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In colleges and universities, societies are organizations founded and ran by students to practice and propagate a certain professional hobby or cause, or to promote professional development. Examples of common societies found in most universities are a debate society, a International Student Society, a rock society, and student chapters of professional societies (e.g. the American Chemical Society). Not all societies are based around such a large area of interest and many universities also find themselves home to societies for many obscure hobbies such as a Neighbours society.

Such societies have open membership, thus differing from honor societies and fraternities that admit members by invitation only. Students typically join societies at the beginning of the school year when many societies present themselves in a societies fair and campaign to attract new members. The students may pay a membership fee to the society. Since the societies are non-profit organizations this fee is often nominal and purely exists to cover insurance or to fund society events.


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