Member Recruitment: Campus Resources

Member recruitment can be difficult: You could have a new chapter and be looking for additional members to help your organization grow; you could be looking for members because many have recently graduated; or you simply could have a small chapter and want more members in order to bolster your chapter’s activity. Regardless of where you and your chapter stand, understanding what campus resources are available to you and learning how to use them is critical to the recruitment process.

Community Events

Membership Recruitment: Former President reading poetry at the "Little Night Music" event

Poster for Annual “Little Night Music” at UNC

From personal experience, community is an integral part to support any organization, whether that community is on a college campus or elsewhere. But while most will agree fostering community connections is important to promote member recruitment, the execution can seem far more difficult. I found that brainstorming ideas to recruit members can be a breeze, but knowing where to start proves far more elusive.

The Zeta Psi Chapter has turned to resources our university, The University of Northern Colorado (UNC), provides to clubs and student-run organizations. If your university or college has a student activities office—or something similarly named—requesting basic information from them is unbelievably beneficial. This office can inform you about funding opportunities, help your chapter rent a table or booth in your university center, and give you information about collaborating with other clubs and organizations. Without the help of the UNC Student Activities office, my chapter wouldn’t have the opportunity to be as active in our campus community through events such as “A Little Night Music,” the marathon reading of A Christmas Carol, and spring and fall bake sales. Having an open line of communication with the student activities office opens doors for your chapter and gives you an idea of what events your chapter has the ability to host.

Student Activities Office

Former President reading poetry at the “Little Night Music” event

Sometimes, offices host member recruitment events specifically for clubs and organizations. For example, our university hosts “Bear Welcome,” an event for incoming freshmen to learn about numerous activities and events the week before classes begin. One of these events is the “Student Involvement Fair” in which clubs and organizations can rent tables to pass out flyers and information to incoming freshmen. This is a great way to recruit members who could potentially be involved in your chapter for their entire college career!

If your university or college doesn’t host a similar event, don’t be afraid to ask the student activities office if there is a way your chapter can become involved helping with new student orientation. Faculty is often required to attend orientation days in order to assist incoming freshmen sign up for classes. Ask your student activity office or professors in your English Department if you can assist with advising and promote your local chapter.

Faculty Collaboration

After talking with the student activities office, have members and your Chapter Sponsor organize a meeting to brainstorm what events would help improve recruitment the most. Bake sales, poetry readings, and writing workshops are some great places to start. A meeting provides the chance to get more involved with your campus community and gives the chapter an opportunity to pass out flyers and get to know other students who may be interested in joining. Make sure you have the student activities office information on hand during the meeting. Once the meeting has concluded you can email the office with any questions you may have regarding organizing your event.

Member Recruitment: Members selling cookies at our annual "Sonnet Sale."

Members selling cookies at our annual “Sonnet Sale”

One Last Member Recruitment Tip

Don’t be afraid to collaborate with other clubs and organizations when planning events. Finding clubs to co-host events both allows for more man power and fosters cross-communication between clubs in the same department. Finding writing and book clubs, or a campus literary magazine to organize events is a fun way to recruit members. Frequently students will participate in more than one club at a time; therefore, collaborating and communicating with like-minded organizations is a great way to increase Sigma Tau Delta chapter membership!

Additional Sigma Tau Delta Resources

What ideas do you have to foster new member recruitment in your chapter?


MSpringer
By Michelle Springer
Associate Student Representative, High Plains Region, 2016-2017
Zeta Psi Chapter
University of Northern Colorado, Evans, CO

How to Write Creative Non-Fiction: An Introduction

Meghan MillerMeghan Miller
Student Representative, High Plains Region, 2015-2016
Zeta Psi Chapter
University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO

So, you want to write creative non-fiction without boring your readers to death by sounding like a textbook. You are not alone. Creative non-fiction is a fascinating and exciting genre when done properly. It can be informative and fun. Here are a few thoughts to consider while beginning your next non-fiction piece:

What do you want to write about/how do you choose a topic?

Writing is the painting of the voice! - VoltaireFirst, what are you passionate about? The answer to this question will lead to writing what you care about and enjoy. Anything you are interested in is worth writing about. Aside from writing about interests there are plenty of other questions and topics that can get your creative juices flowing. Do you have a pet peeve? Is there something you think the world should know? Think about your life experiences; are there any you can relate to a broader theme? Any of these questions will guide you to an exciting topic. Whatever you choose, your topic should have a message or purpose. Avoid writing about something you know nothing about (don’t forget, this is non-fiction).

What type of creative non-fiction do you want to write?

CreativeYour topic will help determine the type of creative non-fiction you write. Several non-fiction writing styles exist; the most common include personal essay, memoir, argumentative, and persuasive. After you have chosen a topic, you will have to decide what style in which to write. Some styles do not fit with certain topics. For example, you wouldn’t want to write an argumentative essay about your deceased grandma; you likely would choose a memoir.

Who is your audience?

Audience is a really important element when writing anything. To whom do you want to appeal? Who do you envision reading your work? It is important to keep the audience in mind as selfish writing likely will disengage the reader. Being aware of your audience will help you manage elements like tone, humor, and jargon.

As a creative non-fiction writer, you must remain a reliable narrator. An audience reading creative non-fiction expects the content to be truthful. Although some truths are stretched in writing for stylistic effect, make sure what you are writing is true and an accurate representation of the topic. Your credibility will be damaged if you fail to do this.

How do you incorporate stylistics into non-fiction writing?

Word CloudNow, this is the fun part. Incorporating stylistics into your writing is what keeps your reader from falling asleep. As in any writing, you want to show, not tell. Since you are writing non-fiction, everything you write should be true. However, this should not keep you from using figurative language like hyperboles, metaphors, and similes, because these are the details that separate your writing from textbook writing. These tropes also make your writing unique. Using a personal anecdote is another great way to express your ideas and engage your reader. Make sure everything you use in your writing—down to every word—has a specific purpose.

Vary your sentence structure. Pull out the thesaurus. Let your voice shine through. Just because you are writing non-fiction does not mean you have to leave out all the fun stuff you see in fiction. Happy writing!

What additional advice do you have for creative non-fiction writers?


Submit to The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle

Follow these helpful tips and submit your creative non-fiction to The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle. The Rectangle is an annual journal of creative writing that publishes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Submissions should not exceed 2,500 words.

The journal is refereed, with jurors from across the country selecting those members to be published. The best writing is chosen, from around 1,000 submissions, for publication. Not only do these publications go to chapters worldwide, but they also honor the best writing in each category, with six awards totaling $2,400. There is also an annual reading at the international convention by any of the published writers in attendance. Additionally, 2017 marks the first year the Sigma Tau Delta journals will be cataloged by the Library of Congress.

The submission deadline for the 2017 journals is Monday, May 9, 2016, 11:59 p.m. CDT (Central Daylight Time).

View: Submission Guidelines

Embrace It

Sara Laborby Sara Labor
Sigma Beta Chapter
Chadron State College, Chadron, NE

Sara’s blog was selected 2nd Place in the 2014 Convention Story Contest.

I walk out of the tattoo parlor into the blinding sun and a warm breeze. Savannah air fills my nose: the smell of river, trees, and life. As we walk, there is a little skip in my step. I can’t tell if it’s a leftover euphoria from the adrenaline of the tattoo or if it’s just the gorgeous weather. Probably both.

“Oh my God, the world is beautiful!” I say, skipping a few steps ahead of Hannah. I look back at her; she is smiling.

We walk along the brick sidewalk and enjoy the city sounds. At every direction there is something to see: beautiful historic buildings, moss-covered trees, and street musicians. Hannah points out a brass fountain nearby. We rush excitedly across the street to get a closer view.

When I finally get to peel the bandaging from my wrist, the two black words “Embrace it” greet me. One summer night, while explaining minute plot points of a Doctor Who episode, I stopped mid-sentence to say “Am I boring you with all my nerd talk?” My friend Katie shook her head and said, “I think it’s interesting. It’s cool that you talk about nerd things. Embrace it.”

Inspired by her words, I grabbed a sharpie to write “Embrace it” on my wrist. Even before it was permanently scrawled into my body, I would glance at my wrist when I felt unsure about myself.

Sara Labor with Daniel Mendelsohn at his book signingBut as I peel off the bandage, it has become so much more than that. For now I am thinking of the speaker we just saw, Daniel Mendelsohn, who said “I made my mistake and I stuck to it.” He was talking about the major he’d chosen in college: Classic Greek Literature. “I bet since you’re all here,” he said, “you stuck to your mistake too.”

From day one of the convention, I’ve been unsure of myself. At open mic night, I heard someone bragging about getting her novel published, while others spoke about graduate school or teaching. Meanwhile, little ‘ol me is about to graduate college with no plan and certainly no novel.

But as I look at the new ink in my skin and think of Mendelsohn, I have to smile. I don’t have to be unsure of myself. I am doing what I love: writing, reading, and discussing these things in a beautiful city.

I made my mistake.

I decide to embrace it.