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Organizing an Org: How I Started My Club

In the blog post everyone saw coming, Tate discusses how to start a club at Carleton.

In the blog post everyone saw coming, Tate discusses how to start a club at Carleton.

When I toured colleges, many prospective students would ask the tour guides “How easy is it to start clubs here?” And I always heard pretty generic responses, most of them amounting to “Oh, it’s really easy here.” While I didn’t think the tour guides were lying, I assumed that there was more to the process. I assumed there were more hoops to jump through than they were letting on. Even though I knew Carleton had tons of clubs (over 150, actually!), I thought it would be difficult to make my club happen. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was wrong! 

Humble beginnings

Off The Cuff's 2021 Poster
Off The Cuff, which was based on The Moth, a storytelling organization, used this poster for the 2021-22 year.

Even before coming to Carleton, I knew I wanted to start a storytelling organization. I came up with a name: Off The Cuff, and tried to recruit people even before we met (which I still do to this day). And during my first term, I strategized my club’s formation. In order to start a club here, you need to just write to the CSA (Carleton Student Association) stating your intention to create a club, and then have ten potential members support the creation of your organization. Personally, I just guilted my friends into doing this part. But! Worry not, CSA, for many of them are still in the club to this day.

A few small steps

After this step, I had to submit a charter to CSA. This is a pretty straightforward document which requires you to state the purpose of the club, designate club officers, and run through a few more scenarios. Once that was completed, I just had to directly make my case to the CSA. I went to one of their meetings and explained what my club was and why it didn’t already exist at Carleton. And that was that! My club had been formed.

Senate members working
The CSA Senate members (including Admissions Fellow Nadine) in a meeting!

And I was blown away by how easy it had been. I hadn’t needed faculty support to start my club, which was amazing. Lots of schools require you to get a faculty advisor to start an organization, but not Carleton. Additionally, CSA is entirely student-run and student-governed, so there is no oversight needed from the college administration. While I don’t think it would have been a problem, it was great to remove some of the bureaucracy.

Cuffing season

Now, Off The Cuff meets every week to brainstorm, discuss, and develop stories. Each term, we choose a theme, and then produce a storytelling show based on that theme. We’ve grown from our small beginnings, drawing larger numbers for each performance. The club has formed a great community, and we’ve been able to share some great stories with one another. And if you ever express any interest in the club, I will try to recruit you. I’m so glad I was able to start Off The Cuff so early in my Carleton career, and I hope to see you at a show someday!

Off The Cuff's Logo
Come join Off The Cuff! And even if you can’t join, consider checking out our YouTube and Instagram pages!

Tate (he/him) is a senior hailing from Colfax, WI (just two hours east of Carleton). He is double majoring in Linguistics and Music and minoring in Cognitive Science. Outside of academics, he sings in Carleton Choir, Chamber Choir, and Exit 69 A Cappella, serves on the Experimental Theater Board, and DJs for KRLX. He also founded Off The Cuff, Carleton’s storytelling organization. When he’s not occupied by these activities, he enjoys hiking in the Arb, attending screenings in the Weitz cinema, and telling anyone who will listen about ridiculous linguistic example sentences. Meet the other bloggers!