Interest Meetings

When school started, I held an interest meeting for my school’s vegetarian club. An interest meeting is a meeting where people in your school who are interested in the club can come to learn more about it without making a commitment. This meeting is usually the first one in the school year.

This blog post will detail my experience planning, advertising and running the meeting. I hope that you can learn something from my experience!

First, before the interest meeting even started, I planned my club’s year. I wrote down my club’s purpose. Using the list of projects on my website, I made a list of my projects and goals for the year. I made a statement about my club’s purpose, a time-line of my club’s meetings, and a list of club members’ responsibilities.

Then I showed all my plans to the others on the club’s leadership team, and asked for feedback and suggestions. I revised the purpose, project list, and time-line, and responsibilities. After that, I made a powerpoint presentation including all of that information. Click on this link to see the powerpoint.

I began advertising. I advertised the meeting through many mediums. I made posters to put around the school. I put these posters in my school’s stairwells, water fountains and bathroom doors. Click on this link to see the posters.

I sent an announcement for my school’s daily announcements. The announcement was: “Do you want to save animals, the environment, and human health? Are you vegetarian or vegan, or interested in vegetarianism? Join Students Advocating Vegetarian Eating. The interest meeting is on Tuesday, September 17th in room 345.“

I made Facebook group and added last year’s club members and also people who I thought would be interested in the club. A couple of days before the club meeting, I sent out a Facebook message saying: “Hi everyone! SAVE will have an interest meeting Tuesday in room 345 (same as last year). Please come even if you can only come for the first few minutes!“

Finally, I advertised the club in the activities fair. For that event, I made signs with club’s name on it, and posters with the club’s purpose, projects, time-line, club members’ responsibilities, and also the room number, date and time. Click on this link to see the posters.

Finally, I was ready for the meeting. And I was terrified. Completely scared. Would anyone show up? I thought. Would anyone really be interested? I was so nervous.

But luckily, things went great. Around eight people showed up for the interest meeting. I began the meeting by introducing myself to everyone, and having everyone introduce themselves. For the meeting, I ran through the powerpoint presentation, and then asked for questions. I asked everyone in the club for their emails so I could add them to the email list and Facebook group. This meeting was short, no longer than 15 minutes. It was short, sweet, and achieved its purpose.

Then after the meeting, I added all new members to the Facebook group and email list, and I posted a summary of the meeting online. Click here for the summary of the meeting that I sent out.

Overall, the meeting was success. But I made a few mistakes, and I want you to learn from them. There were also many setbacks, and I want you to know how I handled them so that you can handle them if the same setbacks come up with you.

First, I made a big mistake in planning. I planned most things by myself. I didn’t ask others for as much feedback as they wanted to give. This was a mistake. I should have worked more with my school’s faculty sponsor and leadership team to plan.

Next, there were a few setbacks and mistakes in advertising. First, there was supposed to be a video on my school announcements about my club, but the video was made late, and when it was made, my school’s video announcements didn’t show it. I could have avoided this issue by making sure that the video was made much farther in advance.

Also, the posters I made weren’t the best posters. They had too much writing on them. The best posters have pictures that catch one’s attention and little writing, and I should have made a poster like that.

When at the activities fair, I learned the hard way that people don’t like it when you approach them about your club without them approaching your table first.

I also didn’t do enough at the activities fair to entice others to approach. I wish that I made bigger posters, and that I brought vegan free food to get people to approach the table.

Finally, there were a few setbacks and mistakes that occurred during the actual meeting itself. First, my club’s faculty sponsor had a mandatory faculty meeting to go to and couldn’t make it to the interest meeting. I found this out on the day of the interest meeting, and we had to find another teacher to sit in. My club’s co-leader had a mandatory meeting to go to too, and couldn’t make it either. This made me more nervous, because I was the only leader of the club that would be present at the meeting. I had to run the meeting all by myself, and that was difficult. But I just had to pull through, and I did.

Also, sometimes I allowed for some awkward pauses. Like, when I passed around the sign-up sheet for the email list, everyone was quiet. I can improve this by always having back up questions and things I can say to keep the meeting going.

I also wish I spoke more from memory, rather than from a presentation screen. I wish I explained our clubs’ projects in more detailed.

If I had the opportunity to redo the meeting, I would have done some sort of community building activity, like a name game activity. I spent most of the meeting talking to group about the club and I should have spent more time having other club members talk and introduce themselves.

Also, only eight people showed up, but I actually don’t think that is much of a problem. The vegetarian movement is currently very small. Therefore, not too many people, let alone students, are involved in it yet. I’m okay with that. I know that we can accomplish everything we want to accomplish with only eight people, and we don’t need a large club. Though we’re small, we’re very active, committed, passionate and have great plans to make a difference.

I hope you learned something from my experience running this interest meeting!