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I have been thinking of starting an objectivist club at my college, The University of Central Arkansas. I wanted some advice from those of you who have either formed, or been members of, campus obj. clubs. The idea is in the very early stages (I made the decision to commit myself today) but I do know of two other people who attend UCA (through ARI) who may be interested in helping. Before I contact them I want to have a solid foundation. I have the requirements for establishing a campus organization at UCA (not any problems there) but tips on how to find a supporting advisor, recruitment and how to write a club constitution.

All advice will be appreciated.

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First, if you haven't already, look around this site:

http://www.aynrand.org/campus/

It's the ARI Club homepage.

If you go to the officers section (http://www.aynrand.org/campus/officers.html), there is a sample constitution.

I'm sorta in the same boat -- I'm becoming president of my club next year. But, I've been involved with it for a year now, so I have a good familiarity with how things work. On our club website, there is a link on the left to our constitution, if you'd like another example:

http://clubs.asua.arizona.edu/~uasos/

(note I'm redoing this website, it's a blend of the old gaudy and a quick touch-up, so don't assume that's a good site ;))

I don't know about a club advisor, specifically, but I think the previous president got a professor with which he had some connection to sign the form. I don't know exactly how it went, but I think you'd be better off asking a professor that knows you to sign the paperwork and stuff. I know the club advisor I talked to (for the college republicans, not our club) saw it as a meaningless duty where he signed off any paperwork as requested, and didn't take the club seriously. If you can't find someone sympathetic to Objectivism, that might be a good bet to look for someone like that.

For recruitment--

I think, at least for us, a solid foundation of a small group of dedicated students is essential. We have a few regulars (5ish?), and meetings are generally not large events. We have had larger groups come, but the discussions tended to be small and personal. We also put up table out on the "mall area" (the big open area on our campus) and sat people at it for a couple days, getting new people to sign up.

We had two groups--members and "people on the listserv." That way people could receive information on meetings even if they were hesitant to "join the group." There is a nominal fee of $5/semester (or you could do per year) to distinguish between the two groups.

Also, we have a club library of books, mostly cheap from used bookstores, that we loan out to club members (dues-paying members). Our club has the Harvard Series lectures sponsored by ARI & the Harvard Objectivist club. I don't know where they came from, but they make a nice addition to the club library, and are great to provide content for meetings.

Meetings generally included general discussion of local and national news items that were relevant to Objectivism, along with anything else going on people wanted to talk about--including questions people wanted to ask. Then, if there was time, a portion of a lecture tape was shown, which gave club members a chance to see professional Objectivists in action. In addition, they got to see applications of Objectivist principles, and especially the Q&A sessions at the end, where there are a lot of antagonistic questions answered persuasively.

ARI recommends possibly studying some Objectivist literature over the year, like OPAR--slowly going through it and holding discussion sections. It doesn't seem like all the people attending even have time to read the required material for the classes they are in, let alone "extra" Objectivist literature, so I think would be a little much. Definitely having nice, themed meetings and discussing specific topics, such as Ayn Rand and Frank Lloyd Wright's relationship, was helpful. In that particular meeting, we discussed the letters they sent back and forth, whether Roark was modeled after Wright, etc.

Alex Epstein's site has an article that relates to attracting members, specifically:

http://www.alexepstein.com/articles/howtoattract.htm

One more thing. If you discuss current news, suggest writing letters to the editor of the school newspaper--it gets publicity, it gets Objectivist ideas to the forefront on campus, and it can get your club new members as well.

Don't consider this complete. I need to think about it more, and I can probably come up with some more ideas. I'm still working on what to do with my club next semester, so I need to think about it soon anyway.

Good luck with the club and good job on the activism

Edit: fixed grammar

Edited by jedymastyr
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