We’re starting a new series of blog posts aimed at helping you run successful chapters that engage in campaigns, constantly recruit new members, and become the most active and exciting groups on campus. To start things off, here’s a lesson on visibility.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re not promoting your chapter’s meetings, events or campaigns, then how will people know to join SSDP? Check out these great and easy ways to make sure people know about SSDP at your school.
- Posters: Make sure you’re putting up flyers every week to promote your chapter’s meetings. This simple action is likely to not only increase attendance at your meetings, but it will make sure people are at least familiar with SSDP. If you have members that are talented graphic designers, put them to work! When the posters are printed, make putting them up around campus a fun team effort.
- Events: Events, small or large, prove to your campus community that SSDP is active and working hard. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple movie screening or a day long symposium on the injustice of the drug war, if you’re constantly providing the community with opportunities to learn about drug policy, you’ll bring credibility to your chapter and awareness to our mission. Events keep your chapter members interested and engaged. In addition to all this, if your chapter is consistently active, it will be hard for anyone on campus to try and stereotype SSDP members (we know the opposition tends to rely on name calling because the facts are on our side!).
- Events are also great for highlighting campaigns you might be working on and really help to draw in new members that might not otherwise attend a general meeting. For instance, if you’re just starting a chapter, consider holding a Know Your Rights movie screening and Q&A before your first meeting. That event is likely to draw in a much more diverse and possibly larger audience than the meeting would, providing you with the perfect opportunity to pitch SSDP and promote your upcoming general meeting!
- Campus Radio and TV: Reach out to shows on your campus radio or television stations and offer to give an interview about SSDP or a relevant drug policy issue. For example, if a medical marijuana bill was recently voted on in your state, that’s a great opportunity for you to lend your expertise on the bill. Be proactive – don’t wait for them to contact you. Once you’re on the show, they’re likely to call you back when similar stories arise.
- Letters to the Editor: Probably one of the easiest ways to increase your chapter’s visibility is to frequently submit letters to the editor to your campus paper and local media outlets. As a recognized student group, there is a high probability your piece will be published. Plus, LTE’s are generally around 150 words so you can write one in about 10 minutes!
- Build Coalitions: Research other groups on your campus and reach out to them by offering to combine efforts and work together. Groups working on issues like human rights, criminal justice, personal liberty, the environment, economics and racial injustice all tie into aspects of the drug war. Attend their meetings and see what you can do to help them – not only what they can do to help SSDP.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. Each of the items listed here will be expanded on in upcoming “Tips of the Week” so subscribe to the SSDP Blog RSS feed and be sure to read through the SSDP Student Organizing Manual (soon to revised and updated!)