Re: Student Societies

Ooh ooh! Someone reads my blog - actually a daunting prospect since I post so much useless stuff. Nonetheless, a response on Twitter yesterday from Dom, long time member of and ex-president of Anime@UTS, in regards to piggate and student societies:

Just read your blog post about student societies... Re: "because we don’t have any initiation rituals", are you so sure? :p I tried to repeat the same things every year, from the first bad joke to the order of events and songs at karaoke. So that people would see the same things and hopefully create a shared experience so they feel part of the group.

Dom’s got a point. I guess that is kind of an initiation ritual and until he mentioned it, although I’d noticed the pattern, I didn’t think it was quite that deliberate. It felt like tradition to me, but that’s because it was the only way I had ever known at that point. (I suppose initiation rituals in themselves are traditions too…)

Nonetheless, the point I’m making is that we didn’t try to build up a sense of ‘loyalty’ to our society on a basis of forcing members to do things that were heinous (and sometimes illegal) so that everyone could have a shared sense of shame, rather than shared positive experiences. Man, do you remember when Dom told the polar bear joke… so bad, yet so good. People stayed with the club because they wanted to - thought the people or events were interesting/to their taste. Not to mention people that joined after the Orientation events didn’t have to go through this initiation (until the next time Orientation rolled around).

I have great respect for what Dom tried (and as far as I’m concerned, achieved) with Anime@UTS. The first bad joke was something anticipated each year for me ever since the first time I heard it, and I have to say I am a little very sorry that it was dropped. I would personally definitely have kept it up… but I also would have maintained the same outfit on the mascot and that’s definitely been changed since I was Art Director.

To be honest throughout this half a decade I’ve had the chance to work with only a handful of really amazing people and Dom I think is one of them. Another is an ex-colleague Dat, who was a veritable fount of knowledge - though has an evil personality, exuding calm when deviously plotting inside. Interestingly, I had the chance to stand beside both of them, so different yet similar in other ways. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to work with people like them again the future.