There’s no better way to get involved and meet new friends on campus than joining a club. But what if there aren’t any that you want to join? Our suggestion: start one!
Simply step up and pick your passion; Do you enjoy art? Debate? Dance? Grab an idea and run with it. Don’t simply accept the fact that there are no clubs on campus that interest you; you have the power to make a true and lasting impression at your school.
Why start a club?
Starting a club is a great way to spend your time while adding value to your school. If you are wondering why you should make your club official (as opposed to a few stragglers gathering in pajamas once a week in the common room), you should know that once your group is registered and acknowledged, it opens up the door for resources that otherwise would not be available to you.
Stacy Kraus, associate director of programming of fraternity/sorority life at the University of Pennsylvania (www.upenn.edu), works directly with the social fraternities and sororities on campus. She explains that any student or group wishing to start an organization on campus would go through her office, the Office of Student Affairs.
By working directly with these accredited clubs, her office is able to be very hands on. “They help students thinking about recruitment and offer aid with how to do outreach on campus. They also provide space to meet, either through utilizing their office or reserving space in other campus buildings.”
Where to begin
Much like the University of Pennsylvania, your school will likely have a department (or something similar) that can provide you with a list of current functioning clubs and will help you gauge what organization is (or is not) worth starting. Make sure your idea for a club does not already exist and has enough demand to gain validity.
Once your club begins to gain some momentum (and members), it wouldn’t hurt to talk to a professor that you can relate to and is willing to offer guidance with your new venture. In some cases, an advisor may even be mandatory. Your school will likely want to know how your club will benefit others, including students, faculty, staff and the entire college community.
Be clear and organized
If you have a clear and relatable plan for operation, then there should be no reason your idea for a club will be turned down. Make sure you complete the necessary forms and/or curriculum that your school requires for
Remember, as a general rule of thumb, each school’s set of rules and/or process for starting a club will vary. Once you have spoken to “the powers that be” at your school, you will know with certainty what will be expected from you and what you can expect from them.
Most likely, your idea for starting a group — barring anything outlandish — can be seen through to fruition and is actually a very attainable goal. While it will take some effort on your part to get this group up and running, you will benefit greatly from the sense of pride and enjoyment your group will bring.
Kraus says, “co-curricular involvement helps a student gain a greater sense of self, practice real world skills in leadership, mentoring and directing peers, and can help make a campus feel like a smaller place.”
Wherever your passion may lead you, make sure it’s down a path where you can continue to better yourself. Take advantage of the opportunities that lie before you. This is the time to strive; make the most out of your life, your college and your club.
Jessica Shoemaker is a freelance writer in Rochester, New York.