CU Students Against Pseudoscience has bold plans for 2021-22. However, we are strong believers of an informal structure where each member is given space to play to their strengths. Humanists and scientists are just as important to us. Experienced and non-experienced members are just as valuable to us. The only things we expect are commitment, openness and a willingness to learn. So please use the contact form to get in touch.
If you anticipate time to be an issue, do indicate in your application and we will accommodate you. We appreciate that term-time is busy and many of us have a range of commitments and interests. If you are excited by our work, do not let this deter you, we remain keen to hear from you.
There are a range of operational and executive roles available. There are no general committee roles, but if you want to focus your efforts or expertise on a specific aspect of our work do indicate in the special interests section – you may be assigned a working group if there is sufficient interest!
You get to invite interesting speakers to speak to us! Perhaps the author of a book you read or a journalist whose work you enjoyed, or someone you know who may have had a valuable experience to share. Examples of past talks can be found here (not all speakers have agreed to be recorded).
You are responsible for taking initiative in communicating with these speakers and identifying their needs. You are also the person who would introduce the society, run the Q&A and interview or chair discussions or panel events when appropriate.
If you have a few names in mind already or already a strong idea of what speakers/panels you’d like to see, this is absolutely for you.
Sponsorships, Partnerships & Networking Officer(s)
At Cambridge we have a number of academics from a range of departments with their research focus on issues we are interested in. We have had some lovely speakers with us from the past, as well as interested parties getting in touch from time to time. There are also a whole network of scicomm/debunking/skeptical organisations and social media accounts with a lot of potential we would like to tap into. A big part of our work is building bridges and facilitating multidisciplinary action to this issue of our time.
In this role you would work with the VP(E) to reach out and respond to any contacts of interest. You would share/retweet any relevant articles, infographics, initiatives, events and memes.
If you already follow some of these accounts or people, or if you have followed research or news in this area, or if anything I’ve said here excites you in any way, apply now.
Workshops, Training & Curriculum Officer(s)
A couple of other societies have got in touch with the idea of developing workshops or training sessions on issues such as: approaching vaccine hesitancy/climate change denial; media literacy; misrepresentation of statistics, risk and uncertainty; how to engage friends and family who may be vulnerable to misinformation.
We had also thought of discussion groups on issues such as what kind of punishment, if any, would be an effective and justifiable measure against the spread of pseudoscience; or what role social media plays. Other thoughts may be working groups to identify what can be done within Cambridge to make change in this aspect. Some of this content can be incorporated into the curriculum for certain subjects.
Either experience designing workshops/training/working groups or knowledge in any area you would like to design an exciting training session on would be lovely to see.
Your sole job is to make sure as many people who may be interested in our events get to hear about our events. Reach as many people as possible by any means necessary. If term cards ever return as a thing, you make those. You look out for potential co-hosts and media opportunities. You run the Facebook events and you upload the YouTube recordings afterwards. Theoretically, you’d also take photos at our events.
We may want to install a subject rep system, and if we do, you would be in charge of this network.
Being a BNOC helps. If you live all day on Camfess or Instagram anyway that is also beneficial. Charisma and good writing skills are important. Graphic design experience or a desire to learn would be desirable, but not strictly necessary.
Social Media Content Officer(s)
This is separate to publicity because this is about infographics and informative social media posts. The way we go about this can be discussed: you may pick a theme for the term, and you make a load of infographics for it, or there we may share something we have learnt in the past week on a regular basis! These can be concepts, statistics, books, quotes, memes. You work closely with the content-producing members of the society. You can also work with societies with shared interests.
IT Officer / Webmaster
The IT Officer plans, designs and ensures the smooth running of the website to reflect the values, aims and activities of the society. You also look after any virtual hosting platforms, recordings and transcripts for speaker events. You may wish to develop a platform through which our membership base may form a community (such as Discord). Or maybe you’d like to develop a podcast, or a project that disrupts existing content farms/harmful campaigns. There is a lot of room should you like to take this role further, and we’d be happy to hear your thoughts.
Experience with WordPress or Wix is desirable but not necessary. If you can make websites from scratch, welcome aboard.
The Editor engages potential writers and commissions articles or content. You have full discretion on the amount and nature of resources Students Against Pseudoscience wants to provide on its website. We can even run an annual essay competition! This is a role with significant freedom.
There will be no general committee members. If you are passionate about an aspect of our work you can register your interest in one or more of our relevant areas and join us in a capacity more focused towards these areas:
- Public Health (Vaccine Hesitancy, Alternative Medicine, Fad Diets, Homeopathy, COVID Denial)
- Environmental Concerns (Climate Change Denial, Manipulation of Climate-Related Statistics)
- Technological Policy (Social Media Regulation, YouTube, Data Science, Content Farms)
- Human Rights (Academic Freedom, Scientific Racism & Misogyny)
- Psychology (Conspiracy, Superstition, Choice, Uncertainty & Risk)
- Mechanism of Active Disinformation (Motives/Causes, Quasi-legitimacy, Political/Religious/Corporate/Populist Interests)
- History and Philosophy of Science (Epistemology, What is Pseudoscience, Ethics of Mandatory Action etc)
- Education (Media/Scientific/Technological Literacy, Manipulation of Statistics, Logical Fallacies)
- Communication (Scientists/Professionals/Experts in Media, Engaging Communities, Argumentation Techniques, Podcasts and Infographics, Doctor-Patient Relationship)
- The Overt Fight (Campaigns, Community Education, Inoculation Techniques, Counselling)
- The Covert Fight (Peer Workshops, Network Building, Curriculum Additions)
The President(s) are responsible for leadership, management and setting the vision for the society. You oversee all activities of the society, chair meetings and delegate tasks. You also coordinate recruitment, handover and liaison with external organisations and other universities. The President(s) are public faces of the society.
The position can be run for as a pair. At least one person per candidacy is expected to have been committee members in the past, and must demonstrate leadership, strategy and networking skills, as well as knowledge and/or passion for the cause.
The VP(I) looks after the infrastructure of the society, provides continuous support to all members of the committee, and ensures the smooth running of all activities targeted within the Cambridge community.
This includes taking a lead on Freshers’ Fair (2022) and memberships, amending our constitution, managing our relationships with other Cambridge societies, and working closely with the Secretary, Treasurer, Speakers’, Training, IT & Publicity Officers.
Being approachable and accountable is a must. Organisational skills and an affinity to constitutions and administrative tasks is a plus.
The VP(E) oversees all activities affecting the society’s integrity, image and reach. You lead the society’s efforts in advocacy and education, including social media, infographics, blogs, workshops, campaigns, curriculum change, stash and the society website. Together with various other roles, the VP(E) maintains the society’s connections and allies.
Passion for the cause and leadership skills are very important. Charisma and experience driving change are highly desired. Graphics, social media or website experience will be very helpful.
The Secretary manages meetings, drives productivity and works closely with the VP(I). You keep records on the society’s decisions and activities (such as minutes from meetings), look after the society’s mailing lists, Google Drive and communication channels. The secretary also books event spaces and authors emails to the membership.
The Secretary is a perfect role for someone who would like to be part of the senior team (perhaps a leadership position in the following years) but would like to gain some experience first. Apart from motivation, no prerequisites are expected.
The Treasurer ensures that the accounts of the society are in order. You run our bank account and keep track of our expenses. You also send emails to potential sponsors and negotiate with them on behalf of the society.
If you enjoy being creative when finding opportunities, and are comfortable with sending some emails to people you may not know, this role is for you. Budget management experience is helpful but not crucial.