Volunteering, student societies and cooperatives
Volunteering is a great way to develop your skills and can be a positive addition to your CV. With over 250 student societies at the University, students are sure to find one to develop their skills and interests, with many focusing on social responsibility and sustainability issues.
Join a student society
Students can sign up to societies at any time throughout the academic year. Below is a list of student societies focusing on social responsibility and sustainability issues:
Campaigning and social issues
- Amnesty International Society
- Economics for Change
- GirlUp Edinburgh
- Hands-On! A STEM Outreach Society
- Homelessness and Inclusion Health Society
- Mental Health and Wellbeing Society
- Model United Nations
- Multiracial and Cultural Society
- Oxfam Edinburgh Activists
- People & Planet
- PrideSoc - The Edinburgh University LGBTQ+ Society
- Slurp: Students for Action on Homelessness
- STAR (Student Action for Refugees)
Conservation, environment and nature
- Community (BEES)
- Conscious Change
- Conservation Biology Society
- Dirty Weekenders
- Fashion Society (sustainable fashion)
- Food Security and Sustainability Society
- Kings Buildings permaculture garden
- Ocean Advocates
- Ornithological Society (BirdSoc)
- Plant Society
- Sustainable Development Association
Technology, development and business
- Buchanan Institute
- Edinburgh Global Partnerships
- Engineering for Change
Make your student club or society more sustainable by following our Sustainability Awards framework
There are a number of student cooperatives, with many offering opportunities for students to get actively involved.
Shrub Swap & Reuse Hub cooperative
SHRUB Coop was registered as the UK’s first student-led community cooperative.
It is now a community-led Edinburgh cooperative working towards a world without waste. The Zero Waste Hub on Bread Street houses a vegan cafe, food sharing section and swap shop. The Wee Spoke Hub bike shop and bike repair workshop are on Guthrie Street. SHRUB run events throughout the year in their spaces, online and around the city.
SHRUB are always keen to welcome more volunteers, so check out their website for more information.
Hearty Squirrel cooperative
Hearty Squirrel is a student- and volunteer-run food cooperative at the University of Edinburgh. They strive to provide healthy, local, ethical, organic and Fairtrade food to students and staff, as well as a unique and informative experience for volunteers. Their goals also include promoting and educating on food sustainability, running food workshops, and supporting other groups.
Edinburgh student housing cooperative
Prosper is the first student-run social investment fund in the UK; founded and run entirely by students at the University of Edinburgh. All students are welcome to join, regardless of year or degree specialisation.
Real, profitable businesses working alongside vulnerable people with a variety of needs, aiming to positively impact their lives through the power of social enterprise.
2050 Climate Group
A youth-run and volunteer-led Scottish charity empowering young people to take action against the climate crisis. Through their award-winning Young Leaders Development Programme (YLDP), they equip hundreds of young people between the ages of 18 and 35 in Scotland with the skills to take action on climate change in their personal, professional and civic lives. The programme is open to all young people and is free to take part in.
The University is a supporter of the group.
If you think we missed any societies, cooperatives or other opportunities out, please send us an email to let us know.