Joining a club at your college or university is a great way to enhance your college experience. Not only will you get to meet lots of new people, but they will all already have a common interest with you. Having that commonality will make it easier to start some real friendships. Many college friendships will last long past graduation, and could in fact last a lifetime. Meeting the right people in college will also provide you with great networking opportunities that will help you immensely in your future career.
College clubs are normally centered around an interest, goal or an activity. There are clubs focused on career goals, such as a Young Entrepreneurs Club. There are also clubs focused on academic interests, such as a Programming Club or a Chemistry Club. And there are many clubs that are just focused on fun and social activities, such as an Ultimate Frisbee Club (where you could give out a really cool club-branded frisbee to all members), a Hiking Club, a Film Club, or a Baking Club.
Finding a Club to Join
Every college or university will have clubs. A large one may even have hundreds, so finding one that you like should be pretty easy.
At the beginning of the school year, there is usually a fair sponsored by the university that introduces new students to the available clubs. These fairs give you a great opportunity to get to know a lot of clubs very quickly so that you can narrow them down to your favorites. If your school doesn't host a fair, there is very likely going to be a full list of school sponsored clubs on the college's website. The list will include contact information so that you can reach out to the right person to get more information about a club.
Find out as much as you can about a club before you decide to join. Some clubs can be pretty time consuming, so you don't want to over-schedule yourself or commit to more than you can handle. There are also likely to be some expenses associated with a club, so it's best to find that out upfront and determine if it will fit in your budget.
Starting Your Own Club
What can you do if you don't find the right club for you? Consider starting your own club. If you have a particular interest that isn't currently met by any of the existing clubs, it is possible that there are other students who feel just like you do.
Before starting your club, you need to find out the requirements and regulations for forming a club that is officially sanctioned by the school. Every college or university will have an office that is in charge of setting up and maintaining clubs. You can find the contact for that office on the school's website. There may even be all the information that you need to get started right on the website as well.
Some schools will have an online registration process, but usually there will also be a requirement to have one of the officers of the club (or the person who wants to start the club) come into the office for a face-to-face meeting with a campus official. During this meeting you will be asked to verify that you are in fact a student currently enrolled at the university. There is likely to be some other requirements as well, so make sure that you find out what those are ahead of time so that you can come fully prepared for your meeting.
Typical requirements for a starting a new college club include the following:
The club will need to have a name and a specified purpose. The university will likely be very interested in the purpose in order to make sure that it is actually different from other existing clubs, and that it also doesn't violate any rules or moral standards of the university.
There is likely to be a minimum membership requirement. This makes sense; what is the point of having a club if there is no interest in the student body for it? It is a good idea to do some research ahead of time to find out if there are other students who are as interested in your club idea as you are. Talking with these students will also help you to better formulate the details of what the club will do and how it will run.
The club will need to have officers who are responsible for running it. At some point you will have to identify who these people are. Officers of the club (just like members of the club) will have to be students who are currently enrolled at the college or university.
Your particular school may have additional specific requirements. But don't be discouraged if this sounds like a lot of work. Starting your own university club will not only be a rewarding social experience, it will look excellent on a resume as a great example of leadership skills.