by Allison Mueller and Elizabeth Pulanco
Eager students, colorful posters and free treats are at the forefront of every Winona State University club fair. These attractions, along with inviting games and cute animals, often lure students to tables — a tactic clubs use every year.
At a club fair, group members are present and strive to attract new recruits for two reasons: it is mandatory and necessary to avoid termination.
Winona State lists specific requirements for creating and maintaining official club or organization status. This includes having at least 10 student members, an updated roster and constitution, and participation in the fall club fair.
Joe Reed, Winona State’s Student Union director said the first and most important step in creating a club is the Student Senate approved constitution, which is often resubmitted if changes need to be made. This constitution must include at least one purpose of the club and membership, meeting and funding requirements.
“The key element is to have the constitution approved by Student Senate,” Reed said. “If you are recognized by Student Senate, you’re a club. This is usually the first step when creating the club.”
Reed has been working with student clubs and organizations at Winona State since 1989. During his time at the university, the number of clubs has increased from 85 to 222. Reed said growing numbers could be attributed to interest in more athletic and academic based clubs.
Both Reed and Tracy Rahim, associate director of Student Activities & Leadership, work closely with clubs and organizations. At the beginning of the academic year, they have to educate new club leaders.
“We have a lot of the same issues every year because we have to reinvent the wheel. You have new officers and there is a lot to learn. It keeps evolving and we are here to keep it going,” Reed said. “Tracy keeps everyone in check.”
With 222 clubs in Winona State’s directory, the Alliance of Student Organizations oversees all these organizations and removes inactive clubs from the list. According to ASO Director Megan Grochowski, nearly 30 clubs have been removed from the directory since she assumed her student position in fall 2016. She said she receives two or three requests a week for the creation of new clubs.
Reed said the best way to maintain a club after its creation is to continue recruiting members, which is why club fairs are hosted several times a year.