Starting A Club at Barnard

Starting A Club at Barnard

Did you know that there are over 500 clubs that students can join at Barnard and Columbia? There’s probably a club for just about anything you can think of.

Operative word: probably. Prior to last fall, there was no official book club on either campus, but by the end of the year, Barnard Bookworms had become a GBB-recognized group (Governing Board at Barnard), which means we can now set up tables at activities fairs to recruit new members, host fundraisers on campus, and receive money from Barnard to fund our events.

If you have a special interest that is not represented in an existing club, you can go through the process of creating a club. It sounds like it may be a lot of work, but it is actually relatively simple, even more so when you consider how supportive the Barnard/Columbia community and Office of Student Life are in the process.

For Stage I recognition, which allows clubs to put up flyers on campus, reserve rooms, and have an advisor from Student Life, all you need is a group of ten members including some members as part of the executive board. After a club has been active for at least two semesters and has gotten Stage I recognition, it can move onto Stage II.

For Stage II recognition by the Governing Board, a club has to get fifty signatures from students of any of the undergraduate colleges at Columbia that are NOT affiliated with the club but believe it should exist as a space on campus. This is actually much easier than you might think! It didn’t take very long for Bookworms to get those signatures.

With these signatures collected, the first executive board was able to present to the GBB advisory committee. After approval from GBB, they were able to present at Town Hall, a meeting hosted each semester for clubs recognized by Barnard. With a 51% general body vote to recognize a club, a club gains full recognition!

Though that sounds like A LOT of steps you have to go through, the process makes you realize that there are so many supportive people within the community and administration willing to help you create your little community within Barnard. I discovered Barnard Bookworms in my first semester and, a year later, I’m on the executive board of the club. It has been so rewarding to watch the club grow and see new students join and participate in discussions (that may or may not deviate from the topic of the book of the month). I’m going to be so sad to see the seniors who built this club graduate at the end of this year, but I am so glad that I have gotten to be a part of this club with them.

Artwork by Aurian Carter, BC ‘19, co-Social Media Coordinator for Barnard Bookworms.

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