What are you doing to keep your chapter alive?

I graduate from college in June. Scary, right? What’s scarier is the number of clubs that die after all of their founding officers graduate — especially libertarian-leaning clubs. I don’t have a specific statistic for you, but if you don’t start thinking about this issue now, you’re likely to become part of one.

There are a number of things you can do to avoid the iminent destruction of all of your hard work, and the trick is to start thinking about this before you are getting ready to leave your university. Here are some tips that I’ve seen work firsthand:

  • Cycle through your leadership. Don’t rely on the same president and officer board year after year. This can create a dependency on one individual who, hopefully, will not be in college forever and will eventually graduate. It also encourages fresh ideas and growth within a chapter.
  • Avoid cliques within your group. It is easy to bond with the people who have always been YAL members, but make sure you and your officers are open, inviting and engaging when interacting with new recruits. They’re more likely to return if they feel they too can be part of the family.
  • Encourage freshman and sophomores to run for officer positions and actually give them real responsibilities. If they run for VP or President with little experience, it’s okay. The older officers will still be around to offer guidance and help the club mature. If the underclassmen don’t run for anything, give them responsibilities anyway.
  • Be constantly looking for new members throughout the school year. You can attract students through your activism events, but sometimes just using the World’s Shortest Political Quiz as a “campus survey” can find you libertarians who may not have previously identified themselves as such.
  • When you do graduate, follow up with your old chapter and keep the new officers motivated. Then they also feel they have someone to ask for advice that knows what they’re going through.

For more on Leaving a Legacy and other helpful hints, check out YAL’s Activism Guide and Kent Strang’s article “Combat Attrition!”

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