Have you ever thought about starting a club at your university? The sky’s the limit on potential here, since you could feasibly start a club based around anything, from a noble political cause to a fun video game you happen to enjoy. But if you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t have the time, leadership skills, or charisma to start a club, you might be unwilling to take action.
Fortunately, starting a club is much easier than most people think—and the benefits can pay dividends for years to come.
Why Start a Club?
First, you might need a little more motivation. Why would you start a club in the first place?
There are several potential benefits to keep in mind here:
- Sharing (and engaging with) your passion. Think of a topic you’re passionate about. Finding new people to share this passion with, and engaging with that passion regularly can be a massive boost to your mood and self-esteem. You’ll spread the word about one of your favorite books, causes, or hobbies, and you’ll have more time to spend actively thinking about it or practicing it.
- Socializing and meeting new people. One of the most important purposes of any club is to allow people to meet one another and socialize. Even if your club starts as a group of strangers coming together because of a shared interest, in the span of just a few meetings, you’ll start to build bonds and become familiar with one another as individuals.
- Looking good on a resume. Explaining that you started and led a new club can also look good on a resume, demonstrating your leadership experience. Because more and more people are graduating from college these days, it’s important to have a few bullet points that can distinguish you from other graduates.
How to Start a Club
Though every college will have different requirements and processes for starting a club, most of them will allow you to follow this basic formula:
- Consider the possibilities. Brainstorm some of the ideas you have for a club, and don’t write any off yet. Think about what you’d be most excited to share with other people, and which topics have most influenced you in your life. The longer this list is, the better—you can always narrow it down later.
- Look at clubs that already exist. Next, find a list of the clubs and organizations that already exist at your university, and cross-reference them with the list you generated. Chances are, some of these topics already exist as clubs—and ones that you can join as a member. Of those that remain, consider which topics would be most attractive to new members, and gradually narrow them down until you have a clear favorite remaining.
- Make a pitch to an administrator. Once you have a solid idea that isn’t yet a club, prepare a pitch to an administrator capable of helping you start a new club. Depending on your university requirements, you may need to submit a formal application, or you may need to have a few members already in place. Be sure to consult with a counselor or administrator beforehand, so you have all the right details in place. When you pitch, be sure to emphasize how this will benefit the campus.
- Print up some flyers. If you find an inexpensive online printer, you can print up hundreds (or even thousands) of flyers for your club for a trivial amount of money. And if you have backing from an administrator, you can use their money to do it. Leave flyers wherever you can—on bulletin boards, in classrooms, and in common areas—and make sure they’re both eye-catching and effective at explaining what the club will actually be doing.
- Build excitement. Once you start holding meetings, it’s important to build interest and excitement in your club. You can attend related club meetings and cross-pollinate to entice new members to join your club, or talk to professors who teach topics related to yours—most professors would be happy to pitch your club during class if it’s something they’re personally interested in. The key to getting your club off the ground is finding many outlets for attracting new people.
- Welcome new people. Speaking of new people, make sure you make them feel welcomed and valued. If your club is a tight-knit clique that turns a cold shoulder to new people, it’s quickly going to collapse as an organization. Instead, meet and greet new members with enthusiasm, and be patient if they’re unfamiliar with the topic you’ve chosen.
Your club might not grow to be one of the most popular ones on campus, but it has the potential to drastically improve your life, even if you only attract a few members. It might take a few hours of your time to get started, but the time and costs are lower than most new students anticipate. Think carefully about what you’d like to share with other people, then create an action plan to make it happen.