By Sam Young
In addition to earning a degree, college is an adventurous time where students can expand their horizons and acquire new skills, interests, and hobbies. One great avenue for doing this is joining a club. However, maybe you see an interest on campus that is not included among our vast majority of clubs. So, filled with ambition and enthusiasm, you decide you want to start a club to change that…. only you just don’t know where to start. If that’s the case, then look no further. Here is a guide that will go over the basics of starting and running a club at the Mount:
- Survey The Interest. To make your club official, it’s important to prove that there’s a genuine interest from the student body for what you’re proposing. The Student Activities office usually requires at least 3 other students willing to serve as club officers, at least 10 additional students interested in the club, and a faculty adviser. Once you have found enough students and a faculty member willing to support your idea, collect their names, student ID numbers, and emails, because you’ll need them for the next step.
- Fill Out The Paperwork. It’s time to head to the student activities office, and with the information you’ve already collected, your visit should be quite productive. They will likely provide you with a blank club recognition form. To complete it, you will need to meet with your new officers to discuss important details about the club’s functionality. There, you will need to decide on a day, time, and place for your club to meet, submit a club roster (the names, ID’s and emails you collected), and draft a club mission statement and constitution. The mission statement is simply a brief description of what your club does, while the club constitution details the functions, election processes, and impeachment processes (if needed) of your club’s officers, as well as any rules for your club and how they will be upheld. Once all of your officers have signed off on the form, and the Student Activities office reviews and approves your club request, it’s finally time to run your new club, but to ensure it remains a club, you need to build it up.
- Build Your Membership and Budget. Building a consistent membership and ensuring you’re granted an adequate budget are key to sustaining your new club. Build social media accounts, take pictures at events, attend club fairs, and make recruitment posters (must be approved to display) to promote your new club. To build your budget, the Student Activities office has a tiered budget system that awards points to clubs based on varying levels of performance. The more points your club earns, the higher the tier your club is placed in, and the larger your budget becomes. While the ways to earn points changes from year to year, promotional methods such as club fairs and tabling, collaboration and communication with other clubs and organizations, and event hosting have consistently awarded points. Event planning can be overwhelming at first, but the student activities office holds a seminar every semester that details –among other things- how to request use of your budget, reserve and set-up a room, and order or pick-up supplies.
Once you’ve gotten this far, you’ve officially cemented your club’s presence on campus. Take a moment to realize that you may have been the unknowing facilitator of numerous friendships, new-found passions, and countless hours spent enjoying what you have created. Be proud. It may very well live long after you graduate.