Starting a Club: How to's and Considerations

Starting a New Campus Club or Organization

Students who don’t find what they are looking for among the many pre-existing club offerings are encouraged to create their own. New campus groups are founded regularly and evolve to best fit the dynamic needs of our campus community. Any group of two or more students interested in starting an organization on campus can register through the Budget and Events Committee on behalf of the OSE. Once approved, groups are assigned a staff advisor and a club budget. 

The process for starting your own club at Bennington begins by filling out a new club proposal form through the Budget & Events Committee.

Distinction Between Clubs and Organizations

A campus club is a student-driven group that may or may not have regular meetings, may or may not have staff/faculty advisement, and may or may not meet regularly for discussion/conversation/activity built around a common interest. Clubs, by nature, are open to the entire campus community for participation and may or may not have a hierarchical leadership structure, although two primary points of contact are required. A club’s annual “club budget” of $100 per academic year may be augmented by written proposals to the Budget and Events Committee in support of additional event and supply funding needs. 

Club Requirements and Expectations

Two Points of Contact 

It is a requirement that every club and organization have at least two points of contact. These student representatives serve a critical role in the function of the club or organization in that they are expected to serve as a liaison between the club and the OSE when outreach is required. It is not expected that this role necessarily serve as a “club leader”; however, often times those who identify as the leader of a given club or organization happen to serve a function in that contact capacity as well. Stated simply, the OSE needs two points of contact for a given club in the event that one member is unavailable for any reason. We use these points of contact as a means of disseminating club/organization related information and to gather information from the group when needed.

Minimum Number of Members Required 

While there is no stated minimum to the number of members required to be an active club or organization, it is expected that in the interest of creating an inclusive environment, each group is actively pursuing opportunities to create connections and invite new members into the group, supporting its relative growth and longevity. Historically, groups of fewer than five don’t lend themselves to long-term sustainability in the way that larger ones do. All that said, no two groups are alike in this way, and the engagement office is here to support your efforts in any way it can.

Inclusive Practice

Membership to clubs at Bennington is to be made available to any and all students without exception. Additionally, any events proposed and overseen by a specific club or organization must be made open to the entire campus community whenever possible. For this reason, while groups are welcomed and encouraged to create events making use of public spaces, and/or produce functions in collaboration with community partners, particular care must be made to promote it thoroughly and to work with engagement office staff to assure transportation and other logistic opportunities are provided. 

Basic Logistics and Leveraging Campus Tools 

Advisor Roles and Option to Request an Advisor

In the same way your academic advisor provides leadership, guidance, and support in your career as a student, a club advisor can serve in this very same capacity helping you maximize your co-curricular efforts by providing additional institutional support to your goals and objectives. Every new club or organization is automatically assigned advisement through OSE staff, although groups are welcomed and encouraged to seek out an advisor who will best support the work that a given club or organization pursues. Additionally, the OSE works closely with a wide variety of staff, faculty members, and community partners and is happy to find a fit for your group upon your request.

Setting Up a Campus Email Account

Setting up a campus email for your club or organization is easy, and many groups choose to create one simply to avoid the hassle of delegating contact emails between members when dealing with outside parties. Additionally, having a specific email account that is not tied to a single member means that it can stay current even as members graduate and transition from Bennington. Email the OSE to set up a time for new email creation, and we will work with you and the IT department to complete the process. New emails typically take less than 48 hours to set up. At your request, the OSE is happy to keep a record of your club/organization email password in the event it is forgotten.

Getting your Club/Org on the Bennington Website

Any campus club or organization wishing to have its own section on the bennington.edu website is encouraged to do so with the help of the OSE. This space may be used to relay relevant contact information, links, photos, coming events, and other resources to both internal and external sources. Please note: having a club specific email account is a prerequisite to the creation of your own web extension within the bennington.edu domain. To set up your group page on the Bennington website, email the OSE for more information and to set up a meeting time.