Student Activities FAQ



Societies must fill in certain documents every year and emailed to Please see the list below and read each description to see which ones you are required to fill in. 

  • Society Code of Conduct must be signed by the President, Secretary, Treasurer and Welfare Officer.
  • Budget Plan – not compulsory, but recommended to be made by the President and Treasurer for good planning.
  • Declaration of Financial Responsibilitymust be signed by the President and Treasurer.
  • Alcohol Policymust be signed by the President.
  • Inventory  - if your society owns any property, this must be signed by either the President, Treasurer or Secretary
  • Handover Checklist (at the end of the year) – must be signed by the newly elected Presidents and Secretaries.

You may also be asked to complete other forms when you are holding events or specific activities.  

  • Venues Booking Form - if you are planning to hold an event in Base, Top Bar, SU Bar or even Sub Zero, you will need to complete this form first. Type 'Venues' into the FAQ search bar for more information!
  • External Speaker Form - Please use this form if you plan to have a speaker from outside of the university coming in to speak at an event.
  • Food Hygiene Certificate - you will need to attain a food hygiene certificate for an event where you are selling homemade food, you can do this through this online course - - if you are selling pre-packaged, shop bought food, then you do not need to obtain a food hygiene certificate.
  • Event Permission Form (EMS) - if you are doing something on Square 3 that involves music or something out-of the-ordinary, or if you want to use one of the other squares on campus, then you will need to fill in this Estates form and bring it to the SU Societies Office for signing. (Either one or three weeks' notice will be required, depending on your event.)
  • Risk Assessment - all your regular and one-off activities and events should be the subject of a risk assessment.
  • Table Booking Form - use this form to book tables and gazebos for use on Square 3. Please be aware that if you need an electrical point alongside your stall, extra measures need to be put in place which requires a longer notice period and you will need to complete an Event Permission Form.
  • Film Screening Request Form - complete this online form if you are planning to watch a film in either Cine10 or another room on campus. See 'Are we allowed to screen a film at our event?' for more info.
  • Societies Funding Application - use this form if you are a society executive applying for additional funding to help your soceity with an activity or event which will help achieve its aims and objectives. Please be aware that funding may only be granted if you have exhausted all other means of financing, including fundraisers, crowdfunding and sponsorship seeking.
  • Social Media Event Promotion Form - use this form if you want your Societies Department and Students’ Union to help you to promote your event via societies webpages, social media, out on squares or on the screens around campus.
  • Square 3 Screens Promotion Request - use this form if you want your promotional material to be displayed on the screens on the stairs between square 3 and square 4. This requires a minimum of 3 weeks' notice.
  • Election Request Formif you are the President of your soceity, use this form to tell us that you want to hold an election to replace/add a President, Treasurer, Secretary or Welfare Officer to your society's Executive Committee.
  • Expense Form
  • Start a Society

Training Documents

Training Tests




how do we book a University Teaching Room?

1. Before you book the room, please allow a minimum of three working days’ notice, preferably two weeks. As much notice as possible is needed for big events and Ivor Crewe.

2. Read and complete this form: 

Completed forms are sent to the Societies Team for sponsorship. If all is okay, we’ll sponsor the booking and it’ll be sent through to Central Room Bookings, who’ll allocate you a room. You get an email notification when this happens. If there’s a problem, we’ll email you.

Things to note:

  • If you’re inviting an external speaker, this must be approved by us before you book the room. Here's the external speaker request form.
  • If you want to screen a film, please wait until you have your room confirmed and then complete this form with at least three weeks' notice: 
  • All events, however mundane or complex, need a completed risk assessment. Here's a template.
  • Please fill in the form carefully, making sure that you don't allow autocomplete to insert your own name in place of the society name, and/or your private email address instead of your Essex one, as this means that the booking cannot be processed.


how do we hold an event on squares?

Complete this online Table Booking Form and your request will be dealt with as quickly as possible.

If your event will take place one of the other Squares, or if it is a Square 3 event which falls outside the normal range of events held there - sales, promotions etc. - you will need to obtain permission from the University's Estates Department by completing an Event Permission Form which you can download using the link provided.  Depending on the nature of your event, you will need to provide either one or three weeks' notice, so don't leave it too late!

If you want to sell or give out food at your event, you will need to:

  • Comply with food hygiene regulations
  • If serving homemade food, attain a food hygiene certificate
  • Complete a Food Agreement Form

How do we Book an SU Venue

If you want to hold an event in one of the following venues:

  • SU Bar
  • Top Bar
  • Base
  • Sub Zero

there are a number of options available to you, depending on the availability of the venue, the nature of your event, the time of your event, the number of people realistically expected to attend and your budget.

As a general guide, events involving collaboration between several societies, or societies and clubs, have a better history of success, so you should explore opportunities to collaborate whenever possible.

 Although the Societies Department will support you with your event, the promotion and marketing of the event will be your responsibility, and you should plan this carefully.

Once you have made a decision about your requirements, please complete an online Venues Booking Form here. This is different to the teaching room form.
Always try to book your venue as far in advance as possible, especially if your event is scheduled for a popular time of year.

can we hold an event off campus?

There is no reason why you cannot hold an event off-campus, although you will need to take a number of additional factors into account.

These will include:

  • setting out clear, written terms for your agreement with the venue and having the contract signed by an authorised representative of the SU
  • finding out whether the venue will require a minimum number of ticket holders
  • deciding whether the society will make travel arrangements on behalf of members, and who will pay for them
  • finding out whether a hire cost applies, and whether a deposit will need to paid, and
  • finding out whether the society or the venue will be collecting ticket income and handling admissions.

If a third party site is used to sell tickets (such as Eventbrite), you will need to take into account the effect of commission on profit margins, and will need to provide them with a refernce they can use when transferring the money to the SU, as it can otherwise be very difficult to trace it!  (Please ask the SU Societies team at and we will give you this along with the SU account details.)

You may also need to complete a risk assessment for the event, although the Societies Department can offer you some support with this.

Can You help us with fundraising events?

Always make it clear who you are raising money, and tell people the name of the charity you are helping if that is the reason for your fundraising.

You will want to make a profit, so try to keep your costs down – if you spend more money than you earn, you will make a loss. This sounds obvious, but it can and does happen!  For this reason it is a good idea to make sure that someone keeps track of all the money that is being spent, especially if several people are involved in buying things.

Unless you are raising money for charity, don’t forget to deduct VAT from the amount you raise when calculating your profit or to ask for VAT receipts when you make purchases so that the tax can be claimed back on your behalf, reducing your costs.

If you need to book a table on Square 3, book a room on campus, book sports facilities, book an entertainment venue on campus, or deal with external service providers, please see the relevant FAQ entries for more details.



Your Societies Department and Students’ Union can help you to promote your event in a number of ways, depending on how much notice you are able to provide and the nature and scale of your event, although the main responsibility for promotion must rest with you as organisers.


When you create an event on your society page at it is automatically displayed beneath your convene heading on the 'Find a Society' page and also on the Societies ‘What’s On’ page (unless you tick the box stating that the event is to be displayed to members only).

Events held in the SU’s campus venues will also appear in the SU ‘What’s On’ page and on the 'Alcohol Free Events' page if it falls into that category AND you remember to tick the relevant box!

In addition,  if your event is likely to appeal to many people on campus, the SU Societies Team can also promote it on the University’s own ‘What’s On’ page.



The SU Societies Team  will do their best to support any promotion you do on social media by way of copying links, ‘liking’ on Facebook, re-tweeting etc, so long as we are given adequate notice - and you send us the links!

If you would like the Societies Department to help promote your event on their social media platforms, please fill out this form -



Promoting your event by handing out flyers - perhaps on a Thursday market day - or running a stall on another day, complete with music (if relevant) and/or giveaways, is a very effective way to promote an upcoming event.


  • The screens are designed to reach a wide auidence, so you we can only agree to promote your event in theis way if it is large enough, and general enough, to be likely to appeal to a broad section of SU members.  If your event is small scale or specialist in nature, there are far more effective ways to promote it.
  • Screen time is in high demand and must be shared equally - therefore, we cannot guarantee it. If you have a number of events coming up which are sutiable to be promoted in this way, please consider which benefit most from, and priortise them.
  • Any media you create for these screens needs to be 1080x1920 and the file type preferably needs to be .WMV and exactly 20 seconds long. You can also send other still image formats, so long as the dimensions are 1080x1920 (Marketing will convert the file in a .WMV).
  • Finally, Marketing need a minmum of three weeks' notice.
  • If you would like to proceed with a request for screen time, having read through the above, please click here.


how can we sell tickets for our event?

The Societies Department can create tickets that can be bought by members and non-members either online, at the SU Reception desk, or on the door of SU venues.

Just create an event on your society web page and then complete this form.

We normally recommend that you sell tickets online in this way, rather than using paper tickets, because you will otherwise need to make sure that the tickets are numbered to create a paper trail for your income, and also to avoid people photocopying them or claiming that they have ‘lost’ their tickets.

In addition, paper tickets need to be paid for in cash, which is not always convenient, and the money will need to be counted, kept safe, and paid into your society's account  - and you will also have to provide a float, in order to give change.  

Also, if there is more than one society collaborating in this event, the money will need to be split between the different societies before being paid in by their various executives.

On the other hand, online purchases made via credit or debit card are convenient, and ticket income from web sales goes straight into your account.  Where societies are collaborating, income from web sales is automatically paid to each member’s society, with non-member income being split equally between the societies involved.

Using, purchases can be made anywhere, and at any time, and you will know exactly how many tickets have been sold.  You can also view, download and print a list of ticket holders, so dealing with admissions will be simplified. A link to the event can be created from any social media account, so you can promote the event yourselves and people can then follow the link to to make the purchase.

Likewise, if you want to sell the tickets on squares, you can just take a laptop out with you.

Lastly, unlike Eventbrite and similar portals, there is no commission levied, so your society gets all of the income.


All film screenings by societies are subject to licensing requirements, meaning that a Performance Licence must be purchased by the SU on behalf of the society for each film screening it organises.
When you buy a DVD or a Blu-ray, it comes with a licence to watch it at home, in private. It isn’t licenced for any other type of viewing, meaning that you can only legally watch that DVD or Blu-ray at home under the licence that you have for it. When you want to show a film publicly, such as at a film screening, you need to buy an additional performance licence in order to do this. When you have bought the public screening licence, you are then permitted to show that DVD or Blu-ray that you own publicly under the terms of the licence you have purchased

The approximate cost of a Performance Licence is £80.00 - £100.00, but please bear in mind that this can vary.  Additionally, societies should be aware that licences are not always available to purchase, either for legal or commercial reasons, and this is not something that the SU has any control over.

If your society wishes to hold a film screening you should provide a minimum of three weeks' notice - more if you wish to use Cine 10 - and complete the online Societies Film Screening Request Form.

How do our finance and accounts work?

The President and Treasurer of a society are responsible for its finances - and this includes filling in budget application forms, paying fundraising income into the society’s account, and signing expense claims.

They both receive an automated finance report every week stating the current balance of the society’s accounts and listing all transactions (if you're not getting these, let us know!)

No society is permitted to hold or deal with money outside their authorised account, which is an account administered by the University of Essex Student’s Union. To do so is a serious breach of the Students’ Union’s financial regulations.

This means that all money raised by or on behalf of a society - including donations or collections from members - must be paid immediately into the society's account.

For more info please refer to the Finance Training.


why do I need to complete a budget  form?

An annual budget application form needs to be completed by the Treasurer and President of every society so that the SU Socieites Team can approve planned expenditure of the society's membership income.  This money (called the the Budgeted Fund) can only be used to fulfill the core aims and objectives of the society.

Use this link to read or download a copy of the Budget Application Form.

If your society’s plans alter later in the year due to changes in your income or circumstances, you will need to complete a Supplementary Budget Application Form.


The system for Societies Guild funding changed tjhis year, so that societies will need to apply for funding for specific items of expenditure incurred at specific times and for specific purposes.

This change was introduced in order to make more funding available to more societies by reducing the number of times funding is applied for and then not used, and also to help societies plan their events, trips etc. more accurately.

Applications for Societies Guild funding must be made using this  online Typeform:

Socieites Guild Funding Application 

Before making your application, please make sure that you have read, and are aware of the following important points:

  • You cannot apply for funding until you have budgeted to spend all of the membership money you are projected to receive this year.  (This information is on the front page of your approved budget, which has now been returned to you.)
  • Applications do not need to be made by a certain date – you can apply at any time, but allow for at least three weeks before you need the money.
  • You will need to provide a good amount of detail in your application - what the funding will be used for, how it will help you fulfil your aims and  objectives as a society (with reference to your constitution), and how you have calculated the costs involved.  If you do not have all the infomation when you want to apply, please wait until you do, as applications containing insufficient information will need to be re-submitted.
  •  You will need to make separate applications for separate items of expenditure.
  • Decisions about funding will be made by the Societies Guild Treasurer and Committee, so bear in mind that the more your use of the funding benefits the Guild as a whole, the more likely your application is to succeed.

HOW DO I pay money into my society’s account?

Memberships and tickets sold online or at the Reception desk are automatically paid into your society’s account by the Finance Office, so you don't need to worry about those.

If you are paying in cash following a fundraising event or similar, just complete a Paying-In Form and take it to the SU Reception desk along with the money you need to pay in.

Paying-in forms are kept at Reception, but you can download a copy here.

Cheques made out to the University of Essex Students’ Union can also be paid into your account by the Finance Office, so long as there is a covering letter explaining why the money is being paid to your society, and who is paying it.

Bank transfers can also be made directly to your society's account: please contact the SU Societies Team at and we will give you the details.

*Don’t forget that you must pay VAT on all income other than charitable donations, so if an individual or organisation decides to make a charitable donation to your society account, the fact that it is a charitable donation needs to be made very clear in a supporting letter or email.  The Finance Office will help you with this process, if you wish.*

A different procedure applies to money that your soceity has raised for charity - see 'How Do I Pay Money to a Charity?')

how do societies pay money to charities?

Money cannot be paid directly from a society’s account to a charity, because the Student’s Union is itself a Registered Charity, and charity law does not permit this - so if your socity has raised money for a charity DO NOT pay it into your soceity account.

Instead, the money needs first to be paid into a special holding account, known as the ‘Raise and Give’ (RaG) account.

First, you will need to complete a normal Paying-In Form and take it to the SU Reception Desk along with the money you need to pay in to the RaG account.

Paying-in forms are kept at Reception, but you can download a copy here.

At Reception you will also need to complete a separate RaG Form which they will supply to you, giving the details of the charity you have raised the money for. After that, either the money can be transferred by the SU directly to the charity you have selected, or you can ask for a cheque to be made out to the charity so that you can send it yourselves, together with a covering letter.

All this means that expenses claims may have to be dealt with differently. If you need to deduct expenses from the money that has been raised for charity, you will need to take it from the money that you pay in - unless these will be covered from your soceity's Non-Budgeted Fund - because once the money has been paid into RaG no expenses can be claimed from  it.



At present, all societies pay Value Added Tax (VAT) on their income, at a rate of 20%.

(This does not mean 20% is deducted from your income, as it assumed that it has been included in all prices.  As an example, for each £5.00 membership that is paid to a society, the society receives £4.17 while 83p is deducted in tax and paid to the government.)

This matters when you are calculating profit margins on an event. For example, if it will cost you £200 to host an event, you may plan to make a small profit if you sell all the tickets for £220. But because you pay VAT on the ticket money, you will receive only £183.33 after tax, so in fact you will make a small loss.

(To calculate the amount of VAT you will pay on income, divide the pre-tax figure by 1.2. Using the above example, £220.00 divided by 1.2 = £183.33. If you then subtract £183.33 from £220.00, you can see that £36.67 in VAT has had to be paid.)

However,  because societies pay VAT on their income, they can recover any VAT they pay when making purchases, so anyone buying items on behalf of a society MUST remember to ask for a VAT receipt. (For example, if you spend £20 on chocolate biscuits for a party, but obtain a VAT receipt, it will only cost the society £16.66.)

The Students’ Union’s Finance Office pays and recovers all VAT amount on your behalf, so societies do not need to become involved in the mechanics of this process - however, it makes good financial sense to be aware of it!

what if i want to pay a company or person for services?

In law, a contract is: “(A)n agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for a valuable benefit, known as consideration.”

So if you are booking a restaurant that requires a deposit, holding an event in a venue off campus, booking a DJ, booking a trip, paying someone to decorate a room for an event, etc. you are entering into a contract.

As a society executive you are not authorised to enter into contracts - societies are part of the SU, so contracts need to be made with it, and the SU has only a few individuals who are authorised to sign contracts on its behalf.  Any such agreements therefore need to be sent to the Societies Department, and we will arrange for the appropriate person to sign them.

The Societies Department can also provide you with a suggested template for a contract for the supply of services, should you require one.

PLEASE be careful about entering into or changing the terms of agreements via email, text or messaging. These are still contracts, and need to be both clearly set out and signed.


The easiest way to buy something for your society is to pay for it yourself and then claim back the money. (See 'How do I make an expenses claim?')

Just remember to ask for and keep any receipts, and to attach these to your expenses claim form before your Treasurer signs it.

If you need to spend a lot of money, then the SU can assist by paying on invoice, or by using an SU charge card.

With an invoice, the supplier of the goods or services sends us a statement of the amount of money that is due to them, which the SU then pays to them from your account, by bank transfer.  

*Invoices must be addressed to the University of Essex Student’s Union, and not to the University of Essex or to your society.*

If the supplier is an individual - like a student DJ - and does not know how to set out an invoice, please contact the SU Societies Team on, as we have a template that they can use.

Invoices are processed each Wednesday morning, so you need to hand your invoice in to the Societies Department on a Tuesday if you want it paid by the following Friday.

Charge card payments will only be considered where there is no practical alternative, as they involve quite a lot of internal administration for both the Team and the Finance Office.

how do we elect an executive committee?

All elections must be held online.

Any member of the Students’ Union who is a full member of a society can stand and vote in that society's election.  Members must be given at least one week’s notice of an impending election, and minimum nomination and voting periods apply.
Please note that a minimum of 25% of members (or a minimum of 30 members, if there are more than 120 members) must take part in the election for each position. This is known as a quoracy requirement - an inquorate election is automatically an invalid election, while a quorate one is usually valid.
If you know what officers you need to elect, please complete an online Election Request Form.  The Societies Team will be holding elections approximately once a month in term, and will add your society's election to the next round.
If you are having problems standing or voting is an election, or you are not sure whether your society needs to hold an election, please contact the SU Societies Team on

when do societies need to hold elections?

All executive committee members must have been elected to that position, unless they are members of the first executive committee of a newly ratified society, so whenever societies want to add a position or a person to their committee, an open election must be held.

Societies must have three individuals each seperately fulfilling the roles of president, treasurer and secretary at all times, so if either of these individuals resigns you must immediately hold an election to replace them.

If any other member of the executive committee resigns, or if you want to add a position, you should hold an election at the next opotunity.  The Societies Team will be holding a round of elections approximately once a month during term time, and you can tell us which officers you want to elect using an online Election Request Form.

Please note that you cannot replace or appoint officers without holding an election.

how Do we hand over from one committee to another?

Handover meetings are an important part of the planning process for new executive committees because they allow you to access the knowledge and experience gained in previous years, and make informed decisions about the strategic direction of your society.

The Societies Handover Form contains suggestions about the topics that might usefully be covered at the meeting, and is a also a document which the SU Societies Team requires both Presidents to sign before returning it to us for our records.  You can read and download the Societies Handover Form here.

We recommend that the two committees also reflect on  the different activities and events that have taken place during the year, and we have created a Societies Initial Planning Form to assist you in talking through and recording your thoughts about this.  You can read and downloaded the Initial Planning Form here.

what training is there for executives?

The SU Societies Team organises a small number of compulsory training sessions for core officers (Presidents, Treasurers, Secretaries and Welfare Officers) at the beginning of each academic year. If you can't attend these or you become an exec later in the year, online courses are also provided (links below). 

These courses are compulsory for core execs:

These are other useful courses we strongly recommend:

can we create an email address for our society?

The University will not create ‘’ emails for societies, so your best option is either to use Facebook or other Messenger services, or to create an email address with a provider such as Hotmail.

what if we want to use henna or face paint?

We must ensure you only use brown, natural Henna to reduce the risk of reaction or infection. Absolutely NO black Henna is to be used.

You cannot do Henna on children without the permission of their guardian. You cannot do Henna on anyone with open wounds.

If your society is wanting to use Henna for an event or on a stall, you will need to have a disclaimer. You can download one by clicking here

How do I find my Societies Locker?

  1. Collect the Locker Room key from Security on Square 3 (next to MOA, opposite the SU)
  2. Cross the square and use entrance 3NE
  3. Go down the stairs to level 3
  4. Continue left down the corridor until you find 3.101 – it’s an old photography dark room, and if you look carefully there’s still a faded sign for it on the door.

Once you’re finished, lock the room and immediately return the key to Security.

how can we deal with conflict in our committee?

If your executive committee is experiencing troubles, the first step is to discuss the issue and your views about it directly and reasonably with those involved.  Understanding everyone’s viewpoint and talking things through can be a fast and effective solution, and it avoids any escalation of the problem.

Try to keep your discussions face-to-face – written comments often sound much harsher than intended and can be misinterpreted, and group chats encourages others to add to problem by taking sides, which is rarely helpful.

  • If another executive is complaining about the management of an event or of the society in general, try to listen to their point of view without being overly defensive. Taking all criticism personally is often unnecessary and is usually counterproductive.  Often, assigning the person more tasks can help solve the tension since they will then have more ownership of the project in question or feel that they can share in the development of the society.
  • If you feel an executive is not pulling their weight, again, talk to them about it. Try to limit your discussion to tasks, rather than entering into a general debate about their attitude or abilities, with the desired outcome being an agreed list of tasks and deadlines.  Be as specific as you can, so there is little margin of error.  If the person is not interested in finding a solution, you may need to find out whether they would prefer to step down from their position which, if they are taking on too much in other areas, may actually be a relief.

Should the problem persists after this informal conversation, consider involving an external party as a mediator: for example, another executive, your convenor (find their contact details here) or another member of the Societies Guild Committee.  They will be able to offer an impartial opinion on the issue, and suggest solutions to all parties involved.

However, should you feel that a breach of the Societies Guild Constitution or Code of Conduct has occurred, please contact the Societies Team by emailing


how can I complain about a society?

Every society is governed by its own Constitution and Code of Conduct, which should be made available to all members, and also by the Societies Guild Constitution and Societies Guild Code of Conduct.

If you wish to make a complaint about a society or any of its members or officer, please contact the Societies Department via email at with a brief description of the issue, and we will help you to find the best way to proceed.

Alternatively, you may wish to contact the Students’ Union directly via our SU React facility.

how can i register to drive a minibus?

The SU has four vehicles that can be hired by societies - one 9-seater people carrier, and three 17-seater minibuses

To drive an SU vehicle you must meet certain conditions and successfully pass an assessment

The main condition is that you must have been driving for a minimum of 2 years, but SU Admin staff will need assess your application having regard to the terms of the SU's vehicle insurance cover.

  • To drive the people carrier, you will need to complete a 30 minute online assessment and a 20 minute final debrief - £15 plus VAT (total £18)
  • To drive a minibus, you must do the same and also complete a one-hour on-road assessment and a 20 minute eco-briefing - £48 plus VAT (total £57.60)

If you are taking the assessment in order to become a driver for your society, this may be something that your society agrees to subsidise.

After that, for both vehicles, you will also need to read through the SU's Drivers' Manual and sign an agreement setting out the terms of use of the vehicles

If you want to make an application, complete the Assessment Application Form (you can read and download this here) and bring it to the SU Reception desk along with your photo card driver's licence.

SU Admin staff will then contact you to arrange a date for your assessment.

If you have any questions about this becoming a driver, or would like to book an assessment, please contact

how can we book a minibus?

All minibus bookings are made online, at

If neither the SU people carrier (which seats 9) or the three SU minibuses (which each set 17) are available, it may be possible to hire in an additional minibus at a daily rate of £80 plus VAT (total cost £96) plus fuel.

If you use an SU vehicle there is no hire charge, and fuel is charged at a rate of 65p per mile.

how do i find an answer that isn't here??

If you can't find an answer to your query in our FAQ section, there are a number of different options available to you.

  • Post a question on the Society Executives Facebook page, which can be found here. It should be answered quite quickly by either another executive or a member of the Societies Team.
  • Ask your society's convenor, or a relevant officer of the Soceities Guild Committee - you can find their contact details here.
  • Ask us in person, by dropping into the SU Societies office during our open hours, Monday to Friday from 10:00 - 12.30.

Alternatively, you can drop us an email at  However, please bear in mind that we are very busy at certain times of the year, and although we will try to get back to you as soon as we can, one of the options listed above may be quicker..