The struggle of starting a new student organization

By Mary Menzemer, Opinion Editor

Starting a student-run organization on campus can be difficult. For example, look at a club that would seem relatively easy to begin: the American Sign Language Club, a common language around here, took three years to be established.

In order for an organization to be effective, you have to have a generally large market for the concept, a professor who acts as an adviser for solid ideas about what to do during meeting times.

For Vincent Paris, a second year political science major, the problem he is running into with starting his student organization is having people interested in what the organization is about.

Paris is looking to start a student organization of Democratic Socialists, a far-left political party, but so far, he is the only member. He says, “I believe in democratic socialism because people will have more say over the economy, commonwealth, and public property. We would have affordable healthcare and we would have a more equal system.”

When asked why he wanted to start this organization he answered, “I noticed there were not many left-wing groups on campus. I am currently the Communications Director for a group called ‘No Labels’ for those who find common ground between Democrat and Republican ideas.”

Paris has made flyers and put the word out, but the fish do not seem to be biting. When asked what he would do if he got enough people together, he said, “We would not hold protests, but we would have teach-ins to educate more people. We would discuss issues that could be solved with left ideas, while also having fun.”

Paris first identified with socialism when his friends would talk about it, and he looked more into it. The difference between being a leader and a follower is doing your homework on all sides of the issue at hand and taking the necessary steps to share your ideas with others and creating an open environment for them to learn. This is exactly what Paris is trying to do. He is a highly motivated student with good ideas; he is just simply in the wrong place.

Knowledge of the student demographic is important when starting an organization for a cause worth believing in. However, if something does not work the first time, keep trying. There are always people who will identify the similar beliefs. Some just may not know someone else is interested in the same thing they are. This is why we have such a diverse selection of campus organizations. It is so everyone can find their place and make their home in a group with similar mindsets, goals and interests as them.