As the new academic year begins, UU Campus Ministries move back into full-time action. Successful groups must plan to do information tabling during student fairs, orientation, club day, and other opportunities. Organizing Campus X has some tips for you on tabling, including handouts and sample scripts for talking to newcomers.
UUCM groups that do not incorporate tabling at least once each semester into their outreach not only create an "exclusive" environment lacking a personal face-to-face way to for newcomers to connect, they ultimately fail to build a critical mass of students to sustain the group year-to-year. Groups may well survive with one or two core organizers (prophets in some respects!), but consistent tabling is the key to long-term sustainability.
I’ve talked at length with dozens of campus organizers and UU religious professionals. All unilaterally report their success in doing tabling, success that even surprises many of them. Most sign up between 20 and 30 students, a majority of whom are "interested" in the UUCM group but new to UU. Some sign up close to 100 students. The key is to maintain an announcements-only email list to keep these folks in the loop but not overwhelm them with the nitty-gritty detail emails that can drive newcomers away.
One campus coordinator told me they have about 150 people on their list, and that sustains a core of 15 participants at their weekly meetings. It is best to limit announcement emails to once-a-week, making sure you provide all the necessary details and contact info in that one email. Campuses with less than 2,000 students are not exempt from these numerical goals, there has been more success at small schools than large schools in America and Canada.
If you’re not sure where to go to set up a table, tell me your name, school, and I can help do some research for you.