How to Have No Free Time: Start an Org

Being involved in organizations on campus can be a fun way to buff up a resume. Some jobs like to see that you are a go-getter and able to run events, a staff, and meet deadlines. Higher education likes to see that you have a wide range of interests and are active within the college community. Sometimes, though, there is a lack of orgs you truly want to join/run. Thankfully Hamline makes it a fairly easy process to start up an org and gives plenty of resources for those willing to take it on.

The requirements for an org on campus are simple:

·      Serve a unique function on campus; requests for redundant organizations may be denied. 

·      Provide names of at least three Hamline students that will serve as officers of the organization.

·      Identify and provide the name and contact information of a faculty or staff advisor.

·      Comply with all university policies.

Now, if you are like me and need a detailed plan, I would suggest making a mission statement before you start recruiting. This will be about three to four sentences about what your org is, who you will have in the org, and what it’ll do for the community.

For something like a movie org, the mission statement would state that your goal is “to educate and show diverse movies to campus, allowing for unique films from all over the world to be available.” You could state that you will let anyone in and whether you will do anything else with the org. The mission statement will allow your org to have a clear vision and also help with pitching the org, for once you know what kind of org you wish to start, you’ll have to start recruiting.

To become a Hamline org you’ll have to have at least three people who will be leading members of the org. These three members would include a President, Vice President (this can be substituted for any other job title, but it can be very nice especially starting out to have someone else’s help running the org), and then a third position. The third position can be anywhere between a secretary, event coordinator, social media manager or any other position you may need. If you can get general members too before going to get the org officially founded that’s even better for it can show that there’s interest.

After you know you will be able to get members and have a fair pitch for your org, it’s time to get a faculty advisor. An advisor has to be full time faculty; this means no adjuncts. Try to contact departments that you’ll think can relate to your org. Example: a movie org could go to the DMA department, English, or Creative Writing department for advisors, marketing the org as a way to help students understand the structure and impact of movies on society. It doesn’t matter that most of the time you’ll just be watching whatever movie you have wanted to watch forever, as long as you have a small convo at the end about the movie as an org, or just show diverse movies to the campus. You can market as if you’re doing way more than you might be doing. It’s all about how you market yourself.

It’s okay when you’re looking for an advisor to simply email the head of a department and ask them. If they don’t wish to be the advisor, they can ask around to others in their department that wish to take it on. Or if there is a professor that you have in mind, or someone else has recommended to email them directly. It’s Hamline, emails are public record and you aren’t bothering them just by asking.

You’ll need an advisor to sign any forms for events for your org, to reserve rooms on campus, and in the future if your org ever has a budget, to oversee the budget. At any point, if your advisor isn’t working for your org, you are allowed to change advisors. Advisors aren’t in charge of your org, but you are in charge of the relationship between your org and your advisor.

Once you have an advisor go to Hamline’s organization webpage. There is a New Student Org form that you’ll have to fill out with your staff’s names, your orgs mission statement and advisor. The involvement center will contact you with more information after that step.

Once you are an official Hamline org, there are layers to your involvement. If you think your org is big enough and needs a budget to function, then becoming a Chartered Org will be a good step to take.

Being a Chartered Org means that you’ll receive a budget from HUSC allowing for you to pay staff, have bigger events and use equipment. You could also argue for an office if your org truly needs one.

To become a Chartered Org, you’ll have to:

·      Have at least 10 members at all times.

·      Comply with Hamline Undergraduate Student Congress policies.

·      Provide activities and/or services that are open and accessible for the entire campus (at least 1 all-campus event per year).

·      Have a clear and specific purpose.

·      Send at least one representative to all Student Organization meetings hosted by the HUSC Student Organizations Committee Chair.

·      Have someone employed as a business manager/ accountant.

If you believe that your org falls under a media outlet you can apply to be apart of the Media Board. The Media board is a separate entity from HUSC, allowing media orgs to  report to HUSC without being pressured about losing their budgets. The requirements to be in Media Board minus being a publication is the same as becoming a HUSC Chartered Org. You have to prove that you’re sustainable as an org and bring something new to campus.

In the end, creating an org is a lot of work and time. Usually those starting their own org are already in three others and events take a lot of time and energy to plan. It’s rewarding work though, and getting the org registered will open up more resources than trying to have it run on its own. My biggest tip is to not take on everything by yourself. Get a staff that you can trust will have passion for your org and let them pursue their own ideas for the org and take on responsibility.

Don’t be afraid to pass on the reigns or letting the org die if it ever stops becoming fun. Make an org that you’ll have fun with. If you’re having fun and have a passion for it, then so will those join and that’s all that matters.