An interview with Head of Sen Club and Speaker Events Sarah Xingyuan Wang, by Aleksandra Furmanek
Left to right: Aleksandra Furmanek (BSc Economics, Year 2) and Sarah Xingyuan Wang (BSc Economics, Year 2)
What is Sen Club?
Sen Club is part of the LSESU Economics Society (Econ Soc)and takes place every Tuesday evening (usually from 6.30pm to 7.30pm). We bring together enthusiastic students and economists by holding weekly talks to discuss a range of economics subjects. The talks include a 40-minute speech and 20-minute Q&A for students to interact directly with the speaker.
Where does the name of the Club come from?
It is named after Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. Professor Sen travels to London yearly and has a relaxed chat with Sen Club members face-to-face.
As an Economics Society member, do I need to pay extra to attend Sen Club?
Absolutely no need! Sen Club is FREE!
Why did you decide to get involved in Sen Club and what did you learn from the experience?
I was a sub-committee member at Sen Club in first year. To me, the group of friends I went to Sen Club with regularly and ate pizzas with during the talk felt like family. At the end of first year, I decided I want to run Sen Club.
I have had the chance to practice event planning and communication skills. More importantly, a discovery of my favourite economics topics such as Economics of Gender, Happiness and Development Economics.
How do you choose your speakers?
For Michaelmas term, speakers are chosen based on a range of preferences including the economists I personally would love to talk to, those recommended by my academic mentor, as well as my friends’ favourite economists. Being able to interact directly with economists I look up to is also a big driver for me to run Sen Club.
For Lent term, in addition to the above, Sen Club sub-committee members will be involved in planning. In the meantime, we try to let our members vote the most popular topics out of a range of those provided by specific speakers.
Is it difficult to invite a speaker over? What is their usual reaction to invitations?
Yes and no. Most of the invitations I sent got a reply quite promptly, however, understandably some of them were simply too busy to take on additional commitments.
All of those who kindly agreed to speak were very excited about interacting with LSE students. For those who rejected the invitation, they would either ask me to arrange another date that works better for them, or suggest an alternative speaker (usually a close friend of theirs) to present.
What is especially important to you when you organise Sen Club talks?
Diversity of speakers. It has been widely observed that women are under-represented in Economics (University of Warwick holds annually Women in Economics Workshops with students from all across the UK!).
Another element is diversity of topics - labour, gender, development, public, field studies, economic history and contemporary importance etc.
Last but not least, if towards the end of Lent term we are lucky enough to bring Sen Club back offline, I will make sure there are enough vegetarian pizzas, drinks and snacks for everyone!
How have you adopted Sen Club for the duration of the pandemic?
All Michaelmas term talks have been moved online and recorded for those who can’t attend hope to catch up after the talk. During the pandemic, speakers don’t have to travel to campus anymore, so we try to reach out to economists from all around the world to present. As mentioned above, if regulations allow, we hope to invite speakers to London and arrange small-size in-person chats.
What are the next talks of Sen Club going to be and what do I have to do to attend?
Earlier this term we hosted Oliver Hart, Paul Milgrom and Fabrizio Zilibotti, for the rest of the term, we will continue delivering weekly talks for interested students. We are honoured to be hosting three more Nobel winners - Peter Diamond, Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson. Joshua Angrist will join us for an exciting talk on introduction to Econometrics as well!
Towards the end of the term, Martina Zanella and Michelle Rao from our very own Department of Economics will join!
Our interactivity differentiates us from other academic talks, stay tuned to our Facebook page updates and register!