Interview with SocAntSoc President Issy Hoole

So hello Issy! I hope you’re doing alright with everything uni! Let’s get the ball rolling. Could you give us a brief intro about yourself?

Hey! I’m Issy, as you said and I am in my third and final year of my BA Sociology degree! I am from East Sussex, but was born in Wiltshire, so my West Country blood drew me back to Exeter for my undergraduate studies. Despite how pretentious this sounds, I wanted to study Sociology to do my bit to change the world for the better… It would appear that is a little bit more difficult than my naïve pre-degree self had thought.

Well it’s great that there’s a certain drive behind you studying sociology! Being President of the Sociology and Anthropology society, could you tell us more about the society?

Yeah sure! Essentially we are a lovely bunch, who get together for socials of all shapes and sizes, organise careers events and support the department in various ways. Whilst predominantly our members are those who study either Sociology or Anthropology (or a combination), some members are total outsiders interested in what we do!

Why should students join the society then, and how would they benefit from being a part of it?

The society was a great help for me in my first year when I was struggling to settle in. It was a great way to meet new people who study my subject, particularly as it is hard to make friends in a lecture setting. Therefore, having a group of people who know what you’re going through is great. As well as that, by being a member you get discounted rates on Stash and Socials. Often the talks we put on are relevant to careers which we feel social scientists would want to go into, which the Career Zone do not tend to focus on as heavily.

What are the benefits from being a part of the committee then from your own experience?

I think it has taught me a lot about working with other people. We all work really well as a team, but due to the pressure of student life, sometimes people can’t always fulfil their role to their full potential, and therefore someone else has to step up to the plate. Therefore, the experience has taught me how to organise a team. I was Vice President last year, but the President role is a lot more heavily involved with the Guild. I am now a lot more aware of what the Students Guild does for societies and the processes involved. Of course, being a final year, I have learnt (well perhaps am still learning) the art of time management. It is a really rewarding job as well, when you see that all your plans come together, and people are at a social enjoying themselves. That’s what I do it for really!

In what ways do the committee collaborate with the Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology department?

In various ways. Often the department may call on us to help them out at Open Days or Offer Holder Events. As well as this, SocAntSoc in conjunction with SPA piloted a study buddy scheme, which was to help the first year students settle into life at Exeter. The feedback from this pilot scheme is going on to develop something more established for 2015/16. As well as this the lecturers help us advertise our events in lectures sometimes too. Also, they help us to sort out events and talks e.g. Ann Kelly pointed us in the direction of the event with ‘George Marcus’ last term. We also speak in the introduction week talks, so that the first years meet us alongside the department. We most definitely work as a team!

So you mentioned that the society organizes regular socials and events. What sort of socials are these? What was your last social about?

We have a range of socials, pub quizzes, cocktail evenings, nights out, picnics and more! We try to ensure there are a nice mix of events throughout the year. Our last social was a fancy dress night out, where you had to dress up as something which started with the same initial as your last name. I was an iPod, and the Social Sec Lily was a lion!

What can we look forward to from future SocAnt events?

Well, I am very sad to say that my time in SocAntSoc is coming to an end as I will be graduating this summer and moving away from Exeter. However I hope to go out with a bang! We have got some really exciting plans for a Murder Mystery Night at the end of term. This will be the official hand over event for the new committee, and we are hoping it will be a great night. Watch this space for more information! We should have a couple more events in the meantime though! For more information on our events, like us on Facebook.

How can students join the committee?

On the week commencing 9th of March, we will be holding our Annual General Meeting. This is when the new committee get elected. You put forward a manifesto, which then goes up online, and members then vote on our website on the Guild page for their new committee. The positions up for grabs this year are: President, Vice President, Treasurer, Social Sec(s), Publicity Sec and Academic and Careers Rep. We also elect a Fresher’s rep in the beginning of Term 1 of each year. If you would like to find out more you can e-mail me (ih236@exeter.ac.uk) or come along to our ‘Meet the Committee’ event on the 4th March to find out what it is like to be a member of the SocAntSoc team.

And finally, if you were stuck on a desert island, what are the three books that you would bring along to keep you company?

Half the Sky – How to change the world. (Kristof and WuDunn). It is an incredible book about various women who are oppressed in various different ways escape their terrible situation, and find new ways of life, where they are then successful. This book was the reason I chose to study Sociology. Chavs- The demonization of the working class (Owen Jones). It is my bible and always will be. I love everything about Owen Jones. The Progressive Patriot (Billy Bragg). I am a huge fan of Billy Bragg and his politics, and this is a very well written book, which discusses being proud to be British, whilst wanting to avoid the radical politics of groups such as the BNP.


For anyone interested in joining the committee, you will be able to put forward your manifesto and vote (for members only) at this link when it goes live:https://www.exeterguild.org/societies/SocSoc/ In the meantime, “Like” the Sociology and Anthropology Society at their Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/exeterunisocantsoc or follow them on Twitter @socantsoc

Jason Chang

Image credit: Rachel Reed

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