How to Start a Club in College: 8-Step Guide

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How to Start a Club in College: 8-Step Guide
portrait of Marisa Upson
by Marisa Upson
Published on November 3, 2021


Joining a club in college can be a great way to get involved on campus, meet people, explore different interests, and learn about group dynamics. It can also be fun and help reduce the stress of late study nights and heavy academic workloads.

But what if you've attended the club fair and looked through the official directory and nothing piques your interest? Every organization started with someone who saw a need and filled it by creating their own club.

Why Should You Start Your Own Club in College?

Starting your club can be one of the main highlights when you look back on your college experience. In some ways, it's a little like starting a business. It involves finding mentors, registering your organization, building a budget, fundraising, and recruiting members.

You start with an idea and then, through planning and research, take the necessary steps to make it happen. In the process, you may also learn a little bit more about yourself, your strengths, and your ability to take one action at a time until you reach your goal.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of starting a club:

What Types of College Clubs Are There?

There are many kinds of student clubs you can create in college. Here are some of the most popular types.

The 8 Steps to Starting a Club in College

Fortunately, many students have gone before you and started a college club. This means there's a solid blueprint in place to get your club successfully up and running. Here are eight important steps to follow.

1. Define the Purpose of Your Club

First, you'll need to decide what you want your club to focus on. Is there something you're truly passionate about that would fit into a club format? Are you rejuvenated by swing dancing or eager to help kids in need of mentors? You're only limited by your imagination and establishing the need for your club.

Once you have an idea in place, outline the club's mission statement, scope, and objectives. This includes what your group is working toward and your club's intended influence on students.

2. Start Recruiting and Assessing Your Peers' Interest Level

Talk to friends and peers about your club and assess their interest level. Schools usually require a minimum number of interested students. These members will also fill positions like club president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.

It's important that your core officers strengthen the team and that you can trust them to fulfill their responsibilities. You can recruit initial members through word of mouth and social media.

3. Find a Staff Advisor

A staff advisor is required to help oversee your organization, offer helpful advice, and ensure your club is aligned with its original goals and intentions. Advisors may be instructors, administrators, or other college staff members.

Consider staff currently involved in your area of interest. For example, if you're starting a digital film club, think about asking an instructor that works in the entertainment and art department. If you're uncertain who to ask, check with the student life coordinator — they may have suggestions.

4. Complete a Registration Form

Now it's time to make your club official by registering it with the school. Many schools have an online form, while others ask students to turn the registration form into the student life office. You'll need to include the name of your officers and advisor.

Becoming an official student organization by registering your club will usually give you access to college resources, such as funding, a free website, a mailing address, and rooms and equipment.

5. Write a Constitution for Your Club

Some schools require a copy of your constitution and bylaws when you register, while others let you draft one after your club has been approved. In essence, the constitution details your mission statement, the organization's structure, and your club's governing rules.

Your bylaws cover specific operating procedures, like membership, dues, and duties of officers. If you're not clear on how to proceed, meet with your student life coordinator or staff advisor.

6. Complete the Anti-Hazing Agreement

Hazing occurs when someone is initiated into a club in a manner that endangers their physical and/or mental health. This may be anything from forced alcohol intake to sleep deprivation or extended isolation. An anti-hazing agreement states a college's definition of hazing and notes that any type of hazing may be punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.

Officers, advisors, and all members must sign the anti-hazing agreement. Unfortunately, college hazing continues across the country, resulting in injury and sometimes death.

7. Attend Training With Club Officers

The club's officers will likely need to go through some formal training before you can start holding meetings and advertising on campus. Workshops should provide instructions detailing what is expected and the responsibilities of each role.

For example, the treasurer may learn how to develop a budget. Additionally, the secretary may gain knowledge about creating an agenda, typing up the meeting's main points, and organizing and distributing information within the club.

8. Hold Your First Meeting and Spread the Word

Now that your club is up and running, it's time to hold your first meeting! Think about ways to make this meeting an experience that attendees will want to share with their friends. Most members join clubs to meet others, so consider starting with an ice breaker.

With the first meeting under your belt, you'll gain confidence, which can help you feel motivated to get the word out. You can raise awareness about your group through social media and by posting flyers. Remember, it takes time to build a club. Start with a solid base and grow from there.


Featured Image: franckreporter / E+ / Getty Images

Learn from three college environmental clubs about the steps eco-conscious students can take to fight climate change and encourage a greener college campus. Study groups can help college students thrive academically. Learn what makes for a successful study group and how to form a group that's right for you. Want to get involved in college, but don't know where to start? Discover five ways to participate in student life on campus.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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