The first thing you must understand about starting a conservative club at your high school is that, unless you live in an area with a Republican majority, you will face significant pushback. You’ll have to navigate through the minefield of your peers, teachers and administrators.
Regardless of whether you’re looking to start a TPUSA chapter, a YAF or YAL chapter, or simply a young republicans club, you’ll need to be prepared to deal with the obstacles and challenges you encounter to have a successful and sustained conservative club. Here are ten steps you can follow to ensure you can not only start your conservative club, but be successful in doing so.
Step 1: Figure out what your school requires to start a club.
Ask an administrator or faculty member what steps you need to take to form a club at your school. Review the process thoroughly, plan or outline and check each step as you go along.
Step 2: Cover your bases.
Document the entire process to ensure you have a paper trail of evidence in case you are met with pushback by administrators, peers, faculty or your school board. Ensure that you have witnesses at all meetings and hearings.
Step 3: Find a club that best embodies the ideals you believe.
Before starting a chapter, do your research. What characteristics and principles are you looking for in your parent organization? There are different breeds of conservatism, so it’s important to know where you stand, and what your club will represent.
Step 4: Start with a small group of close supporters.
Before I launched my chapter, I enlisted the help of a few close, conservative friends. These people will form the foundation of your organization, so it’s important to surround yourself with a group of dedicated and reliable people ready to go the extra mile.
Step 5: Find a faculty advisor.
This is an extremely important step! Most high schools won’t allow you to move on until you complete this step. Your club will need someone to liaison with administrators, parents and other faculty members. A faculty advisor will give your club legitimacy and supervision while also giving your group a mentor to help with meetings, events and logistics.
Step 6: Draft a constitution and bylaws.
Having a stated mission and vision helps focus your events and activities, ensuring your peers and administrators understand the purpose of your club and the actions of its members. Current conservative organizations have constitutional outlines that you can customize to fit the vision of your club.
Step 7: Establish your presence on campus.
Make students aware of your club and its purpose. Students and staff need to know that you are a legitimate organization with goals and a mission. There are many ways you can do this: participate in club rush, table your materials, merchandise giveaways, public posters or a schoolwide announcement. Establish your club’s presence on campus and off through social media.
NOTE: You must understand the audience you are catering to, know your peers and what draws their attention, then capitalize on that.
Step 8: Stay in contact with your faculty advisor and the organization’s staff.
It’s always important to communicate with your officer team, your faculty advisor, and the staff of the organization that your branch is from (TPUSA, YAF, YAL, etc.). Send emails, make phone calls, share pictures, write agendas, keep minutes, and submit reports so your chapter is well documented. This will also help resolve any pushback you might receive if you keep detailed notes.
Step 9: Act with purpose.
Practice civil discussion, engage in meaningful dialogue, and be ready to answer questions from the opposition with a calm and cool demeanor. What you don’t want is to become the bullies on campus.
Step 10: Reach out to other clubs!
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other conservative students across the country for advice, help or just to say hi. Remember you’re not alone out there, reaching out is a great way to spread ideas, get helpful tips and make your club stronger.
Following these ten steps will have you well on your way to having a successful and sustainable conservative club!