Kicking off our first thread here for all the awesome student societies interested in what Sphere is doing and collaborating on growing together
My colleagues (eg @ausrine, @Joanna, @Alec and @Lily) and I have chatted to a lot of you on the phone or over email this year, but we’re now starting to really build out this community and want to bring everyone together on this forum and in our events.
The first question I’d probably ask is how has the year been for everyone? What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced (eg people not engaging online, growing membership, moderation etc)?
Aušrinė and I are planning to host a workshop session specifically for people in student societies around these topics in the next few weeks, so we’ll share more info soon and hopefully we can all discuss more in person too
I’m Jethro - after a year studying Music at Durham Uni, I’m now taking Neuroscience at the University of Sussex. I do a bit of writing on the side, but most of my spare time recently has been spent building up the student Discord Community - it’s been a real help for students (especially first years) stuck in their rooms getting increasingly bored and lonely.
I’ve enjoyed seeing how student communities interact so differently between the two unis I’ve attended, in particular how dependent the whole system is on effective communication and an active student body. I started a group called InterSoc last year to help societies communicate with one another and facilitate co-hosted events - it came about following a strong sentiment of discontent with the Students Union (hey ho, students love complaining!), caused by those interested in student democracy being caught in a filter bubble, and therefore only appealing to a limited array of students.
We’ve found that Discord is a great hub for communities to form and network with one another without obstacles, while its anonymity makes it an outlet for frustration. I’ve got a great team of altruist polymaths with me, and we aim to take more functions of the Union into student hands over time, where it’s much easier for a meritocracy to emerge!
It looks like Sphere has a lot of the features I like about Discord, minus the anonymity and desktop app (I skimmed this discussion and am still digesting all the features available here). Once I’m used to the UI I think I’m gonna like it here
I’m looking forward to hearing what it’s been like for other student communities over covid-times, and I’m excited for the Kick-off tomorrow
That’s so great of you. I feel like any efforts to reduce people’s loneliness this year are incredibly noble.
This is awesome and fascinating! We don’t talk about it often, but a big part of Sphere’s plan is to enable communities to intermingle in the future on our platform.
We’re big believers in communities having diverse perspectives but shared purposes (eg collective safety or deeper understanding of an issue). Our ultimate goal is to unite people and communities who are seemingly at odds at times (eg those on opposing political sides).
Would love to talk more with you in the future about all this and see what your experience of filter bubbles has been!
What if we could create a platform where everyone felt comfortable being themselves, expressing themselves authentically, even when frustrated, without fear of judgement? That’s a big part of my dream for Sphere
Wow! We literally have “polymathy” as one of our original company values I love what you say about performing more of the functions of the SU.
We’re big believers that the only way to (a) truly scale any organisation effectively and (b) make sure people enjoy working in it is to empower everyone to participate as much as they’d like to.
Looking forward to the event tomorrow and hope we can have some follow-up convos too, Jethro!
PS: Have you come across the books Humankind or the Tyranny of Merit? Both fascinating and have a lot to say on how we can create a better society