RGU has many student societies, including academic ones, that will help you make some friends with people on your course and gain additional knowledge of your field. Jack Murphy shares more about the Pharmacy Society and his time as President.
Can you tell us more about the history of the Pharmacy Society?
We were originally running the RGU Pharmacy committee, which had been going on for many years. Then, two years ago, we formed as an official society as part of RGU:Union. Prior to that, we were always pretty much working the same way, but now we have the support of the Union.
We’ve done quite well in our first year as we won Society of the Year. And then this year at the Student Achievement Awards Ball, we won Academic Society of the Year as well as Society of the Year! Many of our committee members also won individual awards.
What is the purpose of the Pharmacy Society?
The purpose of the Pharmacy Society is to enhance the student experience of all the Pharmacy students at RGU. We’re currently the largest society at RGU, which is something we’re very proud of. We’re here to facilitate social interactions as well by organising events.
Additionally, the committee aims to represent the views of all the Pharmacy students. We have regular meetings with academic staff at RGU and often give feedback to lecturers.
We currently have 231 members. The society is open to everyone, but the vast majority of members are Pharmacy students. This makes sense as our events are mostly geared towards people on the course.
What kind of social and academic events do you organise?
Our adoption night is usually our first event of the year, which is for everyone on the course. During this event, first-year students are being welcomed into the Pharmacy family. This has been an ongoing tradition for the past 10 years I think. It’s good to have that carried on as it creates long-lasting friendships. I’m still friends with the fourth-years that had adopted me in first year! It’s nice to have that connection so that you can ask them for help if you need any.
Apart from that, we do course nights-out, usually themed ones, such as pub golf or carnival themed. The adoption night is always a white tee shirt night, so that other students can write on it. We try to make every social event different so that people keep enjoying them. On top of that, we also do events for each specific year group to help students integrate with people in their class.
We’ve also been doing academic events to support the development of the curriculum at RGU. Our aim is to supplement what’s being taught in the course with additional educational materials and events.
We have a mix of workshops and talks under our brand “Pharmacy in Spotlight:LIVE”. They only started last year and they were done online because of Covid. We had guest speakers coming in from loads of different health boards across Scotland. This year, as restrictions were eased and on-campus activities were allowed again, we managed to do one in person. It was a training workshop. Guest speakers came in and talked to us about drug misuse and support.
In another workshop, over 75 Pharmacy students were trained in the administration of Naloxone, a drug used to treat opioid overdoses. Next year, we are hoping to do more in person training and workshops of the kind.
Why did you join the society and how was your experience as President?
I had seen some of the social events that were being organised by the RGU Pharmacy committee and I thought I would like to get involved. I went up for election and I was lucky enough to be voted in!
Being part of the committee gives you some perks such as a clubbing card, but the best thing is the opportunity to meet other people from different years. Having a strong support system like this one is really good. I would highly encourage any student pharmacist to get involved.
I’ve really enjoyed being President this year. It’s been great to meet other people and have that opportunity to lead a great team. We’ve also had our efforts recognised this year, and I personally won the Scottish Pharmacy Student Leadership Award! These are two achievements I am really proud of. Even though it’s been challenging at times with Covid, I really enjoyed organising events and staying busy.
Academically, it’s helped greatly. I’ve been put in the position to meet qualified pharmacists who are now a friendly face that I can recognise when I go out into practice. Personally, the people within the committee that became my friends have been amazing and I don’t think I would have achieved as much without them.
What is your favourite memory of your time as part of the Pharmacy Society?
My favourite memory has to either be one of the adoption nights, the Pharmacy ball at the P&J Live, or the Student Achievement Awards. There are so many good memories that I can’t choose!
We had our Pharmacy Ball at the P&J Live in February, before things started to kick-off in March with all the hand-ins. I hosted the event, which is why it is such a precious memory to me. There were around 250 people there. On the night, we did a charity raffle to support the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), and raised quite a lot of money. We had a good Ceilidh dance as well as a three-course meal and a drinks reception.
The Student Achievement Awards were also great as it was the culmination of all our efforts. I attended the event along with the president for next year, this year’s secretary and this year’s academic lead. We all won individual awards as well as accepted awards on behalf of the society.
How do you imagine the future of the society?
This is my last year, but it’s been a great society to have been part of. It’s great for the social interactions and I think the only way is up. We’ve got a great committee in for next year so I have high hopes for them. I’m sure they will do amazing. It would be great to see more in-person events, which I hope will be easier to organise.
I hope that Pharmacy students will continue to get involved. By being part of the society, you strengthen and develop new friendships personally and professionally. This has been such a big part of my university experience and it’s the same for other members. It’s a really good stress-reliever and gives you a support network that the society fosters!
You can join the society online at RGU:Union.