Be Involved – Clubs & Societies

Expand your interests and connect with others.

Being part of our college community is just as much about acquiring new knowledge and skills as it is meeting like-minded people and enjoying an inspiring and creative social experience. That’s why we run a variety of extracurricular clubs and societies to help you engage with people, interests and issues you care about.

Our Students’ Union (SU) is your chance to ‘Be Involved’ and help shape how the College is run for the benefit of you and your fellow students. You will automatically become a member of the SU when you enrol, however it is your choice how much involvement you would like to have in SU activities.

Head over to our Students’ Union page to find out more.

HSDC Alton Theatre Company

The HSDC Alton Theatre Company has a long history of highly successful productions to its name. It is an opportunity to work as a performer, a designer, props, stage manager, etc. If you thrive on being part of a highly committed and dedicated creative team, then this could be for you. You will be expected to attend additional rehearsals in order to achieve the high production values the company has set for itself over the years.

An ‘open’ audition is held at the start of the autumn term for students wishing to perform in the set production at the end of December. However, students wishing to be involved in other aspects of the production process (design and stage management), are invited to step forward to keep up the company’s strong reputation for high quality productions.

Big Band

We explore the contemporary big band repertoire. Rehearsals take place in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

Most wind and brass instruments are welcome, together with drummers, bass players, guitarists and keyboardists/pianists.

The Big Band plays a number of gigs throughout the academic year. As well as playing in the usual end of term concert, recently they have played at the Swanage Jazz Festival, the Hawkley Beer Festival and a number of local Jazz Cafés. In the summer, together with the Alton Campus Jazz Band, they tour a number of pub gardens in the surrounding area!

Chamber Orchestra

This ensemble is for all string players, together with assorted wind, brass and percussion players. Rehearsals take place in an informal and relaxed atmosphere, preparing music for a number of concerts throughout the year. During the first term, we will play as an orchestra. During the spring term, there will be opportunities to divide into smaller ensembles, such as a string group and a wind ensemble, in order to explore different repertoire.


Choral Society / Rock Choir / Chamber Choir / Barbershop

A fun ensemble offering the opportunity to perform large choral works, with an orchestra, at least twice a year. All are welcome, whatever your voice. Recently the choir sang Bob Chilcott’s A Little Jazz Mass with an ensemble and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in Winchester Cathedral.

During the first term, you will be part of a full SATB choir. In the second term, we will divide into different ensembles such as Chamber Choir, Barbershop and Rock Choir. Every year, early in the summer term, members of the choir take part in the College’s annual ‘Sing it from Scratch’ event.

The Alternative – Campus Magazine

The Alternative is our student online magazine, where students can share their work and opinions with the local community.

Calling all budding journalists, business brains, designers and creative bods! If you are interested in publishing either from a creative writing perspective or you just want to learn the basics, then our student magazine needs your contribution.

Students interview and video what’s happening around campus and have their own voice on the student-created, vibrant website.

Composers Ensemble

The Composers Ensemble focuses on the performance of student compositions. Recently, student compositions by Richard Hames, Hannah Dilkes and Alex Ling featured in the ensemble’s repertoire. Richard is now studying composition at the Royal Academy of Music, whilst Alex & Hannah are studying composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. In 2011/12 Richard was composer in residence for the National Youth Orchestra and Hannah won the BBC Proms Young Composer competition. Any composers in the ensemble will work towards an RSL Level 3 Music Practitioner Composers Extended Certificate.

Creative Writing Group

Weekly lunchtime workshops for those who enjoy writing creatively. Students are encouraged to develop and shape their skills to write poetry, short stories and non-fiction texts. Additionally, students can enter competitions, participate in poetry slams or simply share their work with each other.

Jazz Band

The HSDC Alton Jazz Band is an anarchic collective that performs a wide range of ‘in yer face music from jazz standards. This includes the music of Armstrong and Ellington, a good dollop of Charles Mingus, to the more modern works of Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis and Kenny Wheeler. This is topped off with a big helping of world music. The HSDC Alton Jazz Band plays a large number of concerts each year. In recent years it has given a short concert tour of France and performed in front of 1000 people at the Birmingham International Conference Centre. Additionally, the band is regularly invited to perform at the Farnham Festival and Swanage Jazz Festival. Most instruments are welcome. An ability to improvise would help but it is not a requirement.

HSDC Alton is very proud of its Jazz Band – an institution!

Life Drawing

An opportunity for students to work directly from the life model. You will work with a wide range of materials including charcoal, ink, paint and mixed media. It would be particularly helpful for Art and Design students wishing to pursue the subject further at Foundation and Degree level.

Live Music Performance

During the first year, students will rehearse and perform a diverse repertoire of songs. In previous years this has included material from Santana, Audioslave, Muse, The Zutons, James Brown, and Paramore amongst others. These will then be performed at concerts and open mic nights throughout the year. During the second year, students are formed into bands and work towards Oakfest, a performance at the end of the course. This then leads to certification with a RSL Level 3 Rock Award for Music Practitioners.

The workshops really help A Level & BTEC Music Tech students who are required to record songs as part of their coursework. They help improve students’ listening skills, as well as giving them plenty of high quality material to record! These workshops also give the rock based A Level Music students an opportunity to prepare for recital performances. Additionally, at the end of the course, you come out with an extra qualification – the RSL Level 3 Rock Certificate for Music Practitioners.

Two bands, formed especially as part of Live Music Performance; Inside Indigo and Time Will Tell, won through to the national final of Music for Youth. Both bands played at the HMV Institute in Birmingham.

Music Theory Grade V and Grade VIII

Students wanting to take A Level Music are required to have grade five theory. If you wish to take a graded exam, above grade 5, then the Associated Board require you to pass grade 5 theory.

To quote a past student:

Grade V Music Theory has greatly helped me in understanding aspects of A Level Music. I am now studying for my Grade VIII Music Theory which will hopefully help me in gaining a place at university, as it scores extra UCAS points. Music Theory has also helped with aspects of my Music Technology coursework, enabling me to write more advanced harmonies in my composition using technology.”

Bar Mock Trial

Bar Mock Trial involves participants working in teams to prepare prosecution and defence cases in response to fictitious criminal scenarios provided by the Citizenship Foundation.

Students will play the parts of jurors, witnesses, prosecution and defence lawyers in a real life enactment. The Bar Mock Trial takes place at a local Crown Court in a national competition judged by real lawyers or judges. The teams will compete against other colleges in the country, presenting either the case for the prosecution or the case for the defence.

A fascinating course for budding lawyers or anyone who enjoys debating.

Christian Union

The HSDC Alton Christian Union is a student-led group for anyone with an interest in the Christian faith. We meet regularly and spend time getting to know and encourage each other.

Song & Dance

Love singing and dancing? Here’s your opportunity to get involved in performing and producing our annual variety show. Previous themes include ‘A Night at the Movies’ and ‘Best of British’.

Gender and Sexuality Alliance

Everyone is welcome. Our aim is to create a safe and friendly College environment for all, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning or straight. We meet up every week and often join up with other local College and Uni GSA groups. Of course, we respect privacy and everything said in the group, stays in the group!


Whilst prioritising your studies is vital to success at College, improving your skills in other areas is also important for your progression into work and Higher Education.

Alton Campus works with Community First East Hampshire (CFEH) to support you with finding suitable placements. The College then works with the International Lions Club for accreditation of the hours that students put in. At the Freshers’ Fair, you will find staff available to take your contact details and talk to you about opportunities. After this, you will find our CFEH representative in the Student Hub once a week.

Drop by and see what placements we can advise and support you with.

Combined Cadet Force

Our Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is so successful that we extend this exciting programme to all of our students, no matter what they are studying.

Adventurous activities include:

  • Fieldcraft
  • Expedition training
  • Shooting
  • Sports

As a cadet, you will improve your general fitness and wellbeing, as well as build strong friendships. You will also be given the opportunity to work towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and gain nationally-recognised qualifications in first aid, leadership, management and outdoor pursuits. Click here to read more about our Combined Cadet Force

Debating Society

If you want to participate in lively discussions on contemporary issues, then The Debating Society presents the ideal opportunity.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Develop work-ready skills and build your CV with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Working towards your Bronze, Silver or Gold Award is a chance to get involved in voluntary work, be part of a team and help develop your organisational skills – all excellent preparation for university and beyond. You find out more on our DofE page.

Equality & Diversity Society (including LGBT and Gender Equality)

This group meets regularly to discuss issues such as sexuality, gender identity, gender equality and inequality, enabling you to explore this central theme in society.

Esports – South Downs Storm

Try out for the team or just have fun with other gamers.

Evolve Enterprise Society

Evolve is a student-led enterprise society. With support from lecturers, students organise inspirational events and networking opportunities for their peers. Past events have included a motivational talk, Dragon’s Den workshops and a trip to the Sky Academy Careers Lab in London. Evolve is ideal for any student wanting to explore their ideas or make business connections with people inside and outside of the College.

Geography Society

You can join our Geography Society for weekly meetings where you will discover more about prominent issues and discuss them in detail.

Politics Society

Like the Debating Society, the Politics Society invites you to discover more about contemporary issues and become involved in the cut-and-thrust of debate.

The Christian Union

Whether you’re a practising Christian or not, this club welcomes you to come and share your thoughts on religious and moral issues.

Some other clubs and societies include:

  • Economics Society
  • Entrepreneurship Enrichment for Business
  • Extra English
  • Film Club for French, Spanish & German
  • Equality & Diversity Society


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