Starting A Student Group: How Hard Can It Be?

With over 350 student groups already established at WashU, there’s a very good chance that you’ll find at least one club with a focus and people that you really ~vibe~ with. Honestly, I think that’s one of the most amazing things that you can experience in college, and I hope you all find a community that empowers you to be the incredible superhero that you are.

But sometimes, you get the urge to try something new. Like really new. Like creating your own student group from scratch because you went to a speaker presentation in Graham Chapel and less than an hour later vocally committed to starting a new group on campus before really thinking about it and sealed the deal with a photo and a quote on Student Life’s website.

*Some might call that hasty, but I haven’t regretted it yet. Still, my fingers are crossed that it all works out.

Simply put, Reshma Saujani, a lawyer and politician from New York City who created the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code, came to WashU to speak about closing the gender gap in the tech industry, and watching her speak, three other girls and I decided to start a Girls Who Code club here at WashU, one that would facilitate meetings for middle- and high-school aged girls that are interested in computer science. Of course, just stating that is very easy. The actual process of starting a group is a little more complicated.

The bare minimum requirements for starting a SU-recognized group include having at least 5 members, a drafted constitution, and a complete application, along with a budget proposal depending on the group’s desired categorization (which is related to size and function, more on that can be found here). The perks of being an official SU group mostly comes down to money, and being able to utilize campus spaces for meetings and some resources for advertising and publications.

Still, there are several other factors that we’ve had to consider. We’ve debated whether or not we want to meet on or off campus, because visitor parking can be a bit tricky. We’ve had to find a faculty adviser, for both our SU group and for whatever locations we choose to meet at. Once school starts up for local high schools and middle schools, we’re planning on sending out emails and speaking with administrators, teachers, and students. All in all, it feels a little overwhelming sometimes, but I think as long as we take it one step at a time, by second semester next year, we’ll be able to have everything up and running.

Currently, our next steps include planning out all of our training materials and compiling a list of schools we want to reach out too, along with getting ready to table at our activities fair in the fall. Keep an eye out for us, and if we’re there, then hopefully that means our student group adventure hasn’t come to a screeching halt.

And with that, here’s a poem to end the post…


*I’m sorry. Acrostics are hard.