During winter semester, 91 student academic societies were registered at BYU-Idaho. Societies at BYU-I include the German Society, the Jazz Society, the Philosophical Society and the newly formed Songwriting Society.
Guy Hollingsworth, associate academic vice president of Student Connections, is the director of societies at BYU-I.
Hollingsworth said societies help complete experiential learning along with practicums and internships.
“It allows you to take what you’re learning and apply it somewhere else in a legitimate way,” Hollingsworth said.
Hollingsworth said opportunities in societies prepare students to do something bigger with their lives. One example he gave was a request he received from a member of BYU-I’s Psychology Society.
“I got a request from a student in the Psychology Society that wants to attend a conference called the Association for Psychological Science in Chicago,” Hollingsworth said. “She requested some additional funding to help her get there to present her poster project on the effects of facial cues in understanding people speaking a language with an accent.”
Devin Cobia, a senior studying accounting, is the president of BYU-I’s Accounting Society. Cobia said he was involved in a project through his society’s service committee that led him to become a member of the board of directors for a non-profit organization. The organization is a music box museum in Rigby, Idaho. The museum had Cobia and others in the society help with bookkeeping.
Hollingsworth said the level of involvement varies with each society.
“I think that’s one of the nice things about a society is you can decide where you need to be on that scale of involvement depending on whatever your situation is,” Hollingsworth said.
Olivia Harker, Hollingsworth’s administrative assistant, said another benefit of being in a society is the sport and guidance of the faculty advisors. Each society requires at least one designated faculty member associated with that society’s field.
Harker said that because these faculty members are experts in their fields and have worked outside of BYU-I, they can help students get an idea of where they want to go and how to get there.
Hollingsworth added that in a society, students are able to interact with faculty in an informal setting, which gives students the opportunity to ask personal questions.
“There’s such a limited time in class and you’re trying to cover so much information that often you don’t have that chance to be a little bit informal,” Hollingsworth said.
Harker and Hollingsworth said students can work with the academic office to start their own society but should first check the societies page on the BYU-I website.
The societies page can be reached by going to www2.byui.edu/Societies/AlphaList.htm.