On most college campuses, a student organization fair is held at the beginning of each semester. While this provides an opportunity for your group to focus on recruitment, sometimes these events are held in a venue or in an environment that makes it difficult to stand out in a sea of other organizations.
In order to compete for the interests of hundreds or even thousands of students, you must draw attention to your table. There are a few ways in which you can do this.
Tip: Use a large poster that features an eye-catching image or idea. Bonus points if you can use an image that will be well received by a majority of students on your campus.
Example: YAL at UW-Madison frequently uses a giant marijuana leaf poster during student organization fairs. This draws attention towards our table in a way that lightens the mood (some college students still giggle over weed), interests more people, and serves as a quick example of YAL’s philosophy and mission to help guide our conversations with interested students.
Tip: Fill your table with as much colorful literature and as many freebies as possible.
Example: At UW-Madison, the student organization fair is so large that we have to share a table with another organization. To combat the limited space at this semester’s fair, we filled our end of the table with various pieces of literature, stickers, and accessories that filled the entire space and was eye-catching to those walking by. The volume of material and the way in which it was laid out helped us stand out over the groups around us.
Example: Though we were confined to a small space and a shared table at UW-Madison, we were able to improvise. We extended the length of our table using the suitcase that held our tabling materials. By taping one end of the banner to the suitcase and unfolding it enough so that it was readable to those passing by, we were able to clearly identify who we were without encroaching on the space of the other organization at our table.
Tip: Sport a smile and be extremely outgoing so that you can pull people from the crowd towards your table.
Example: This photo of some smiling, liberty-loving YAL UW-Madison members.
The combination of these methods has lead to significantly more sign-ups at UW-Madison, and has made for a more positive recruitment experience despite limited space and a chaotic environment.Published in