For people looking at joining your club or society, taking that first step of coming to one of your sessions or events can be nerve-racking. Here are some steps that your club or society can do to reduce anxieties and support the integration of new members;
Reducing Anxieties – Committee members
- Provide the opportunity for students to meet in small groups before going to your main session or social event. This will help new students to get to know each other and encourage them to come to the event together.
- Add photos of your committee members to your club or society webpage and for events link to this page to let members know who is leading the event. This allows new students to be able to put a face to a name.
- Let people know as much information about the event as possible e.g. where are you going to meet, what they should expect from your session, what they need to bring etc. E.g. will they need to bring their own sports equipment, or will it be provided? What shoes do they need to wear?
- It is important that your club or society part of the website is up to date and has adequate content on there about what happens at sessions.
- Let people know what ability they need to come along e.g. all abilities welcome, those that have never played before are welcome
- If your event is in the Sportspark consider meeting people outside and let new students know how to get their card registered for the turnstiles.
- Consider linking with buddy(su) to match your existing members with new members.
- Give the opportunity for new members to chat with someone online before attending. You could look at spitting this responsibility across all committee members and some members.
- Plan integration and icebreaker activity to support existing members and new member to have discussions.
- Split committee and existing members up to speak with new members. Actively speak to new members and check in with individuals afterwards.
- On your club or society webpage and social media, include what your student group stands for e.g. Inclusive of all students, friendly and welcome environment.
Template you may wish to use for promoting an inclusive session and reducing anxieties;
………….. is organising this event. You can contact…………. by emailing………………… If you would like to put a face to a name, you can see the committee member here……. (link to your club or society webpage)…... What will happen during this session is…… You will need to bring…. Don’t worry if you haven’t done this activity before everyone is………. If you are feeling nervous about attending, please let us know by contacting………. We can arrange for someone to meet you prior to reduce any anxieties about attending. If you have any accessibility needs, please let us know and we will try our best to accommodate you. The committee look forward to welcoming new and existing members to this event.
Reducing Anxieties – Existing Members
As a member it is important to think back to your session. How did you feel? Was there anything a member could have done to make you feel welcome and at ease?
Here are a couple of tips you can do as a member to help new members to the club feel welcome and continue attending;
- Talk and engage with new members. Introduce yourself and ask them questions about themselves.
- Try to not just talk with your usual friendship groups within the club or society.
- Invite new members to chat or meet up before the next event.
- Follow up and ask them how they found the session.
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