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No Ordinary Society: Promoting Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education

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No Ordinary Society (NOS) was established in 2015 by Student Services at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, to create more opportunities for disabled students to get more involved in the social side of university.

Following its successful launch, the society expanded to welcome students from all backgrounds, offering a friendly, non-judgmental environment to relax and socialise with others with similar interests away from the stresses of university life.

Despite its name, NOS runs both social and sport activities. In previous years, the society has worked closely with Sport St Mary’s to provide weekly sport sessions with a range of sport and adaptive sport available including sitting Volleyball, Polybat and Boccia. The sport sessions also allow members to channel their creativity by inventing games. Past favourites include ‘Shuffle Ball’ and ‘Claim That Bin’.

NOS prides itself with offering socials that are an alternative to the socials organised other societies and sports clubs. The socials offer a relaxed environment with no pressure to drink. Past favourites include the Lego social, movie nights, board game nights and quiz night: 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

In 2018 NOS partnered with Brunel University and organised the first friendly wheelchair basketball game at the West London Varsity. The game brought together students from across the university demonstrating the need for competitive adaptive sport clubs at university.

NOS is a student-focused society run by a committee of students. When asked why No Ordinary Society is Important for Students, the 2019/20 president Daniella Ballard said, “I joined the society in my first year and immediately felt accepted. My disability wasn’t viewed as an issue but rather a positive, which is why No Ordinary is so significant – because it is a space where students are able to be themselves.

"The socials are the perfect place to relax from the day and connect with other members of the St Mary’s Community. The sport sessions are a great way to keep active and have fun, and for some students (myself included) it may be their first positive experience of group/team sport, while also opening a world of adaptive sports that students may not have heard of before coming to university.”.

To find out more about No Ordinary Society and the other societies at St Mary’s, check out the Student Union website.

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