8 Steps to Starting a Successful Student Club on Your Campus

Starting a club for students is a great way to provide a special place for students to belong and to encourage them to build relationships with their peers. Here are eight tips to help you start a student club.

  1. Talk to students about their interests. This will help you decide what kind of club to lead. If a lot of students are talking about how they love to play chess, maybe chess is the club you need to start.
  2. Advertise your club in a creative manner. Invite a few students who have shown interest to help you create posters, make announcements, and write emails to students AND parents. Also, communicate daily to your students that you are starting the club and personally invite them to join.
  3. Provide snacks for students who show up on the first day. To encourage students to attend the first meeting, offer popcorn and juice drinks (or another snack) to all students who show up. It is probably not a good idea to publicly announce that you will be offering food and drinks, or you might have every student in the school. Announce it a bit more casually, but to almost every student that you see in a day. Trust me, the word will spread.
  4. Define the club’s purpose and goals. It would be very easy to just start the club, have the kids attend, and “wing” it. The club will be much more purposeful if you actually gather the students who are interested and collaboratively develop the club’s purpose and goals. The students will take ownership of the club if they have helped develop its backbone.
  5. Communicate regularly with parents and students. Over the years, I’ve found communication to be one of the best tools for a successful club. Reach out to parents! Send a “special” invite out to their child. Send a “Save the Date” or a creative and fun email promoting the club.
  6. Develop a meeting schedule. Another key ingredient to success is to have a regular days and times to meet every week. If the dates change often, students will not know when to plan on attending. If they know the club meets every Monday from 4-5 p.m., it will be on their weekly radar.
  7. Assign duties. This is important even if you are just hosting a chess club or something similar. Have a voting process in place to name a president or possibly a fun leader name such as “Chief Chess Guy.”
  8. Plan events. For example, contact the local senior citizens’ home and arrange your chess students to come once a month to their location so that your students can enjoy the company of the senior citizens. The seniors will get a lot out of this, but your students will get even more! If that doesn’t work out, be creative and plan a different event.

Making sure students feel valued and cared for is the key factor in building a successful club. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed—just jump in! The most important thing is helping student build relationships.

Carrie Becker is a middle school technology education teacher and yearbook adviser in Lewisville ISD, where she has worked for 18 years. In addition to being named Teacher of the Year for her campus this year, she was honored as ATPE’s Secondary Educator of the Year in July 2016.

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