggets (where can I sign up?). We spoke to Alina, the Vice-President of the society, who, after a couple of drinks in the college bar decided that she really wanted some nuggets and then “confirmed her love” by making a society in its appreciation.

What’s more this year they’re planning a club night with Woo Cambridge in November where they “will have lots of nuggets (vegan and vegetarian options included!).”

To join, give them a follow on instagram and sign up to their mailing list via the SU directory!

 

2) Cambridge Tiddly Winks Society

The Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club (CUTwC) committee told us that the society started in 1955 when “two pioneering undergraduates sought a sport with which to ‘put the willies up Oxford.” They have certainly succeeded at it with a 82 1/2 – 29 1/2 victory in the 2020 Varsity Tiddlywinks Match.

In their first varsity match the newest members earned a quarter-blue scarf! (Image Credits: Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Society)

Tiddlywinks involves flicking counters ‘winks’ into a pot, and in the modern sport ‘squopping,’ which the complex task of covering your opponents ‘wink’ (just the terminology has me confused with this society!). With introductory freshers sessions and tournaments this term, alongside the prospect of playing in the 2021 Varsity Match, this society offers so many ‘squopping’ opportunities (have I used that right?).

Prospective members can find them at the Freshers’ Fair, or contact them via [email protected], Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club Supporter’s page on Facebook or via https://cutwc.org.

3) Cambridge TeaSoc

If Tik Tok wars are anything to go by, British people really like tea. Unsurprisingly, there’s a Cambridge society dedicated to its appreciation!

Treasurer Katherine told the Tab that Cambridge TeaSoc “is a small and friendly society, running regular ‘Tea Parties’” which involve “a multitude of different teas and infusions” as well as being an “informal and chatty” meet up.

A place where we can spill the literal and metaphorical tea in one place (Image credits: Cambridge TeaSoc)

This year the weekly tea meet ups will continue (“hopefully even in person!”) with themed sample teas each week (“previous themes have included autumnal teas, Christmas teas and even spicy teas”). However, there’s no expec-tea-tion to attend every week.

To find out more go to their facebook page or and sign up to their mailing list by dropping a facebook message or emailing [email protected]

4) Cambridge University Formula One Racing Fans Society

The Cam Formula One Fans Soc was recently founded by a group pf 2020 freshers with a shared interest in Formula 1 and other motorsports. The society’s president Sophie told the Tab, that despite the restrictions this year,  they’ve “fostered a fun and friendly community and built a strong foundation.”

In the coming year there are plans for “in-person watch parties for Formula 1 race weekends,” “career panels” for all areas of motorsport careers as well as other exciting social events.

The society was founded in a year of governmental restrictions (Image credits:Cam Formula One Fans Soc)

New members can join for free at their website formulafans.soc.srcf.net and can message their Instagram @camformulafanssoc for the links to their WhatsApp group and Discord server. There are also a variety of committee positions available (email [email protected]) and watch out for the term card! 

5) Cambridge University Guild of Change Ringers (Cambridge Bell Ringing Soc)

Current master of the society Greg shared with us that  it was founded in 1879 and focuses “on the art of ringing bells, ranging from church bells weighing over a ton to musical handbells.”

Under corona-virus restrictions practices were replaced by “occasional wet handbell session and occasionally malfunctioning online ringing” (Image credits: CUGCR )

The society is looking to bounce back with “several practices a week,” (you can hear them Friday evenings from outside St Bene’t’s! ). Greg added that the society is open to all levels and to said look out for “the table outside with all the bells!” at the Freshers’ Fair! Find them on their Website, or on Twitter

6) Cambridge Tolkien Society

Do you love the imagination of J.R.R. Tolkein? Then this society might be for you. Founded in 1983 the Cambridge Tolkien (CTS) is open to anyone with a passion for his writing (no obscure knowledge required!).

Leah, who’s on the CTS committee, told us that the society meets every week for discussion and game nights. Once a term there is the Eagle debate “which is a light-hearted Tolkien themed debate night (previous topics include Best Undead and Best Dressed in Tolkien.”

The big yearly events include “a Foreyule Feast in Michaelmas, and an annual Varsity quiz against Oxford, which will be hosted in Oxford this year.”

This year there will be a mix of online and in-person events to make them as accessible as possible. For more information, see them at the Freshers’ Fair, check out their termcard and join their facebook group

7) CU Taylor Swift Society

Having given an exclusive and widely shared interview to us at the Tab, Basma Khan (vice president) and Jonathan Teng (president) of the CU Taylor Swift Appreciation Society have catapulted it into a nationwide trend.

The society was founded in August 2021 and based on Camfess inspiration, this society has proven the power of Taylor Swift fans (Image credits:CU Taylor Swift Society)

They are in talks for collaboration with the other Swiftie societies in the UK, are holding termly club nights (they’ve sold out MASH for October 4th), posting bi-weekly playlists, planning smaller group socials (including karaoke), and maintaining an active presence on their multiple social media pages.

They have over 400 official members already (making them one of the biggest societies) and new members can join via the Cambridge SU website.

8) CU Witch Society

An inclusive haven for those who want to embrace alternative spirituality, the CU Witch Society was founded in April 2021. President Zainab Athumani told us that they’re excited to commence in person events this term with “socials, workshops, and celebrations/rituals.”

Further illustrating why you should hop on your broomstick and speed off to sign up, Zainab shares that “our events are catered to a busy Cambridge schedule so you can be as committed as you’d like, with weekly book clubs, bi-termly new moon circles, and one-off events such as our workshops.”

This link tree showcases all their socials and their mailing list, but the best way to stay updated is via Instagram. You should also check out their previous interview with the Tab!

9) CU Steel Pan Society

Although the name might initially imply your hungry flatmate clanging pans together after a night out, this society is dedicated to the promotion and exploration of a rich Caribbean musical tradition.

Founded over a decade ago by Afro-Caribbean Lucy Cavendish students attempting to bring “Caribbean music & culture to one of the most ‘english’ environments.” With connections to other pan societies, they try to teach members about the history of the pans.

The society is excited to return with busking for charity at city centre as well as performances at May Balls and garden parties )(Image credits: CU Steel Pan Society)

Their plans for the coming year are to hold their weekly Monday rehearsals outdoors (for now) and practice their “wide range of music from Stevie Wonder & Kes to Disney & Clean Bandit.” Members of all abilities are welcome! – there is a beginners and an experienced group (the society are also currently on the lookout for a drummer for their rhythm section!).

10) Society of Confusing Anticipation

Their Facebook description reads “We will do something, somewhere, sometime. You will not be expecting it.” Their term card indicates that they have planned a diverse selection of activities that are fun, but not established enough to have dedicated societies.
Last year, they started to do a lot of activities via mailing lists– which led to some interesting creations such as a ‘word building Jabberwocky’ mailing list (for people to create words à la Lewis Carroll).

Photo credits: Society of Confusing Anticipation on Facebook

However, they’re now stoked to explore in-person activity options (in characteristic one-off format). To encourage others to join, Chief Spiderdragon Evie Barrows shares that “Cambridge is an intense place. This can be a good thing; but sometimes it’s nice to go somewhere safe and comforting away from all the stress. SOCA feels like that to me.”

Keep an eye on their Facebook and website for a myriad of low-pressure opportunities!

Don’t be put off by unusual names or seemingly niche focuses! The essence of a good society is lovely people and thriving socials and unusual ones can be especially strong on these. You might even get a welcome chance to broaden your horizons, spread your wings, and test your limits (of nugget eating).

Featured Image Credits: Zainab Athumani, CU Steel Pan Society, Society of Confusing Anticipation on Facebook, CU Tea Society

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