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This Week: Group Starting Edition - Starting a Group Successfully
This Week's article is going to be a quick and simple one focusing on the steps we recommend taking for a successful group starting experience. However, remember that all groups are different, and if something works for you that I don't mention or if you don't think something I said was a good idea, then don't sweat it. These are just guidelines and not rules!
First things first, you need to get a Group Starting Packet. Now, if you're receiving this email, you've most likely already done that (if you haven't, go here and request one). The GSP contains many of the essential supplies and resources needed to get your group going, like the Group Running Guide, flyers, and material explaining the SSA and our many services that are available for our groups. It's essential that once you receive your GSP that you spend a little bit of time looking over it, especially the GRG. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact one of our campus organizers.
Secondly, you'll need to do a little research and find out what your school requires from your group to become an official student organization. This can easily be accomplished by going to your university's Student Life or Activities website and looking up the requirements (or, if you can't find it, going to the office itself never hurts either). Many universities only allow official organizations to hang flyers, too. Make sure you find out your school's policies before you hang the flyers that came with your packet (the info should be available in the same place as the requirements). Some universities require their groups to have a certain number of members, certain words/phrases/sections in your constitution, or something else. If you need help accomplishing these goals or if you feel you are being obstructed from starting a group, remember we're here to help you!
Once you find out what you need to do to be official and hang your flyers it's time to, well, hang some flyers! If you have another means of communicating your presence to the campus, consider that as well. Some of our groups have successfully used their school's newspaper, chalking, websites, and many other media tools to announce their presence to their campus. The more creative, present, and memorable your advertisements are, the more likely people will come to your meetings. Be sure to monitor your SSA email forward and Facebook page (or other web presence) during this time, as people who see your flyers will be trying to get a hold of you!
Finally, there are really only two other steps to a successful group starting experience. First, once you have several interested students, we recommend having an organizational or business meeting where you can decide what your constitution should say, who your faculty adviser should be (or brainstorm some ideas about who could be one), how many officers you want, what your group's goals should be, etc. Secondly, you'll need to keep working for official recognition from your school. Once you have recognition, be sure to head to the SSA website and fill out the form for affiliation (which can be found here ). Affiliates have access to all of the SSA's resources and services. It is completely free and we don't require you or your group members to become members of the SSA (though we do recommend it).
Of course, this has been a very brief outline of the typical group starting experience. The most important things I can stress to you are to read your GRG, follow your campus' policies, and ask questions if you have them. I always notice that the groups who email me (or our other campus organizers) with questions tend to be the successful ones, so don't hesitate to. Other than that, we will see you all next week for another GSP article!