How RSOs can gain a new following on Quad Day

Free Frisbees, beer koozies and fliers promoting club pizza parties may be found lining the lawn on Quad Day, representing the great abundance of opportunities open to students who are ready to join a registered student organization. 

With so many booths offering incentives to draw a crowd (arguably the most direct line to a new student’s heart), how can other RSOs compete? While promotions and events may create the initial attraction, creating a lasting connection may take some more work. 

The key to standing out, according to Jessica Mondello, junior in ACES, is to be “pushy, but an enthusiastic pushy.”

After passing out fliers for the Illini Rotaract Club last year, Mondello said, she experienced a sense of competition between Illini Rotaract and other RSOs that were handing out freebies nearby. 

“My advice on getting people to join is having a conversation with them,” she said.

“They won’t remember one out of the 50 fliers they get, but they will remember a conversation. You cannot just stand there silently holding a flier.”

Rachel Miller, 2014 University alumna, agreed with Mondello’s statement, having worked with the Illini Rotaract Club to recruit new members for three years. 

“As an organization looking for new members at Quad Day, you have to know what your club has to offer, and find a way of drawing attention and very quickly explaining your offer to anyone who walks by,” she said.

Though Miller will not be at this year’s Quad Day, she said she left her former RSO with a few bits of recruitment advice, including a practiced pitch delivered with plenty of enthusiasm and an emphasis on the follow-up connection. 

“While Quad Day and the initial impression is important, the follow-up connection that you have with potential members, whether it’s through an info session, meeting, group activity or social event, is the most important thing for recruiting new members,” Miller said. 

She added that there isn’t really anything an RSO could do that discourages students from joining, as long as the effort to find new members is present. 

Another tactic, according to Kadambari Jain, 2014 alumna and former vice president of Pre-Dental Club, is to let new students know right away what the RSO can do for them.

“Whether it is to make friends or to further experience in a profession, letting people know that you can help them reach their goals seems to be a great strategy,” Jain said. 

Alice can be reached at [email protected]