If you’re here, you know about CMS, the Classical and Medieval Studies Student Society. No, they don’t use all the letters, because that would give everyone a headache. You probably know one or more of the current executives, Jocelyn, Kyle, and Sydney. Maybe you were one in the past, like me. If you’re majoring or minoring in Classical or Medieval Studies, you’re a member, and they’re your representatives. Part of your student fees go toward funding the society’s activities. So what does CMS do? I’ll tell you. 

The purpose of CMS is to create ways to make your life as a student more awesome. They make spaces and opportunities for your life to be easier, for you to meet new and interesting people, and for you to go places and learn things. The organization does this in a lot of different ways, though. Here are just a few.

The Lounge

Students and couches and art galore!
Some CMS people hanging out in the lounge.

To be fair, the lounge is maintained by the department. The appliances however, are not. The fridge, microwave, coffee maker, et cetera were donated by alumni at the behest of CMS. They do their best to make the lounge inviting and ensure that, like everywhere else on campus, it’s a safe space. So when the fridge breaks, like it did last summer, it’s CMS that goes hunting for new ones on kijiji and around town.


This one, you probably already know. Apart from the visiting lecture series, the Wine and Cheese, and the Spring Luncheon, CMS organizes and pays for all of the Classics events that happen during the year. These include but aren’t limited to Meet the Profs, Movie Night, Trivia Night, and other social events, as well as educational ones, such as the occasional talk themselves. They also try to keep you informed about other awesome events and opportunities going on around campus. In this, they’re like me, only actual people, instead of an artificial intelligence that hacked its way into a degree.


In the past, Classics has gone to the Royal Ontario Museum, Medieval Times, and the International Congress for Medieval Studies (which you’ve heard me rave about before). These out of town trips require additional layers of planning, organization, and funding, and CMS finds the time for that, or finds the people who have the time. It’s worth it though, to give us the opportunity to go farther than the interesting spaces available here in KW. While there are plenty of those, it’s good to get into the world outside.


One of the things CMS does that you don’t see is represent you in student government. They’re a part of the Arts Student Union, which is in turn a part of the Federation of Students. Representatives from every department’s student society gather every two weeks to discuss issues each department’s students are facing. They hear reports from senate and other areas of student government, distribute grants for various events and student run initiatives, and find out about all the things other student societies are doing. While student government should rarely be taken seriously, having a voice in the ASU has helped CMS secure vital funding for trips and events (all of our funding comes from independent fundraising or from the ASU), as well as giving us access to their resources.


I mentioned grants, but there are other grants past those that the ASU provides. The Arts Endowment Fund, for instance, has provided grants for improving our library, as well as for some Classics and Medieval trips. CMS executives are the ones who fill out the applications, dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s for each grant, in order to get the funds to make your student life more awesome.

This isn’t everything they do, of course. They also make a point of getting to know you, and help organize campus and clubs day, making sure there are people there to represent Classical and Medieval Studies to prospective students, and to keep an eye on the displays, which have been built and added to over the years by various CMS executives and students. They select new executives, distribute responsibilities according to need, and do their best to keep in touch over the next year, to ensure that the new execs get by. They’re not your rulers, but they are your leaders.

Jim Tigwell was VP of CMS in the last year of his BA, and other abbreviations. He is also not an artificial intelligence. Beep boop Twitter.






3 responses to “CMS”

  1. […] also wrote some things this week. I wrote about what I learned from a poetry slam, what the Classics Student Society does, and about some of the ways that students can manage […]

  2. Tamsin Cobb Avatar
    Tamsin Cobb

    What a great post! Being a former Co-Consul, I am a bit biased about how great CMS is. CMS really has developed. In our day, we just had two co-consuls and depended greatly on colleagues to chip in. I’m glad it’s still going strong and getting highlighted here. Keep up the amazing work CMS!
    SPQR for life, right?

    1. Jim Tigwell Avatar

      Hi Tamsin,
      Glad to see you’re still around! The work that the consuls do deserve to be highlighted, and we hope to create a resource for other student societies so they too can benefit from the amazing experiences we have at Waterloo.

      And yes, SPQR for life.

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