How to start ONE Campus chapter in just 4 weeks

This is a guest blog post by Taylor Thompson, ONE Campus Leader of UNL. 

Are you starting (or thinking about starting) a ONE chapter on your campus? Congratulations! It’s hard but fun work, and I bet you didn’t know that you can actually do it in just four weeks. Here are the steps I followed to create ONE at UNL.

Week 1:

Learn. Being knowledgeable about ONE is imperative in starting a ONE chapter. Talk to ONE Campus staff, spend time on the ONE and ONE Campus websites, and social media platforms. Once you have done your research, perfect your 30-second pitch about ONE, so that you’re comfortable explaining it to others.

Become official. Your first step will be to find out what your school requires in order to start an official student organization. Most college campuses have a student involvement office filled with people whose job is to help students get organizations started on campus. There, you can fill out the paperwork to become a recognized organization. The process of becoming an official student organization varies from school to school, but it’s important that you work with the student activities staff on campus to get the ball rolling right away.

Week 2:

Pool your resources. Start creating your ONE chapter by utilizing all of the resources at your disposal.  Talk to your professors and deans about what you’re trying to do, and see if they can help. After all, they’re very well connected and chances are, they will be very supportive. They might be able to spread the word about your club in their classes or connect you with students who would likely be interested in joining your chapter.

Two other great resources are the ONE Campus staff and the ONE Campus website. The Campus staff is there to help you and your ONE chapter succeed. And the www.one.org/campus website has resource documents showing you how to do everything from “HOW TO: Get Started” to “HOW TO: Recruit members” successfully.

Week 3:

Recruit. One of the most effective ways I was able to reach out to interested students was through tabling in our student union and speaking to classes. I set a few dates and times to have a booth set up with ONE gear and a signup sheet, and immediately added new email addresses to my contact list. I also emailed academic departments to see if there were classes that I could talk to about ONE. I put together a 5-minute presentation with the chapter’s email address up on the board and received tons of interest!

In addition to this, be sure to take advantage of all media outlets available to you. Social media sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are great and free ways to reach out to your members and advertise what your chapter is doing. If your school has their own radio station, newspaper, newsletter, online blog or message board, contact those in charge and tell them about the super awesome campus organization you are starting! More times than not, they will contact you back and be glad to feature your organization and efforts.

Hold your first informational meeting. During the first couple of weeks, I set up a few informational meetings at different times where I gave a small presentation about ONE and was able to hold one-on-ones with interested students. One-on-ones are individual meeting where you can identify the person’s passions, goals, level of interest and dedication to the cause. This will also help you identify potential leaders to be a part of your group’s Executive Board. Follow up with those who seem most dedicated and establish your Executive Board.

Week 4:

Set Goals. Now that you have some people to help you, it’s time to work together to set your goals for your chapter!  I suggest setting goals by semester. Make sure your goals are specific and measurable. Here are some examples:

- How many active members do you want to have?
– How many Twitter, Vine, Instagram followers, and how many Facebook likes do you want by a certain date?
– How many calls/letters/tweets are you going to make to Congress?
– What ranking do you want to end with in the ONE Campus Challenge?
– What events do you want to host? What are your specific objectives for that event?

I used a binder to record our ONE chapter’s goals, record student/faculty contacts, store a calendar of our club’s plans for the semester, and keep track of any other helpful resources. I highly recommend this as a way to stay organized!

Be Patient. Most importantly, be patient. At this point, you are sending out a plethora of information to people. Remember to be patient and consistent with your efforts, students will show interest.

When you become official you can start holding regular meetings. Make your goals happen!

Visit the ONE Campus website for more resources.