What is the difference between a club, a service, and an independent student group?
Clubs, Services, and Independent Student Groups are all different designations that the SSMU gives to student groups based on their operations and their structures.
Clubs are interest based groups surrounding a wide variety of topics and themes that host events and programming for their members and are run on a volunteer basis by other undergraduate students. The majority of clubs operate their events within the SSMU building.
Services are groups that exist to provide certain resources or services to all students, and while students can get involved with Services in a volunteer or executive capacity, most Services do not have membership lists in the same way that clubs do, because all students are able to access what they provide.
Like clubs, Independent Student Groups are groups that center around a specific interest or topic, but they are distinct from clubs in that they typically much larger and are legally distinct from and have no oversight from the SSMU. The majority of these groups are registered independently as non-profit organizations. While most of these groups have membership lists that students can sign up for, the Independent Student Groups that are funded by student fees list all McGill students who do not opt of our their fee as members.
How do I find a student group I’m interested in?
There are countless ways to find out what SSMU has to offer! The easiest way to find a student group you’re interested in joining is perusing the Club Listing, Services Listing, and Independent Student Group Listings on the SSMU website. All of SSMU’s student groups fall under one of these categories and together those three lists cover everything we have to offer!
The most common way to see all of SSMU’s student groups in one place is by attending Activities Night, a clubs fair that SSMU hosts at the beginning of each semester. Activities Night, hosted in the SSMU building, brings in all of SSMU’s student groups under one roof for students to sign up for membership lists, speak to the student executives running each group, and learn more about how to get involved.
If you have a specific interest or even a very general idea of what you’re looking for in a student group and would like some guidance on where to start looking, you can also contact the Vice-President (Clubs and Services)or the Club Administrative Officer.
How do I sign up to join a student group?
All student groups maintain their own membership lists, so there is not one centralized way to sign up for a number of groups at once. To become a member or a volunteer for a student group, the easiest way to sign up is contacting that group directly by email or attending a general meeting.
Many groups also have sign-up lists available for students to add their names to during Activities Night. Signing up for one of these lists will generally put you on the group’s email list, where you’ll be able to get more information about how they define their membership and how to become one!
Do I need to pay membership fees to join these groups?
The answer to this question varies depending on the type of group in question. Among clubs, some have membership fees which vary based on the activities of the club, but the majority have no membership fee.
There are no direct membership fees associated with any of the SSMU Services or the Independent Student Groups, but some of these groups receive funding that is paid directly through your student fees on Minerva, which gives you membership rights.
Why do I pay for some of these groups directly through my e-bill on Minerva?
Because Services and Independent Student Groups provide resources and opportunities to all McGill undergraduate students, they have the option of levying a fee from the student body directly that all undergraduate students pay into on Minerva.
Of SSMU’s twenty services, of those groups (M-SERT, SACOMSS, Nightline, Midnight Kitchen, Queer McGill, the Union for Gender Empowerment, TVM: Student Television at McGill, Organic Campus, the Black Students Network, First Year Council, and the McGill International Students Network) levy fees directly from the student body.
Of SSMU’s ten Independent Student Groups, six of those groups (the Legal Information Clinic at McGill, the McGill Daily, the McGill Tribune, CKUT Radio, QPIRG McGill, and the ECOLE Project) levy fees directly from students. So long as you haven’t opted out of the fee through Minerva (note that the McGill Daily and McGill Tribune fees are not opt-outable), you hold voting rights in those organizations and can participate at their Annual General Meetings.