Clubs and Societies at Richmond

The Leaders of Tomorrow – The Women in Leadership Society

Dr Ira Konstantinou

Mary Sullivan (President), Associate Professor of Politics, Eunice Goes (guest speaker: Richmond University), Amy Austin (guest speaker: Director of Alumni and Development at the US-UK Fulbright Commission), Anita Kouassigan (guest speaker: founder of Investing in Women), Madison Starks (Events Coordinator), Teyah Payne (Treasurer)

“We’re not a TED talk, we just want to start a conversation,” says the President of Richmond’s Women in Leadership student society, Mary Sullivan.

Founded three years ago at the university, the club is about creating a community where ideas and skills are exchanged in the hope of empowering women further and encouraging female leadership.

“We want to give women the skills and confidence to succeed in the working environment and make a positive impact on their personal and professional communities,” adds Mary.

The club does this by holding frequent talks and networking events on subjects such as how to make the transition from higher education to the workplace, or understanding that today a career ladder is likely to involve a career change at some point … or analysing women’s inability to network in the way that men often do.

And the discussion often goes further to address some of today’s more pressing societal issues, such as gender, race and diversity.

“We might bring one of all of them in on a discussion around representation and discrimination in the workplace, for example,” says Mary, a Senior majoring in a BA in Development Studies. “They are important topics which students want to discuss.”

The club prides itself on making students feel comfortable with speaking about subjects that they might not discuss with their families or professors, and men are not excluded. They are invited to all events.

“We welcome men because they should be part of these discussions. As well as understanding women’s views and struggles, we hopefully also get to hear theirs.”

The club has also organised a Women in Art event where Richmond students could showcase their art, and invited professional artists from the creative industries spoke about their work and career paths. “The idea was to show that women can also make it in the art world, and also that it can be a valid and interesting career path,” says Mary.

An autumn networking event included guest speakers: Amy Austin, Director of Alumni and Development at the US-UK Fulbright Commission, Eunice Goes, Politics Professor at Richmond University, and Anita Kouassigan, founder of Investing in Women. The guests discussed the transition from higher education to the workforce, offered networking advice, and talked candidly about some of the obstacles in the modern workplace.

If you want to find out more about the Women in Leadership Club, email Mary Sullivan.

Richmond’s  LGBT club – United in Diversity

Dr Ira Konstantinou

An annual visit to a West End cinema performance of the Rocky Horror Show is just one of the activities offered by Richmond’s LGBT club, United in Diversity.  To add a bit more fun to the occasion, the club’s members traditionally dress up – the more flamboyantly the better – in one of the characters from the musical.

When members are not on the annual trip they meet every two weeks to plan other events, from clubbing to movie nights to raising money for charity.

The club began in 2013, and is presently run by President Neyda Vega, a Junior studying for a BA in History.  “Some members want to party all the time and some take more of an interest in the problems in the community. We cater for everyone, creating a safe space that anyone can feel comfortable in,” says Neyda.

“It becomes a friendship group really; so we also like to share stories about what we’ve been up to recently, who’s been on dates… just talking for a while,” she adds.

Fundraisers are an important part of the club. At least one will be held on each campus every semester. This semester they sold Aids ribbons raising money for the National AIDS Trust.

Neyda plans to further expand Richmond’s LGBT community by pursuing a partnership with nearby Imperial College and King’s College, and to work with their LGBT clubs to create a larger community with more opportunities to network and socialize. Neyda would also like to visit and work with a youth center in London, providing support and guidance to the children there.

One club member is a youth ambassador for the campaigning group Stonewall, and next year the group would like to organize a conference around diversity in education.

If you want to find out more about United in Diversity, email Neyda Vega.

The home for fashionistas – The Richmond Fashion Society

Tomorrow’s fashion designers and models have a place to call home at Richmond. For the last few years, Richmond Fashion Society has been a creative outlet for the university’s artists, models, photographers, and designers to share their latest creations and dip their toes into London’s diverse fashion community.

What started as a small group posting photos on Instagram has grown into a network of artists working collaboratively on multimedia fashion projects. What was once a small group has become as bustling club in the heart of London’s fashion world.

Last year, Thimo and the Fashion Society put on a charity fashion show on Kensington campus. Inspired by the symmetrical architecture on campus, Thimo envisioned a catwalk full of models strutting through the school halls. After working for London Fashion Week, he knew this kind of project was not for the fainted hearted. But with the help of about 15 dedicated team members, including Vice President Gabrielle Hollenbeck, the Society hosted a widely successful show. Over 25 models walked the catwalk, wearing pieces from up-and-coming designers at the university.

The show gave a platform for designers to sell their work and raised over £300 from ticket sales for charities such as PETA, UNICEF, and ICOARM–a local aid charity for refugees

Following the buzz created by the show, the Fashion Society’s next big project was a magazine to complement their instagram account RUONCampus.

Grantz and Hollenbeck gathered their small army of artists and dispersed them to handle each little detail the magazine. The Spring issue was filled with writing from Richmond students and faculty, as well as local and international professionals in the industry. RUONCampus was made available online (link), along with hard copies for students to take home.

Grantz and his team just barely caught their breath before starting plans for the second issue, which will be released at the start of 2019.

Once the second issue is out, and the club’s leaders approach their graduation, the future of the Fashion Society will be left in the hands of upcoming members and anyone eager dive into Richmond’s foothold in the fashion world.

Dancing on the Hill – Richmond’s Dance Club

Richmond’s Dance Club is riding on a high after winning the New Club of the Year Award at the University’s 2018 Honours Night Award Ceremony.

The talented and passionate dancers and club members, who all bring their own different style to the club, are led by a Kira Ewaskiew who founded the club this year. A classical ballet dancer, and a Junior studying for a BSc in Accounting and Finance, she wanted the club to bring her love of dance and her university experience together.

Students of all levels and all genders, from beginner to experienced, are invited to join the classes on Tuesday evenings in the small theatre on the university’s Richmond Hill Campus.

“Since starting the club, I’ve met so many people I wouldn’t normally meet. We really bond and have fun doing something we genuinely enjoy for one night a week.”

As a group the members discuss what styles of dance they want to do each semester. Some of the members’ favourites are contemporary, hip hop and ballet. Each week is dedicated to one style of dance and the students volunteer to take over and teach a specific style they are passionate about. They prepare their own routines and combinations – from the warm up to the cool down, they are in charge.

Once a semester, Kira also invites in a professional instructor to teach a class. This fall, a Zumba instructor came during Richmond’s Health and Wellness week.  In the spring, for International Week Kira will invite an expert on a specific cultural dance to come in.

This fall, the Dance Club also produced its first live performance at the university during the annual hosting of ‘Halloween on the Hill’. Children from Richmond come to participate in face painting, trick or treating, and, this year it included a live performance from the Dance Club performing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.

Students can attended as many or as few classes as they want. Participation is never mandatory and help is always given.

“There is truly no other club like this on campus. We are a positive outlet for the performing arts. It’s all for fun and exercise. I love teaching beginners the dance basics and watching them grow as performers,” says Kira.

If you want to find out more about the Dance Club, email Kira Ewaskiew.

Fine baking, fine television, and sense of community – Richmond’s Great British Baking Society

Richmond’s Great British Baking Society has – as its name suggests – a very British influence. It’s inspired by television’s most watched cookery show: The Great British Bake Off. In the show, amateur bakers compete in a series of events to determine who will become the UK’s Best Amateur Baker.

Although members of the Richmond Society are not currently organising or involved in any baking competitions, they are engaged in several events throughout the community including bake sales, partnering with the university’s ‘Green Project’, and of course, gathering together to watch the Great British Bake Off.

Founded in 2016 by student Leah Wood, the club combines fine baking, fine television, and sense of community and is also involved with the wider university. The club provides treats for student events, including Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and the annual Spring Festival. As well as cakes, tasty pastries, savory quiche, and mini meat pies, are commonly prepared treats for their own and other club’s events.

Perhaps most notable is the Great British Baking Society’s involvement with The Green Project. Richmond’s environmental club works to reduce waste and remove

litter in the London area. Every month, members of The Green Project, partner with the Wandle Trust and travel to southeast Wimbledon to remove rubbish from a nearby river. The Baking Society provides sandwiches, tea, coffee, and pastries for those who take part and often accompanies the environmental club on their southeast London expeditions.

During the fall semester, when the Great British Bake Off  is televised, the group gathers together weekly to watch the show. Occasionally, students go on to replicate recipes from the show, and the club is currently organising guest speakers from the show, to come and speak at an special event.

Within the baking society, several members are interested in pursuing culinary arts beyond the club, but no baking or cooking experience is necessary to join. “You don’t have to be a good baker, you can just come and see what happens,” says club president Leah Wood.

Wood describes how she has learned about baking through trial and error, and one of her favorite memories cooking with the group was a miserable attempt to create Guinness cupcakes for a St. Patrick’s Day event. “It failed spectacularly!” she laughs.

In addition, the club has been a great way for students to unwind and engage with their peers after a long day of classes. Wood encourages all Richmond students to bake, as it has proven to be such a simple and enjoyable activity for her. “It doesn’t matter if it turns out lopsided or burnt, it’s something entirely cool and unique that you made yourself,” she says.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Great British Baking Society at Richmond, contact Leah Wood. She looks forward to hearing from you!

Geeks On Campus: The Richmond Keyboard Warriors

Do you have an interest in anything ‘nerdy’, or perhaps in a specific nerd culture? Perhaps you enjoy gaming, cosplay, anime, or even board games in your spare time? Whatever your passion, the “Richmond Keyboard Warriors” is the place to be.

The club originally started as a student social club for computer gamers before going through multiple iterations. As current club president Connor Lechleiter explains:  “We were once an anime club, then a board games club, then we went back to computer gaming.” Eventually, when Connor took up the role of president, the name ‘Richmond Keyboard Warriors’ evolved and has now stuck.

Connor affirms that the club’s mission, to specialise and focus on nerd culture and to network with fellow Richmond students, has not changed. The Richmond Keyboard Warriors does not exclude any nerd culture and describes itself as a student group for keen anime, cosplay, and board game fans alike.

The club has played host to a number of events – large and small – on campus with their card playing night bringing together as many as 40 students. The club is also currently working on the possibility of introducing eSports as a club activity, forming a team if there is enough interest, to enter local competitive eSports matches.  There are also potential plans to set up joint events with fellow gaming/anime/nerd culture student organisations in neighboring universities, for example Imperial College, with a regular round of events hosted on and off-campus.

Connor also hopes the Keyboard Warriors can attend at least one Comic Con, or local fan convention in the future. And the club is also exploring volunteering for shared-theme charities, such as “Gaming for Good”, a charity which donates video/board games to children.

If you are already at Richmond and are interested in finding out more about the Richmond Keyboard Warriors, send an email to club president Connor.

The Richmond Psychology Association –  a highly recognised student body

Dr Ira Konstantinou

Puppy Therapy Spring 2018Right to Left: Laila Toema (Co-Chair of Communications of Richmond Psychology Association) and Fadila Farag (Chair of Richmond Psychology Association).
With Doug the Pug.

Students studying Psychology at Richmond automatically become members of RPA and, along with all students at the university, can take advantage of an impressive range of events from networking, careers workshops and social activities, to organised trips and animal therapy sessions with ‘Doug the Pug’.  The association also produces a short newsletter which highlights events, internship opportunities and research in psychology.

In November this year the RPA held a conference on resilience in demanding environments. Four guest speakers with specialisations in sports (Dr. Mark Horne),  humanitarian aid workers (Dr. Amanda Comoretto), chronic pain in students (Dr. Danijela Serbic) and psychological resilience in adolescents (Dr. Constantina Panourgia) came to speak,” says the RPA chair, student Fadila Farag.

“We not only hold events to promote education for students interested in Psychology, we also organise events which promote student’s mental health and wellbeing, and promote a positive environment by providing stress-relief activities.

This has included self-care tags on bubble-wrap keychains, positive messages on pegs, and puppy therapy with Doug the Therapy Pug.

Dr Ira Konstantinou

Honours Night April 2018 – Best Club of the Year & Event of the Year (Doug the Pug Puppy Therapy) Award Right to Left: Jamie Dunn McLeod (Associate Dean of Student Leadership), Dr. Ira Konstantinou (Head of Psychology Department),Fadila Farag (Chair of Richmond Psychology Association), and Alexandria Holcomb (Former Chair of Richmond Psychology Association)

Students are also made aware of avenues for support e.g. counselling services, Student Minds Peer Support Groups, and Samaritans hotlines.”

The Psychology Department and the Richmond Psychology Association have officially established a chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. Psi Chi a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

Prior to this, Richmond University’s BA in Psychology has always been accredited by the BPS (British Psychological Society), with membership is open to all students. However, with this recent chapter opening, the BA Psychology is now affiliated with the APA which means students who meet the criteria: three or more semesters of full-time university course work, have completed three Psychology courses at Richmond University, are in the top 35% of their class, and have a achieved a minimum 3.1 GPA in their Psychology major can be registered and graduate with recognition of the Psi Chi Honor Society.