How to Own Your Campus in One Week
One of the most difficult things about starting a new group is deciding how best to use your resources and time when you're just beginning.
The first week of school is really important because that's when many new students find the groups they want to be a part of. Activity fairs are by far the most important event in which groups participate. Activity fairs can really give your group a boost in membership and visibility. General promotion like flyering, chalking, and tabling is also important in the first week.
Almost all schools have student activity fairs during the first few weeks of the fall semester or quarter. These are extremely important. If you can get your group a table at one of these activities then absolutely do it. If you're just starting a group, you may not have tabled before, so here are some of the basics.
Before you set up a table, it's important to read through our Tabling resource. You can also see the activity packet for Student Organization Fairs for supplemental information. And remember to order your Tabling Supplies in time (free for affiliate groups!)
If your campus doesn't have an activity fair or you're too late to register, there are still tons of things you can do to utilize your first week on campus. Try to reserve space for a table in a high-traffic area of campus and do everything else suggested in the tabling resources. If you aren't sure how to do this, find the department where you got your group officially recognized and they should be able to help. This activity packet for Awareness Tabling might also be helpful.
You an also advertise on campus with flyers, chalk, and more creative methods. Make use of every avenue of advertising you have. Get a small group of friends together and hang the flyers that came with your Group Starting Packet (but make sure they're approved first). If your campus allows you to chalk, do that too! If you have a campus newspaper, research how you can get an article published.
Utilize your Facebook or website and email to get in touch with as many students and supporters as you can.The more you talk about it, the more you get your name out there, the more people you're going to reach and the more people will come to your meetings. For even more promotional ideas, see our Group Promotion and Media Relations Guide.
Don't forget to get creative and have fun. Some of our most successful groups are the ones who have been creative and quirky enough to do something unique, eye-catching, and memorable during the first week of school.
This doesn't have to be difficult or expensive (please don't get in trouble, either!). Check out the Activity Packets for things you can do that are fun and different enough to really draw attention to your group and get your name out there. Organizing some type of recruiting event is important, but remember: most organizations will be doing the same, especially religious groups, and they have a lot of experience and money behind them.
If you can figure out a way to really make your event stand out and be fun, then you'll be certain to win over a lot of support and membership for the rest of the year.
And while you're doing all of this promotion, remember to plan your first meeting well! This First Meeting resource has a lot of ideas and tips.
As always, the SSA Campus Organizing Team is here to support you! If you come up with a great idea and would like to tell us about it or need help organizing it, just let us know!