How to start up a club or society

The University of Lincoln has over 50 sports clubs and societies, so there are plenty of choices for the student wishing to join in. However, what happens when you start university and they don’t have the sports club or society which you really want to join?

When I started university two years ago I was faced with this dilemma. My sport is baseball, and when I came to Lincoln I was fully aware that the university didn’t run this activity, I wanted to change this. The Sports and Teams Officer at the time, Gavin Sumner, advised putting up posters around the university telling people to meet at a certain time in the Tower Bar where we would all get together and have a discussion.

The meetings were a great success, but from these 20 people who came along only 9 came to the first training session. We only had a handful of gloves, bats and balls to go around, with more equipment missing.

The new university year began and we got a stall at the Fresher’s Fayre, as we were an emerging society. Even though being upstairs in the Mezz Bar wasn’t ideal as we were hard to find, we still got between 30 and 40 names down. However, because of the poor turnout at our first training session it made it difficult.

It didn’t help that half of the members from the year before didn’t reenrol, but I wasn’t going to let that beat me. To become an official sports team you need to have 15 members sign up, so we had trouble finding the extra members needed. Therefore we put some posters up, asking people to email us and join our Facebook group.

We couldn’t spend any of the money from the membership fees until 15 people signed up, so we couldn’t buy any of the equipment we still needed. We had to dip into our own pockets to make t-shirts and find transport to our first ever game in Nottingham, in March 2009. We had a lot of help from the British University Baseball Association.

In retrospect, I would advise anyone looking to start up a sports team to contact other universities who already have teams and get as much help and advice from them as you can.

When we finally got 15 members we could afford to get a minibus for another fixture, although that was all of our funds spent. Thankfully, the Students’ Union did give us a development fund so we could afford transport to get to a game at the University of East Anglia.

We have a promising year ahead as we are now official. We have funding from the SU and are looking to recruit new members at Freshers’ Fayre ’09. We are now part of an ever expanding university baseball scene, with tournaments in October and a spring league. Given the time that this society has turned things around, I am proud to be part of it.

I would tell anyone that if you want to set up a club or society, go for it, because it is very rewarding. Beware though, it is not all plain sailing.

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