I have recently learned that one of the most difficult things about running a club in college is pushing the word out in your campus community about it.
Almost every single person from the fall 2017 semester that was a part of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Chapter that I am president of had either graduated, or had started things like student teaching, and didn’t have enough time to be a part of the club anymore. So when I was passed down the torch to become the next leader of the Chapter, the first thing I sat down to think about was how to garner the interest of my peers.
There were so many ideas that were running through my mind about different activities and team building exercises that I wanted to try, but I quickly began to realize that only having three members (one of whom was me, another the faculty advisor) was going to limit what we could do. I began contacting different people on campus and had the help of the other two members to create and set up posters around the more frequented areas.
To my utter joy, at our first meeting of the spring 2018 semester we had two new faces. Even though it was only a couple new members, I was happy that we were able to pique some interest. We all brainstormed some ideas for an activity to do at our second meeting of the semester and decided that we were going to decorate old detergent containers to be used as sharp containers.
I was giddy with excitement when I came into the room and these two new faces were there. I took this time to explain to the non-diabetics what type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes were and if they had any questions about either. We spent the hour decorating and getting to know each other, and after, one of the new members approached me about possibly doing an article for the school newspaper.
I was flabbergasted, simply because I had only been the newly elected leader for a few weeks, and I was already being interviewed! I quickly accepted the offer, and we planned to do a sit-down interview. During this interview she asked me what the College Diabetes Network (CDN) was all about, as well as some general questions about type 1 diabetes, and how it has affected my college life.
She contacted me shortly after and explained that the deadline had passed for her to submit the article she wrote about our CDN Chapter, but that if there was any future craft event or another learning opportunity to contact her.
We had planned to do a diabetes Jeopardy during the next meeting, but quickly changed plans an hour and a half before the meeting because we realized how impossible it was to do with uneven teams, as well as so few people. Then, I had an idea about educating non-diabetics (and diabetics) about the importance of carb counting in our lives, and what exactly a carb was and what they do. I was very glad the author of the article for the school newspaper showed up to this meeting and hoped she could write about the meeting.
A few days later, she emailed me a rough draft and asked if the information was accurate and if I liked the article, to which I responded with an enthusiastic yes to both questions. Although I haven’t had anyone contact me about an interest in joining my Chapter since the article was posted, I am still hopeful that someone someday might see it and find us.