Recruitment done right

Extracurriculars are a valuable part of any student’s college career.  They provide opportunities for growth, service, friendship, leadership and many others.  The friends you make in extracurriculars usually share the same interests as you and can help you to grow in specific areas.  There are basically extracurricular groups for almost anything out there. If one does not exist, then you can make one for yourself.  All you need is five members plus an advisor who is free to help. However, being in an extracurricular group does prove to have some difficulties such as maintaining and/or increasing group membership.  So, how does one increase their groups membership numbers? On a college campus, I am sure most people would probably say Club Fair (at VWU, it is the Student Involvement Fair). However, most people do not realize the inefficiency that comes with relying solely on Club Fair for recruitment.  

First of all, Club Fair is a highly overwhelming event that creates a lot of chaos externally and internally for individuals.  We are easily overwhelmed by the number of tables and varying groups that are participating. We feel the urge to sign-up for every group that sounds fascinating to us, while only attending one or two interest meetings.  I have come to call this issue the “sign-up syndrome,” which is a phrase used to describe the number of clubs we sign-up for while only participating in a few. I have seen this multiple times with groups that I am a part of.  We will get at least two pages of names and only two or three names show up to join. This is quite common for most groups and it is not the fault of the clubs or the individuals signing up. It is just a simple fact that Club Fair is overwhelming.

Secondly, Club Fair does not exhibit what kind of activities extracurricular groups partake in.  By this I mean that Club Fair does not actually show off what each group does. So many people rely on Club Fair for recruitment and forget that they really cannot show off any of what they do.  At the fair, you usually are only explaining the group and hope that people take an interest. In this case, actions do speak a lot louder than words.

Finally, relying on one event for recruitment, no matter what the event is, is not an effective method.  You need to get the word about your group the old-fashioned way by taking to the streets and advertising.  You can make flyers and posters, focus on word-of-mouth, or even do interest meetings or events to get the word out.  This is the most valuable part of recruitment because, as stated earlier, Club Fair is overwhelming, and it can prove difficult to display the depth of your passion for a club/group.  True recruitment involves sharing your passion with those around you and also involves talking to individuals, not large crowds that create chaos.

Extracurriculars can prove to be one of the most fun pieces of a college student’s story.  You can join honor societies, clubs, sports groups, volunteer work groups, as well as many others.  Sharing your passion and spreading the word about your favorite groups is also an important piece of a college student’s life.  Joining others and pursuing your passions together is an amazing experience. So go and explore new options about how to do this.  Live your college life, find new friends, find people to join you in your adventures. Do all you can to spread the word when you have a passion.

Jonathan Joyner