University of St Andrews

The Secret Life of The Lumsden Club

What do society members do when not playing Cupid?

The Lumsden Club ladies spread the love on Friday the 14th with their second annual Valentine’s Day Rose Sale, delivering over 450 flowers to bleary-eyed beaus across campus. The initiative, which raised over 550 pounds for charity, is one of the society’s most popular fundraising events of the term.

But what do society members do when not playing Cupid?

Rumours surrounding The Lumsden Club were enough to draw a Daily Mail reporter to campus this fall searching for a scandal; however, far from unearthing hazing horror stories, he found the society, which is also a registered charity, unworthy of a scoop. Whispered to have been founded by Kate Middleton, Lumsden was actually started by her flatmate in 2001, and far from revolving around sorority-esque soirees, the society focuses its attention on charity work in and around the St Andrews community.

Part of the intrigue surrounding The Lumsden Club may be attributed to its touch-and-go visibility. Whereas events like last week’s Valentines initiative and the annual recruitment drinks reception attract notice from the student population, the members’ main work is behind the scenes at the hospitals, churches and nursing homes in town. Lumsdenites dedicate between one to four hours to volunteering each week, with first and second years serving in charity shops and third and fourth years oftentimes opting for more customized experiences.

In the past two years, over ninety girls have expressed interest in the ten spots that The Lumsden Club opens up to first years. The sense of community within both the society and town is a big draw for many, according to President, Sarah Clark.

“I think the vibe of the club and something I’ve really tried to work on this year is making sure that the girls feel that it’s such a genuine and personal part of their experience here,” she said. “This is where you make great friendships, and this is where you see those girls that you wouldn’t see outside Lumsden.”

An initial ten-minute interview is used to make a first cut; from there, approximately twenty girls are asked to do their homework and conceptualize a fundraising event for a select charity, which they present to all current members of the society in the fall.

According to Clark, restricting the society’s size is essential for efficient operation, and ensures members are committed to the cause.

“With the small group, I think you get the girls who are really going to do the work for the club,” Clark said. “I think it’s really important to have the girls who are going to put the effort in and respect everyone’s time and commitment.”

Only first-years can join Lumsden, though current members can sponsor upperclassmen that they feel exemplify the society’s commitment to service work.

The Society focuses fundraising efforts on supporting women’s and children’s charities, as well as arts initiatives, on a local and global scale. This year’s charities of choice are Parkinson’s UK Fife Branch and Malawi Underprivileged Mothers (MUMS).

The next big fundraiser will be the Society’s spring PIMMS party, which they plan to shake up this year with a surprise twist.

 

Images courtesy of The Lumsden Club