How to Start a Club in College: 8-Step Guide
- Starting a college club is a great way to make friends who share similar interests.
- You can develop leadership, communication, marketing, and fundraising skills.
- Following this eight-step process can get your club up and running.
- Learn about the different types of clubs and which ones may appeal to you.
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:
- Make friends and meet like-minded individuals who share similar interests
- Develop leadership skills
- Cultivate a professional network
- Improve your communication skills and your ability to engage with others
- Learn about marketing, budgeting, and time management
- Add experience to your resume
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.
- Academic Clubs: Academic clubs are usually geared toward your area of study. These may include just about any major, like accounting, history, marketing, and graphic design clubs. These organizations can bolster your professional network and connect you with leaders in your field.
- Community Service Clubs: These clubs are for students who want to make a difference in their community, in their city, or even globally. A few examples include clubs focused on environmental sustainability, ending hunger, and animal rights.
- Media and Publication Clubs: If you're an aspiring journalist, photographer, or radio broadcaster, this type of club may be for you. Media and publication clubs may give you experience publishing the campus newspaper, developing a website, or producing a campus broadcast via radio or television.
- Political and Multicultural Clubs: These clubs bring people together who have a similar background or political view. For international students, coming together with others from your area can offer a sense of home. A political club may give you the chance to connect with influencers and party leaders.
- Recreation and Sports Clubs: Sports clubs offer a great way to connect with others while engaging in activities you enjoy. You may lean toward intramural sports or find interest in more esoteric clubs, like Quidditch and parkour. Some clubs compete locally and statewide.
- Spiritual and Religious Clubs: Whatever your faith or religion, there is likely a campus club that aligns with your beliefs. Students meet for regular fellowship and support, whether Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, or another faith-based group.
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.
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