Chapter Building Strategy: Establishing a Permanent Presence on Campus

Official School Recognition

Registering your YAL group as an official organization with your school can provide numerous resources to reach out to your student body.  You will likely need official recognition from your school in order to table, petition, protest, obtain a campus mailbox, and hold meetings on university property.  Additionally, your school may provide funding to student organizations.

Most schools have standard procedures and paperwork which you must complete in order to bring a new organization onto campus.

In most cases, you can find your school’s requirements online through its activities and involvement center’s website — your school may use another name for a similar department to facilitate and manage campus organizations.

The process to start a new organization undoubtedly varies by school, but here are some common requirements you should plan to complete.

Chapter Constitution

Schools sometimes require new clubs to create a constitution to guarantee it follows campus policies.  Online examples are usually available which specify requirements.  If not, you can find a sample constitution here.

As your chapter structure evolves, be sure to update your chapter constitution accordingly.  To an extent, this will help transfer the structure and organization of your YAL chapter from one group of leaders to the next, so it’s important you don’t ignore this responsibility.

Faculty Advisor

In some cases you only need an advisor to be a co-signatory to the club’s spending, and in other cases their advice and familiarity with the university may be very helpful.

If you are required to have an advisor, here are some places to start looking:

Graduate Students

If your school allows, look first to a graduate student to serve as your chapter’s advisor.  Since YAL members range in age from 15 to 39, a graduate student is ideally positioned to operate as both an advisor and a member.

Professors

Ask a professor with whom you have a prior relationship or does research in an area on libertarian politics, the Constitution, or free markets to serve as an advisor. You will be likely to find a professor with interest in the liberty movement in the following departments: business, economics, history, political science, or philosophy.

YAL National

If you have trouble locating an advisor on your campus, YAL’s National Field Director may be able to help find one for you: contact@yaliberty.org

Student Government Meetings

Schools commonly require representatives of school clubs to attend student government meetings.  Make sure someone in your chapter acts as a student government liaison.

While these meetings may seem long and burdensome, it’s essential for your chapter to make a positive impression.  In many cases, these individuals can ensure your club receives funding for important events and appropriate access to school resources.

If possible, a member from your chapter should run for office.

Campus Mailbox

Your university likely provides its student organizations with access to a university mailing address and campus mailbox.

Make use of this, if possible, to ensure that mail to your organization is not sent to individual students whose addresses may change from year to year and as they graduate.  This will establish a lasting presence for your chapter and add credibility (this will aid your fundraising efforts down the road, too).

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