Student Clubs Officers Handbook

Welcome to the Student Clubs Officers' Handbook. This Handbook aims to provide you with good practice advice to use within your club.


Photo credit: Jan Duba



Running a student club can sometimes be a daunting task. Suddenly you have the responsibility for a gaggle of keen and often inexperienced climbers and walkers, and they’re looking to you to lead the way. How do you manage their enjoyment whilst keeping them safe?

Once the hard bits are done though, being an officer of a student club is one of the most rewarding jobs around. This aim of this guide is to hopefully make your lives a little bit easier.

We’ve collected ideas from other students who’ve been in your position and brought together lots of resources that cover the issues student climbing and hillwalking clubs regularly face. It should act as your quick reference to all the help and support that’s out there so you can spend more of your time out in the mountains.



What is the BMC? [below]

Student Club Renewals

Skills Resources

Trip Planning

Club Equipment

Risk, Responsibility, Insurance, Incidents

Representing your Club [below]

Contacts [below]

Useful Links [below]


What is the BMC?

The British Mountaineering Council is the national representative body that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, including ski-mountaineers. Currently with over 85,000 members, including more than 26,000 members of 280+ affiliated clubs like yours.

The BMC carries out a diverse range of work on behalf of its members, most importantly working to maintain access to hills and crags all over the country and promoting their conservation through the Access & Conservation Trust. Safety is encouraged by providing a range of literature, films, workshops & lectures to help members develop their skills and its technical committee advises on equipment safety and contribute to international standards.

On top of supporting all this great work, your members can access a range of benefits ( These include discounts with our partners Cotswold, Snow + Rock and Montane, access to BMC Travel Insurance and discounts in the BMC Online Shop.  Your members also receive one copy of Summit, the BMC Members’ magazine, per year plus they can access all 4 quarterly issues with the Summit app. More info here:

As an affiliated student club, you’re part of a community of almost 60 clubs attached to universities and colleges all over England and Wales. On top of all the standard member benefits, your club can access a wealth of knowledge and advice from clubs reps, BMC staff and officers of other university clubs to help your clubs get out in the hills. This advice ranges from training and skill development, through recruitment to linking to other clubs and accessing funding.


Representing your Club

There are many different areas of the BMC that represent and support your club and its members. We’re a member-led organisation, and there’s loads of ways you can get involved.

BMC Clubs’ Committee

The BMC Clubs Committee (Clubs Comm) is one of several specialist committees within the BMC.  Clubs Comm is tasked with supporting those clubs affiliated to the BMC by providing improved communication channels between the BMC centrally and the clubs. Activities include championing the cause of clubs at National Council and Board level, the provision of the annual Clubs Seminar, regular mailings to clubs (from the Clubs Comm reps), and the student-focused support detailed below.

Student Panel
The Student Panel is a small group of current student club officers from a variety of different university mountaineering/climbing/walking clubs, who link up online to discuss all things relating to student clubs.  The aim is to help the Clubs Comm reps identify issues affecting student clubs, gather the views of student clubs and to help shape the support the BMC gives its student clubs, this guide being an example of ideas that come to life!  We will periodically need new volunteers to get involved to make sure we’ve got current students on board, so if you’re interested in helping out, get in touch with the Clubs Comm reps.            

Student Clubs on Facebook
From 2018, BMC Student Clubs now have their own Facebook page!  It will be a place for things directly relevant to student club members, including skills/courses relevant to relatively novice walkers & climbers.  More importantly, we want it to be a place to better promote clubs, so if your club’s up to something interesting, send us a story as we want to share it.

Attached to the page is the Student Clubs Officers Group.  This is a place for those running student clubs to network, ask advice from other clubs, share best practice, coordinate events or flag issues for the BMC’s attention.  Make sure you add all of your committees!

BMC Local Areas
Local areas are where a lot of the BMC’s work on the ground gets done. All BMC members are welcome to attend the meetings in your local area, where there’s opportunities to discuss local access issues and to help influence decisions and policy in the local area and on national issues. Details of the different areas and their upcoming meetings can be found on the dedicated BMC local areas site 




Hopefully this guide has been a useful starting point and given you loads of things to think about. Remember, if you’ve got any questions or issues, we’re here to support you, so please get in touch! Here’s a list of friendly people you can contact.

Mike Spooner & Lizzie Porter
BMC Clubs’ Committee Student Reps

Mike has been a BMC Student Rep for the last 4 years. He's finally no longer a student, having clocked up over 8 years with Southampton Uni MC, including a couple of shifts as president and doing other committee and SU jobs along the way.

Lizzie is a current student at Imperial College London. She was introduced to climbing 4 years ago by the University of London Mountaineering Club and has been on their committee ever since. During this time she also volunteered as a student clubs representative with the University of London Union and has been actively involved in a number of other student climbing clubs.
Mike & Lizzie sit on the BMC Clubs’ Committee. Their job is to represent the interests of student clubs on the committee and help communicate the work the BMC does to student members. They also lead the work of the Student Panel, to shape the support the BMC gives to its student clubs. So if there's any issues you think we should be talking about, thoughts on what the BMC could do better or problems that you need some help with and are not sure who to ask, then get in touch!


Jane Thompson
Clubs, Huts & Volunteers Officer
07885 910606

Jane is the full-time Clubs, Huts & Volulnteers Officer at the BMC. Her role is to support clubs whether it is by training members and training club officers, advising on recruiting members, developing meets programmes, accessing funding, or providing governance advice, health and safety advice, and insurance guidance, and much more.

Having worked in sports development since graduating many years ago, been a member of the committee of her mountaineering club and been active in the outdoors since childhood she has lots of experience and knowledge to draw upon. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


James McHaffie
Youth & Equity Officer
07885 910603

James is the Youth & Equity Officer for the BMC.  He oversees the outdoor courses run in partnership with the AMI, organises youth climbing weekends, he organised the student seminar for the last 3 years and is Secretary for the Equity Steering Group, which advises the BMC on matters of equality and diversity.

He also does the odd bit of rock climbing guiding and has worked on a good deal of Mountain Leader Training and Assessment courses.


Membership Services Team
0161 455 6111

As a BMC affiliated club you need to register all of your members with the BMC. This is a simple process as it can all be done online via Membership Services Online (MSO).  MSO is a tool for clubs that makes registering your members and updating their details really easy.  The club can identify more than one person to have access to the data, which can be especially useful for clubs that, for example, need the membership secretary (to input member details), someone from the SU or AU (for payments), plus the communications officer (to access email addresses) all to be able to access the database.

Once all members are registered the members and the club will benefit from the combined liability insurance and the other member benefits.  If you have any questions about registration then contact the Membership Services Team.


Useful Links & Further Information

BMC Student Clubs on Facebook

BMC Student Clubs Officers Group

Club Guidelines

BMC Publication Downloads

Regional Access Database


BMC Shop

BMC Insurance Centre

« Back

Print this article

This article has been read 883 times

Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £16.97.
Read more »
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »