How to start a student group at Ryerson

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By Abbey Kelly

Opportunities to see campus groups have come and gone, but you didn’t see the group that has that one interest, goal and/or activity you are really passionate about.

Try starting your own student group.

It seems intimidating at first, but here’s a guide to the different organizations you can start a group under, and the pros and cons of each.

  1. Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU)

The RSU may seem like the most obvious choice to start a student group under since there are 85 student groups listed on their website and they have a lot of pros to being associated with them.

Robert Molloy, a third-year politics student and co-president of the Poetic Exchange, said, “The nice thing about working with the RSU is that things like [Campus Groups day] are the priorities. Being able to book a room, the copy-printing card, it’s stuff like that.”

Lyara Malvar, a third-year chemical engineering student and member of Ryenamics, said another good thing about the RSU was the connections.

A drawback to working with the RSU is the size of the organization, which means more bureaucracy. Isaac Quiroz, a first-year hospitality and tourism management student at Ryerson, said that making the Organization of Latin American Students official was slow since the RSU meetings were a month or so apart.

Though it might take time to get a group going, Azam student of Socialist Fightback said, “It’s not really the bureaucracy that’s the hassle. There might be bureaucratic rules, but at the end of the day it’s our own effort, our ability to get people that are interested enough to get the club going.”

  1. Ted Rogers Student Society (TRSS)

The TRSS is another place to start a student group, although it is limited to more business-esque student groups or goal-oriented student groups. There are nearly 30 student groups and course unions under TRSS.

Sandeep Niranjan, a fourth-year student in Human Resource Management is the president of Toastmasters at Ryerson, said, “[TRSS] is very cliquey, very niche, and if you don’t feel within the ‘in’ group here, then it’ll take you some time to get used to it. Get used to being a part of the organization here.”

Niranjan also said, “It’s very comforting to be within it. There are lots of tools, lots of ways to connect with other student groups.”

Otherwise, the TRSS is a great networking opportunity. There’s great faculty to help you, and fewer people to pitch to.

Karan Sharma, a third-year Global Management student and president of Ascend Ryerson said to, “find faculty members who are able to support you that have advice and have the connections that you need.”

  1. Ryerson Liberal Arts Society (RLAS)

The Ryerson Liberal Arts Society is new to the scene of student groups, with only a couple groups under their belt.

Molloy said, “They are taking in a lot of applications so they’re the first place I tell folks to look.”

The RLAS have fewer student groups under them currently. There are fewer people to pitch to, and they are relatively open to students from other faculties starting a student group with them.

  1. Ryerson Communication and Design Society (RCDS)

The Ryerson Communication and Design Society has nearly 20 organizations, course unions, and publications housed under their banner. They are made by and for students in the Faculty of Communication and Design.

Julia Mastroianni, a third-year journalism student and president of the Journalism Course Union, said RCDS has “been helpful and quick to reach out,” and said, “I feel like they’re attempting to be more connected with student groups and course unions under them this year.”

To try to create a group under RCDS, email info@rcdsonline.ca for all of the details. Just like you would have to for other groups, you will need to pitch your idea to the board of RCDS in a similar manner that students pitch their creative projects for funding.

  1. Ryerson Engineering Student Society (RESS) & Ryerson Science Society (RSS)

The RESS and RSS both house student groups that are there for the students in their society. If you have an idea to bring together like-minded people with a topic related to engineering or science, go to the RESS or RSS, respectively.

For RESS, you need to request a time-slot at a RESS board meeting, which takes place every two months out of the academic year. The request is made through the Vice President Operations, and presentation guidelines and additional information can be found at http://ress.site/index.php/creating-a-new-group/ .

In the maximum 15 minute presentation, the site says the board is looking for “the need for the group, its long-term feasibility and how it complements existing groups.”

On the other hand, the RSS requires 30 signatures, a constitution, a plan, then a five-minute presentation with a 10 minute question period. Full details can be found at https://www.rssonline.ca/student-groups/ .

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