How To: Start, promote your new club

It may not be common knowledge that Carleton College is home to the Moustache Club or that the University of Minnesota encourages the classic past time of creeping with the Campus People Watchers Club. Similarly, the Dignified Educated United Crust Eaters Society, which has a thriving chapter at Western Michigan University, was noticeably absent at this year’s Club Fest. At NYU, facial hair aficionados, people-watching connoisseurs or fans of pizza crust have no formal place to gather for the purposes of sharing their grooming techniques, spying tactics or eating habits. However, there is no need to transfer to one of these universities to join such clubs. Instead, be proactive and fill the club-related void in your NYU life by starting your own.

Club applications are due in October, and while this year’s deadline has passed, you have plenty of time to plan ahead. And deciding how your first general meeting will run is not something to take lightly. If you have an idea for a new club, familiarize yourself with the New Club Development Program. Organized by the Student Activities Board, this mandatory program helps clubs through the inaugural year and includes a step-by-step process on how to be a university-recognized club.

Prospective clubs in the NCDP are expected to produce clear statements about the prospective club’s mission and uniqueness, both of which should explain the goals and objectives of the club to distinguish it from existing organizations. Throughout the school year, the SAB will monitor the club as it functions on a trial-basis. In the spring, the SAB will conduct a final evaluation to determine whether the club will become official.

While not much can be done in terms of starting a club this school year, if you have an idea to fill a gap in the current roster of clubs, start laying the groundwork to increase the club’s likelihood of becoming a fully-fledged, SAB-approved club next year. Start gathering the required 100 signatures in support of the club now to save time later. Moreover, make sure to stay in contact with the individuals who sign the petition — your club could potentially start with 100 members. Consider reserving some space around campus to host informal interest meetings. Take advantage of the many NYU-related Facebook groups to engage in some shameless self-promotion. Be interesting and capture the spirit of your club with a funny video or picture.  And if all else fails, remember if you offer food, students will come.

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— Deborah Lubanga 

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