Other Societies

Amnesty International

Downing’s Amnesty International society organises activities within College to promote human rights worldwide, giving an opportunity for students to become aware of international issues and to gain experience of running campaigns. The core activity we run is a weekly letter-writing session when letters are sent to governments around the world, raising concerns over specific allegations of human rights in individual cases. We also run campaigns on a variety of issues, from small-arms control to violence against women. Activities range from putting-up posters and running a College stall, to spending a few hours in a real cage on public display on King’s Parade in protest at the illegal incarceration of prisoners of conscience. Everyone is very welcome to take part in this informal and friendly group – the level of involvement is up to you, and no previous experience is needed. For those with an organisational streak, there is ample opportunity for using your talent. It is fun, and most importantly, it works!


Astronomical Society

The College owns a telescope which gives superb views of the moon and the planets. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the rings of Saturn or the craters of the moon with your own eyes! No previous experience or scientific knowledge is necessary – just look through the eyepiece and be ready to be amazed. Keith sets up the telescope near the Chapel on occasional evenings when there aren’t any clouds in the way. If you’d like to receive emails letting you know when this will happen, just email Keith ([email protected]) and ask to be added to the Astronomical Society email list.

Keith Eyeons, the Chaplain (kje11)

Board Games

At Downing College Board Game Society we do basically what it says on the box: play games in a chilled environment, with some snacks! Board games is weekly, usually on a Tuesday evening in the JCR, but sometimes we have additional sessions for swaps with other colleges. We also hold special themed nights, with games sharing a theme, such as ‘Spies’ and ‘Mime’ from last year. We are also hoping to offer subsidised evenings at the Box Room Board Game Cafe just outside Downing now and again for a refreshing change of location. We have a wide array of games, including some classics like Articulate and Ticket to Ride, and others like Bohnanza, The Crew, Cascadia, and many more! We are regularly getting new games and are open to suggestions of games people would like us to purchase for the society. DCBGS is a great place to try new games and meet new people in a relaxed and fun atmosphere! For more information, contact Anna and Bethany at [email protected] and [email protected]

Cambridge Union

From Stormy Daniels to Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Cambridge Union has it all. With 70,000 life members world-wide, the Union has been defending Free Speech since 1815. My name is Rohan and I am the Downing Rep for the Union for this year. Having really enjoyed attending various Union events in my first year, I want to encourage all freshers to look closer at this excellent opportunity and become a member! By getting a lifetime membership, you are privileged to watch world-famous speakers come to the Union, hear them speak and ask them questions if you so wish. In the past year alone, I have seen Jordan Peterson, Robert de Niro, Tzipi Hotovely (Israeli Ambassador to the UK), Sebastian Vettel and Tony Adams. You are also invited to attend weekly debates every Thursday which offer a great chance for students to get involved with debating. The weekly debates are often quite fiery and involve politicians and notable persons of all political opinions. One of the other main benefits of membership is heavily discounted tickets to the Union Balls and events which occur termly. At first glance, the price of membership is a lot, but if you break it down, it is a bargain. Life-membership for freshers, if you sign-up early, was £185 last year and so will be something similar this year, with full price being £200. Over a normal 3-year course, this amounts to just £2.30 per week! There are also significant discounts for those from low-income households which are definitely worth checking out. More information about the Union can be found here: https://cus.org/ and on their social media pages. If you have any questions about joining the Union, please feel free to email me (rs2176).


Whilst perhaps not a what would usually be called a ‘society’, the chapel is the spiritual hub of the college and welcomes all, regardless of their individual beliefs. It is open for several hours a day and provides a place for quiet reflection and prayer, along with a piano which may be booked for practice at certain times. The chapel is also a focus for music in college, and is often used as a concert venue.

Chapel Choir

The Chapel Choir is a fun loving choir which sings Evensong every Sunday evening and Compline at least twice a term.

It is one of the only choirs in Cambridge entirely run by students. The choristers receive a free Formal Hall after singing Evensong. The Choir has sung in prestigious locations both in the UK and abroad, and in the summer of 2014 made a successful tour of China.

Louisa Denby (lrd23)
Chris Hamilton (ch792)

Christian Union

Downing has a very active, open and friendly Christian Union, with many talks and discussion sessions throughout the terms. Everyone is welcome. We’ll also be running a Christianity Explored discussion (with free food) for those wishing to take a questioning look at the Christian faith. Please send us an email with any questions you may have, we would love to help you get involved.

To find out more about the Christian Union at Downing visit our website.

Mark Selby (ms2094)
Lili Thomas (lt354)

Dance Society

DDaS meets on a Sunday morning and, unlike any other dance society in Cambridge, we look at a different style each lesson. We’ve done modern, Broadway, Latin, Irish, American tap and even lindyhop with the help of expert teachers from in college and around Cambridge. Classes are tailored to the students’ ability and we welcome beginners and experts in all genres to get a flavour of the astounding range of dance styles we have available – you might even want to teach! Warm ups are designed to encourage good technique, strength and flexibility, which makes brunch afterwards a little less guilty!


Downing Dramatic Society

The Downing Dramatic Society is proving to be a major player in the Cambridge dramatic scene. DDS is the home company of the beautiful Howard Theatre in which at least two plays are staged per term. The society also stages shows in different college facilities such as the Heong Gallery and the Howard Building.

Our annual calendar always includes a Fresher's Play in Lent Term, as well as the very successful Festival of New Writing. The festival showcases 9 student written plays to a panel of industry professionals. As of 2022, we have also expanded the festival to include 5 student written short films.

Contact information:

[email protected] -President, Cecilia

[email protected] Vice-President, Mark

[email protected] and [email protected] Festival of New Writing Officers, Tilly and Ajay

Poetry Society

Downing College Poetry Society aims to bring together students who are interested in reading, writing, and understanding poetry. We host pub meets where we discuss poetry on a theme and also hold bigger events, specifically speakers and discussion events with academics.

Ali Hyde (ah915)

Wine Society

We host wine tastings for our members to scintillate the palate and open the mind to the nuances of flavour! We choose the tastings to cover a variety of grapes and tastes, so sign up and discover how delectable wine can truly be! Whatever your level of experience, do come along and hear our guest speakers, it is certainly not a stuffy or serious gathering, and you will learn a lot.


Downing College Yoga is a society which allows you to escape from everyday stresses and unwind, while building up strength and improving flexibility. Weekly drop-in sessions are held with Martin Bond, who also teaches for the Cambridge University Yoga Society. The sessions cater for all levels – whether you’re a complete beginner or practice every day. The relaxed atmosphere and invigorating practice is the perfect way to end a busy day. Sessions are held in the evenings and cost £4.