Looking to form an OWAA student chapter at your local college or university? Check out the best practices below, as recommended by OWAA. You can also download a PDF sample OWAA student chapter constitution.
OWAA student chapter best practices
1.Reach out to a faculty member. Colleges typically require that a student organization have a faculty adviser, so it’s critical to find this person and get them on board.
2.Identify a student to champion the cause. The students have to take ownership of the chapter because ultimately it’s their organization and its success or failure hinges on their interest. If you don’t know a student personally, the faculty member you’ve identified should know who is both interested in communicating about the outdoors and responsible enough to lead the formation of the chapter.
3.Once a student leader and a faculty member are identified, it’s really up to the students to go through the university’s procedure for organizing the chapter. Depending on the university, this will require steps such as adopting a constitution (see the Mizzou chapter’s constitution as an example), naming officers, setting dues, etc.
4.OWAA student membership is $10, so it will at least cost a student that much to join a college chapter. While these steps are ongoing, contact OWAA HQ and let Jessica know a new chapter is forming. She’ll send out application forms and other materials for the chapter. (To be sure students join OWAA, we will ask them to fill out applications during the first meeting of the student group. To qualify we will need one of the following: a signature on the application from either a faculty advisor or their department chair, unofficial transcript, or a current class schedule.)
5.OWAA headquarters will provide a package detailing student member benefits, including scholarship opportunities, the Student Corner column in Outdoors Unlimited, available publications, etc.
6.Get local OWAA members involved. This is where we finally come in. The chapter will operate fairly independently, but OWAA members should make themselves available as mentors, potential meeting speakers, etc. Again, it’s the students’ chapter, so it’s up to them how much involvement they want from OWAA members. Some may want an active member at every meeting; others, maybe not. OWAA headquarters will provide a list of local student chapters to state Active members.
7.Student chapter members will be invited to conference, along with all other members, and will be made aware of the free Becoming an Outdoors Communicator Workshop and other opportunities during the event.