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.


Find out about volunteering at the University

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:

Dirty Weekenders working on conservation
Dirty Weekenders working on conservation

Campaigning and social issues

Conservation, environment and nature

Technology, development and business

View all student societies

Make your student club or society more sustainable by following our Sustainability Awards framework

Student cooperatives

There are a number of student cooperatives, with many offering opportunities for students to get actively involved.

Looking through rails at Shrub Coop swap shop
SHRUB Coop swap shop

SHRUB 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.

Shrub website

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.

Hearty Squirrel website

Edinburgh student housing cooperative

Edinburgh student housing cooperative 

Other opportunities


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.

Prosper website

Enactus Edinburgh

Real, profitable businesses working alongside vulnerable people with a variety of needs, aiming to positively impact their lives through the power of social enterprise.

Enactus Edinburgh website

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.

2050 Group website

Contact us

If you think we missed any societies, cooperatives or other opportunities out, please send us an email to let us know.

General enquiries

  • Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Contact details



Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability
The Boilerhouse
High School Yards

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