In our previous post, we began talking about how to start your own student organization by looking at how to attract and retain members and how to come up with a mission statement to solidify your organization. Now that you know how to get started, we will look at how to establish your organization as credible in your university and in the surrounding community. Although there are many ways to do this, there are two main avenues that I urge you to explore when starting an organizations: faculty involvement and local-business endorsement.
Faculty Involvement is crucial to establishing your fledgling organization as credible. The reason for this is simple: university faculty is already established as an integral part of the educational community and having one or two faculty members involved in your organization extends that legitimacy to what you’re trying to accomplish with your group. How do you go about getting faculty involved? Really, it’s not too difficult. Just ask. If there is a professor that you take class with that you feel would be beneficial to your cause, schedule a time to meet with him or her and clearly lay out your organization’s purpose and goals. Invite him or her to a meeting to see what the dynamic of a group is. If the first faculty member you speak to is too busy to be involved, ask another. Chances are, you can find a professor that has some interest in your organization of you look.
Scope out your local business owners and meet with the owners to explain what you are trying to accomplish in your organization. Don’t just pick any business; do your research and find a business or businesses whose values align with those of your group. For instance, if your organization is about feeding the hungry, meet with a local restaurant owner and see if they would like to help out in some way. Once again, the key here is persistence. If one business is unwilling to help, another might be. Gaining local support in your community will not only help your organization survive, it will also help its success.
Starting your own organization can take some time, but in the end it is worth it. Not only will you be able to say you started something that will exist past your time as a student, you will also be able to say you made a difference!