Paul Furey visited OUCA and the Student Greens so you don’t have to

There are over 400 clubs and societies at this university. How can you possibly be expected to pay a visit to them all in the limited free time your degree spares you? Freight not! I’m here to spend my evenings off touring as many of Oxford’s societies as I can, and give you the honest rundown. So whether you’re trying find the hottest new networking opportunity or which club is most generous with the free booze, allow me to test the waters, so you don’t have to.

The societies with the good sense to hold social events on the first two days of term turned out to be the Oxford University Conservative Association and Oxford Student Greens. This, I hoped, would allow one to get an early grip on the full political spectrum of students, and potentially bump into a future prime minister or two.

OUCA has possibly had the biggest revamp of any student society over the summer. Their termcard is now headlined by Liz Truss and Jeremy Hunt, plus what seems to be most of the Tory backbenchers.

Port and Policy is their Sunday social and their first this term was held in St Giles’ Church Hall. £14 earns non-members unlimited port for the evening (£9 if you happen to be a member) and the opportunity to participate in debate on three motions.

The three motions being considered were this house is fiscally conservative, this house would take the helm, and this house would smoke . 

All arguments put forward took an unorthodox approach to logic. “This house should not just take the helm of the ship, or the country, but of the whole world”, declared one port-wielding speaker.

“This house would smoke because smoking is cool,” decried another.

Franek Bednarski, the Acting President, said of P&P, “where else would you find such a collection of Marxists and strong conservatives and have the finest debates fueled by plenty of port”?

Leo Buckley, another OUCA member, quipped, “It doesn’t matter how bad the company is if you don’t remember it in the morning”.

Port and Policy boasts of being Oxford’s largest weekly political social event. I counted 80 attendees, each donning their lounge suits and dresses. Not meeting the dress code is unlikely to get you removed, but I was reminded by a former OUCA president that my suit, “made me look poor”.

Nature and Negronis is the Student Greens’ chosen alliterative social event. It is held on the Mondays of odd weeks in Magdalen’s Oscar Wilde Room. Entry is £6 (£4 if you bring a reusable cup).

N&N provides a calm and cosy environment to to discuss all things environmentalism, with a healthy supply of vodka, gin and mixers. Amongst the topics in their first of term were proportional representation and cutting down on eating meat. 

The Student Greens are not affiliated with the Green Party and accept views warmly which don’t fall in line with official party policy. Pragmatism when it comes to tactical voting and nuclear energy were key talking points around this.

Mor Stinchcombe, Chair of the Student Greens, commented, “we are a left-wing space that isn’t the Labour Club. We run a more discussion based method of being political. Reasoned points are preferred over grandstanding. We want to find the best for people who live on this earth”.

This really shone through in the conversations taking place and showed promise and ambition for a society holding their first social event ever.