You Can Start Your Own Club in College
You don’t need to read a blog to know how important it is to get involved on campus. Joining clubs and participating in activities is a great way to make friends and enjoy your college years! But what if you want to do something other than Intramurals, Band, SGA, Science Club…… What if you are passionate about something, but a club doesn’t exist for that? Simple: make your own club!
It seems daunting to make your own club, buts it’s a very rewarding experience. Not to mention you are automatically the President (better than the President- the Founder!) and it’s amazing to see your club grow even after you graduate! You also meet people who have the same interests as you. Starting your own club is actually a lot easier once you break down the steps:
- Discuss the purpose of your club. Will it be focused on spreading awareness or education, or will you want to emphasize service and community engagement? For example, I created a club focused on animal welfare. We do various activities ranging from holding fundraisers to donate proceeds to local animal rescues to volunteering at animal shelters. At our meets we discuss the details of these engagements as well as additional ways members can improve the lives of animals (i.e. signing petitions, animal activist groups, etc.).
- Talk to your Student Engagement Office. This is the office that oversees all the organizations on campus. There is someone there whose job it is to help students get clubs started. Schedule an appointment with that individual so you can talk about the general idea of the club. After they know about your club, they can approve it. (Usually the one reason why they would NOT approve a club is if there is one similar that already exists, or if it seems to be in conflict with university standards.) After your club is approved, discuss what is required to be official. Not all clubs need to be officiated, but it’s a lot more beneficial if they are since you can be eligible for university funding, as well as be featured on campus bulletins. Usually, to be official, the club has to establish a constitution, bylaws, and rules of procedure. There are templates for this so don’t worry!
- Advertise your club to the student body. How is anyone supposed to join your club if they don’t know about it? Getting the word out is tricky and successful procedures vary by universities and their students. I personally don’t think you can go wrong with social media, it seems like virtually every student uses it these days. Therefore, post basic club details on social media outlets, such as the university’s Facebook page and in online bulletins. If there’s a school newspaper, advertise there as well! Most schools have New Student Festivals for freshmen at the beginning of semester, which are tables where organizations can set up and promote themselves. This is a great way to get email addresses of interested students so that you can follow up with information at a later time. Reach out to clubs at are already established. For example, do a little slideshow before Student Government Association meets. Wherever you choose to promote make sure you have a few essential pieces of information: 1.) Purpose of the club (like what #1 covers) 2.) Date, Time, and Location of meetings 3.) Time Commitment/Requirements (if any).
- Time for your first meeting! Your first meeting is very important! *No pressure* but this is where students will decide whether they want to come back and become active members or pass. First meetings should not be used to jump right into activities. I encourage you to discuss the vital information of the club, purpose, and plans for the semester, as well as get input from the students who are there. Allow time for a Q &A session toward the end. If there are requirements that need to be met (such as GPA or active member points) then be sure to cover those, as well as benefits of being in the club (such as fulfills scholarship service hours, great resume additional, professional development, etc.)
- Elect an Executive Board. You cannot run the whole thing on your own. There are many ways that students can apply for your executive board. Either you can create an application, or they can do speeches. Either way, I would have the general body vote, but YOU have the final say. Its your organization, and it wouldn’t be right if a poor candidate is made Vice President just because they ran for homecoming king last year. It’s great to hear out your general body, but remember that you’re the president and you still have final say. After your Executive Board is selected, make sure one student is a secretary and types minutes for the meeting.
- Have an information hub, online. Most clubs I am in still use Facebook because it’s basic and something everyone knows how to use. Post the meeting minutes on there so students who couldn’t attend can still get the information. Also, utilize your hub/Facebook page to post pictures of meetings and events, it’s like self-made publicity. This way, prospective members can see what you’re all about.
- Create After-Action Reports. It seems tedious and redundant to write down things that already happened, but this is the only way your club will continue to grow and succeed even after you graduate. After each event/activity, write down things that went well and things that did not. Have your executive board chime in too, to get a well rounded view of things. Store these in a file on a hard drive or as hardcopies in a folder so that executive members in the future can build off of your successes and improve on things that could have gone better.
Wash, Rinse, and Repeat. Follow these steps each semester (or year, as applicable) for best results in starting your club! Remember, starting your own club in college is a very memorable experience, not to mention you grow professionally and employers love unique leaderships skills such as starting your own organization. You get to share your passion with your peers and find other students on campus who share the same interests as you.
Jessica is a dedicated student at Missouri State University. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, emphasis in Advertising and Promotion. After graduation, she plans to continue her education and earn a MBA in International Management. Jessica likes to get involved, and have leadership roles, in several organizations on campus. She is the VP of Publicity for the Student Activities Council, and VP of Social Events in National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She also is involved in Student Government Association, Phi Eta Sigma, Centennial Leaders, and was selected to be a part of the University’s Globalization Special Task Force. When Jessica is not busy with her academics and school involvements, she enjoys being outdoors, and spending time with her family.