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Discussion: Forming a College Orienteering Club

in: Orienteering; General

Aug 26, 2019 5:15 PM # 
I did a quick look around the O-USA website and could not find any information about how to go about forming a university or college orienteering club. Is there any information around.
What I'm talking about is not a club to make maps and put on orienteering events but a club to help student orienteers and potential orienteers get together and get to orienteering events put on by regular clubs, maybe get together and give West Point a run for their money at the Nationals.
Why? Because in Florida alone we send some 100- 200 experienced orienteers out of high schools and in to the the colleges and universities of several states.
Because when they get to those colleges and universities in many cases part of their fees go to support student recreation including student sport clubs.
It would be great if those students could all network at their new schools, form a recreational orienteering club, tap in to support from nearby clubs and the school's sports club funds and continue their passion.
But how? Where is the information on how this can be done?
Aug 26, 2019 8:31 PM # 
The way it works at my university, most clubs are student run. So theoretically me and Jan could start an orienteering club at the UofC. The problem is, that there is no competitions (clubs that do some kind of competition get funding) and thus idk how we'd get any funding (to go to nationals say). We could charge everyone $20 to buy flags and stuff, but then its all volunteer run basically.

Its a decent idea to get a bunch of people to get together to come to say FWOC wednesday night events. I think if we talked to FWOC and agreed to have a yearly membership fee at half price, or 20$ per a semester, then we could get a little group of people going more consistently to events.

At most it would be an introduction to orienteering to people who have never done it. So thats why i don't think its really worth it. Once we have juniors who come from a local junior program, and have more than 5-10 ppl then I think it could be really useful.

Also the minimum requirement for a club is 10 members at UofC.

One other thing is that because it is off campus, then it would depend on the student union club regulations.

For information I would try getting a student to ask at their university. (we have a Student Union organization who would answer to this kind of stuff) Or you can go to a university / collage and ask around in their sports department / athletic department until they point you to the right person.

I'd ask Hammer about what this would entail, he's a prof I think.
Aug 26, 2019 11:39 PM # 
I think there's no information because the process and requirements would vary greatly depending on the school.
Aug 27, 2019 12:58 AM # 
Furlong, do you know that for a fact?
I have only looked at a few schools but the procedures seem pretty common.
The students pay a portion of their compulsory fees as a recreation fee. This goes for their use of the school's sports facilities but a portion is allocated to student sports clubs. The clubs are formed by the students for the students. If they want to do triathlons but there isn't a collegiate triathlon team they can form a sports club. Same with dozens of other activities. Once in Durhan NC I worked out with the Duke University Med School rugby team. They weren't an NCAA sport but they were practicing for a med school rugby tournament.
What can the college student get out of being part of a college recognized orienteering club/team? Funding support for travel, access to permission to hold orienteering events on campus which could be money-makers for more travel to more events, experience orienteering which helps develop their thinking and problem solving skills (the reason they are in university). A chance to knock West Point down a peg.
As Runner indicated the schools will have a minimum number of students to get a club recognized. It is usually a low minimum .
The university / college level orienteering teams tend to come and go and that is okay. They depend on there being at least one keen driver of the club. At some time there could come the energy that keeps the club going after the keener moves on but even if the club burns out after a few years they shine with a bright light on campus and in the orienteering community.
So if anyone has any positive suggestions on how to get the school club going I'd appreciate hearing more. We have some schools in Florida where the students could use the advice.
Aug 27, 2019 1:14 AM # 
Tomahawk spearheaded the effort at University of Michigan the past 2-3 years, doing all the necessary paperwork to attain club status. He since left, but may have some suggestions. Aside from hosting campus events a few times a year, he would coordinate rides to SMOC meets through Facebook and sometimes bring most of his department out. The Facebook group was called ARRO for Adventure racing, rogaining, and orienteering.
Aug 27, 2019 1:18 AM # 
gordhum: Orienteer Kansas is registered as a student organization at the University of Kansas. We currently have no student members. Being a registered organization allows us to host events on campus. We would be happy to support any student members if they showed up. My suggestion is that your club do the same, and start the school club and support any students. Having a regular O club as the main owners allows continuity as students come and go. The only requirement for registering our group was to have a faculty sponsor, which is easy to find among our regular members.

Note that OK used to have many students members and won the Intercollegiates in 1983 and 1984 (over West Point :)
Aug 27, 2019 1:33 AM # 
Great discussion and suggestions.
Seems like a local Orienteering club could host the university Club and use Instagram, university social media etc to attract students and Facebook as a medium to connect and coordinate people for getting to events. An on campus O event as the logical place to start every semester.
Aug 29, 2019 1:37 AM # 
Brian I think that is bang on that orienteering clubs should be reaching in to the local campuses, scratching up a handful of students - perhaps friends of friends - and get a student orienteering club going. When it comes to growth of the sport the universities and colleges should be recruiting ground #1. Look where so many of our current leaders got their first exposure to the sport.
Sure it means someone is going to do more but consider it succession planning. Consider it an investment in finding someone new to do the job and take on the load that you have been carrying for these many years.
Aug 29, 2019 3:21 AM # 
If a club is small and doesn't have any contacts at colleges it's unlikely that anyone there will listen unless someone actively goes there to talk to someone.

A number of years ago when I first directed a local EMPO meet I sent notices to various universities' outing clubs and any rotc and jrotc groups I could find contact info for, probably at least a dozen groups in all.


I may have tried one more time, but not after that.

Your mileage may vary.
Aug 29, 2019 10:25 AM # 
Too right there Janet. It is like the story I used to hear of the ancient farmers throwing seeds on the ground. Some of the seeds would land where the soil is rocky or otherwise not hospitable to growth and nothing would grow but a few will land on good soil, take root and grow.
Not all our efforts will pay off every time.
However one thing is sure: if we don't 'throw the seeds', nothing will grow.
The loss of the college/ university participants is probably more frustrating to me in Florida than to others in other parts of the country. In Florida the high school JROTC programs graduate about 300 experienced orienteers every year, 300 young adults who for the most part have enjoyed their experiences with orienteering. Of these 300 some go into the military, some go straight to work but many spread out and go to so many different colleges and universities across the country. It is frustrating to me that we in orienteering have not set in place a network of student orienteering clubs at the colleges and universities to catch these students, give them a place to join and an activity to do outside of the classroom/ library/ student center/ frat houses/ pubs. Then in return they will be giving a few back to us our next generation of leaders.
There is some very good fertilizer in the suggestions above. Thanks folks.
Aug 29, 2019 10:44 AM # 
College is a busy time, with lots of things to do. Orienteering is up against plenty of competition. Even enthusiastic juniors often vanish when they go off to college, sometimes to reemerge on the other side. A classic anecdote involves an experienced junior who went to a university in a part of the country with much more opportunity for orienteering than they had had before. A university with a map immediately adjacent to the campus and a couple of orienteers on the faculty. The promising junior completely dropped out of sight for four years, until reappearing later and becoming a US Team member.
Aug 29, 2019 12:36 PM # 
We had a talented junior from a part of the country with much more opportunity for orienteering show up to university here once and we went all in on helping him start an O club. The rules here require university club officers to be students. He joined the cross country ski team and managed to recruit a bunch of them to give O a try. The seasons align reasonably well because the skiers spend the fall getting in shape, winter racing, and spring ... hey, what should we do now? That spring talented junior was, I think 1st at Intercollegiates in varsity male, and his newly recruited teammates beat West Point in the JV team competition.

Sounds great, right? What could go wrong?

They were all seniors.
Aug 29, 2019 12:36 PM # 
Some of our active duty military orienteers may be able to help on the ROTC side. At least for the Army, you have to apply and be selected by an all-Army hiring board, and those results are published through the same channels used to announce command positions.

The challenge is that there's pretty frequent turnover, I'm guessing new leaders every 2-3 years at each college, so you'd have to make this a regular thing.

We'd probably need to pair active duty orienteers to initiate the communication with someone locally willing to support getting an ROTC program involved?
Aug 29, 2019 2:15 PM # 
Close to impossible. Millennials dislike orienteering. As mentioned above club officers must all be students.
Aug 29, 2019 3:39 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Well, good thing Millennials aren't in college anymore.
Aug 30, 2019 2:23 PM # 
For what it's worth, I can share my experience with the Brown University Orienteering Club back in the late eighties. The club existed for 3-4 years and introduced about 100 student and faculty to orienteering. One notable alumnus of the club is Peter Golde of COC (2008 US champ M40 and creator of the PurplePen software).
In my experience, two key success factors were (1) that the organizers were sufficiently experienced to provide orienteering instructions and to organize orienteering exercises, and (2) a good relationship with the local orienteering club with a regular event calendar (NEOC in our case)
Brown Orienteering Club experience:
• Idea from two undergraduates, both with orienteering experience
• Initial information meeting marketed with posters and flyers on campus
- ~40 students showed up
- Showed a quirky Swedish orienteering instruction video (“Thomas – the orienteer”)
- Explained the orienteering map and compass, the competitive side of the sport, and the NEOC event schedule
- Outlined a weekly activity plan with one day running, one day O-technical training, and carpooling to NEOC events on the weekend
• Shortly after the informational meeting, starting sending out regular newsletters with summary of past events, and the upcoming training- and NEOC race schedule. The newsletter was humorously written by creative team members
• Recruited a person to coordinate car pooling
• Solved the initial lack of equipment issue by (1) Borrowing a set of compasses from NEOC, (2) Using campus maps or street maps for orienteering technical training, (3) Homemade control flags (quart milk containers cut in half and spray-painted orange), and (4) Within 6 months, made a simple 5-color orienteering map over a small local park and adjacent streets near the campus. This was heavily used for the weekly O’training
• After the group was recognized as a student activity group, submitted a budget and received ~$800 funding earmarked for (1) equipment purchase, including a set of compasses and real control flags, and (2) gas money for transportation to orienteering events
• Created a large club banner that was prominently displayed at orienteering events
• During this period, college teams were formed at Harvard, MIT, Bates, and other places, and these teams together formed a simple intercollegiate league and a New England Intercollegiate Championship. Also, the club received invaluable support by key NEOC members, including the NEOC-RI contingent at the time.
Aug 30, 2019 2:34 PM # 
nielsOL: The Brown example of the 1980's could serve us well today. Except it is far easier to make those color maps nowadays than it was 30-40 years ago. Key takeaways: only a few keeners needed on campus, help from a nearby O-Club wanted and the student fee money is there for the asking. Thank you for sharing.
Clubs: let's make Adopt-a-College a top goal for 2020.

campbellv: Exactly right as far as two universities in my area go. Both officers in charge were willing to host orienteering events on their campuses. One was a friend of a JROTC leader at one of the few AJROTC schools we had participating. He was a great help but has moved on. The two events we held at his invitation were great.
The other was all willing but I could not get the NJROTC leader in charge of orienteering at the local high school to see the benefit and challenge of urban orienteering. Both universities are large enough to support 1:10,000 ISOM maps.
Yurets: that is an all-too-typical and unhelpful generalization. You will find people in all generations who dislike any particular activity. The key is to find those who will like orienteering and give them the opportunity to participate. By target marketing the colleges and universities I believe we are narrowing in on the most likely demographic to become life-time orienteers and leaders of the sport.
Aug 30, 2019 11:40 PM # 
@gordhun, true you can find exceptional individuals in any generation, yet our generation respected orienteering as a skill useful for land navigation, developing endurance and resilience, all these essential for fighting communists.Being FREE to choose your way between controls developed CRITICAL THINKING. Millennials, on the other hand, embraced socialism and conformism, and view orienteering as a part of lifestyle hostile to them. Although again I've seen individuals defying this generalization.
Aug 31, 2019 1:16 AM # 
Yurets I can't agree with you or argue with you about your generalization about millenials. I don't really know what a millennial is.
However I do agree with the concept that making route choices helps develop critical thinking. It also develops problem solving skills and it is those two closely related traits of orienteering that make it potentially very attractive to university students as well as to parents wanting to see their youngsters learn to think, get outdoors and get exercise.
Aug 31, 2019 12:41 PM # 
Yeah, cause all those ex-Commie and Socialist countries have such weak orienteerers.
Aug 31, 2019 12:46 PM # 
Is there sufficient awareness of orienteering among millennials that we can say the generation even has an opinion on the sport?

If there's that many people who know what orienteering is, then I'd say we're on the right track.
Aug 31, 2019 2:24 PM # 
Why would you feed the trolls??
Aug 31, 2019 6:17 PM # 
@hughmac⁴: Those countries abandoned communism 20 years ago, I hope for good. But some moved here, see one got triggered above.
Sep 2, 2019 10:43 AM # 
riley mcfarlane :
Oi yanks, this is who it's gotta be done.

People up in the IOF have to affiliate with the scummy IOC so that there are huge opportunities for sponsorship money. Once the money is involved, all you gotta do is form the grassroots of the sport, then once the NCAA sees an opportunity for profit, it will handle it from there. Clearly you know how much profit they earned from Zion Williamson in the previous college basketball season, Trae young before that, Lonzo, Simmons, etc, etc.

Clearly this is just a piss-take, I have no idea what you would do.
Sep 7, 2019 2:26 AM # 
@nielsLO: agreeing with gordhun, the Brown club example seems like a great one to use today. With a couple nearby maps, good organization, and support from a local club, I think a college O club would flourish.

@gordhun, I absolutely agree that clubs should sponsor colleges and universities- it's an easy source of potential orienteers to tap into. From my experience, a LOT of college students would be interested in orienteering. I would explain my sport to people, and they'd tell me I should start a club!

The problem at MSU is that the nearest club is COC, a 10 hour drive away. I don't have maps, and I lack the skills to make them. It's also difficult to start a club and introduce a sport at the same time- starting the club involves fun, easy, beginner-friendly maps and courses, and member retention means upping the difficulty as members progress. Add in not having a club, and that means I'm mapping, organizing events, designing multiple courses for varying abilities, setting them, and teaching people all at once, which is difficult in terms of time efficiency and daunting with classes on top. It seems more reasonable to get a group of friends to join in on trainings for a while, and create a club later if enough of those people would be willing to help organize.

TL;DR: If there's a local club: What are we waiting for?! If not: difficult, but doable. Either way, individuals creating the clubs need guidance to get things started.
Sep 7, 2019 7:48 PM # 
I am happy to share more information on the Brown O-Club experience with anyone considering to start a college orienteering club (

@schristoph. Maybe a scaled down O-club ambition could work for MSU. With COC hosting the junior nationals in April 2020, could be fun to have a small team from your school attend. A college campus map can be used for basic sprint-O introduction and there are several North American orienteers who are experienced with making KP maps. If you can identify some suitable terrain with public access in the vicinity of the school, I am sure someone on the Junior or senior national team can check if Lidar data is available and if so, produce a basic map. Good for your own training in any case!
Sep 8, 2019 12:35 AM # 
@schristoph - If you're ok with the quality you can check the TNM download page, to see if there is any lidar and use KP. That makes maps in like 10 min with really good contours and pretty good vegitation.

I would do that if I had the lidar. I depends on how far you want to go also.
Sep 8, 2019 1:03 AM # 
Bozeman Lidar
Sep 8, 2019 9:08 AM # 
The British may have some insights to help. (9-10 AM EDT on Tuesday Sept 10th)
Sep 9, 2019 8:54 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
You HAVE to contact NTNUI orienteering, they consistently send 10+ teams to Tiomila each spring, all the members have to be student or faculty and the club officers are replaced very regularly since the normal study time is 5 years (for an engineering Master). When I grew up I knew that all serious orienteers went to NTH (as it was called at the time), specifically so that they could join the O club at NTHI. :-)
Sep 9, 2019 10:24 AM # 
There are surely more serious orienteers in each freshman class at NTNUI than there are American orienteers of the same age in the entire country who have ever completed an advanced course.
Sep 9, 2019 2:05 PM # 
And my experience being an undergrad at Oxford Uni versus teaching undergrad at Yale and Harvard suggests that students have a lot more free time and European Universities than US ones.
Sep 9, 2019 3:10 PM # 
One thing you can pretty well count on with Attack Point is that for every positive, encouraging comment there will be a couple of folks who think it helpful to throw in a negative.
Who gives a damn how many freshmen there are at NT? What difference does it make that American students are busy? Every enterprise starts with one.
Besides from Florida alone they graduate an estimated 800 students with orienteering experience each year. Some go to colleges, some go to universities, some go to the military and some go to the workforce. All have the potential to become orienteers but very very few get asked. Why? Because we who are in orienteering are not asking, not inviting.
What about those busy American university students? I don't buy it. Tens of thousands of students are already in university playing collegiate sports, or in the band or other activities spending perhaps 2-3 hours/ day outside of their school work on their extra activities. It takes time management but that is not hard.
I have seen it for 50 years in orienteering. We who are heavily involved in the sport neglect to ask others to join us. We are too busy competing across the country to take care of marketing the sport back home.
For example of those clubs returning from the Nationals how many are going to put out a press release and get it in ot the hands of the local media extolling the results by your athletes? Will any of those fine university athletes tell their news-starved campus papers of their fine performances? That is where it starts. Many read it and a few say " That sounds like a neat sport" Someone might say "well I know I can run better than him. I'm going to try it". Before you know it you have started to build a club.
Sep 9, 2019 5:00 PM # 
Wow. Just wow.

Setting up a club single handedly is very very different to turning up to participate a couple of times a week in an organized club structure. My students get sick for two days and then can't catch up for the rest of the semester. They are not incapable or poorly organized, they are overscheduled to within an inch of their lives.

So we're asking our top athletes to train for international competition, pass all their exams so they have a career to go to afterwards, and then somehow start a club from scratch when they are ten hours drive from their nearest center of support? Right yeah. Sounds totally feasible.

As an undergrad at Oxford I had the time to start a School Outreach program that ran successfully for many years. This was with the support of a central Oxford Uni outreach system, not alone. It was worth every second but it was really difficult, even from a large and super enthusiastic student club. Starting a club is a much bigger ask than that.
Sep 9, 2019 5:51 PM # 
Whoa! I'm not aiming this at top athletes. One just was nice enough to respond to this thread and coincidentally I think for example she would benefit from getting a club going on campus.
How benefit? Just like most if not all colleges and universities students pay a recreation fee as part of their tuition payments. A good percentage of that fee gets doled out to student sports clubs - triathlon, rugby, archery, X-C ski, MSU, again for example, so happens to have 27 student oriented sports clubs. Why not make it 28?
The student clubs can hold events and earn additional fees.
The student clubs are not allowed to make a profit so whatever fees are earned can be doled out to help the members with their expenses going to national events.
Is a regular O club needed nearby? Not really except perhaps a club somewhere has some old equipment that can be boxed up and shipped over.
But if you are a member of a club close to a university what could you gain by helping form a university orienteering club? 1) more participation at your events
2) more members in the future and 3) the most important is improved access to the university campus and other grounds they own for events.
Sep 9, 2019 7:21 PM # 
The orienteering world loves you, Terje, and for good reason, but I think it's safe to say the Brown O club is a much more realistic model for getting more than the current tiny amount of orienteering activity at colleges and universities in the US than NTNUI. University O clubs even approaching the level of NTNUI in the US would be a positively utopian achievement, to be aspired to only someday in the future if and when the number of orienteers per 100,000 of population in the US is, for arguments sake, even a quarter that in Norway. As of now (or at least the latest year membership numbers are mentioned in the Wikipedia article), the Norwegian Orienteering Federation has more than 10 times as many members as Orienteering USA in a country with less than 2% of the US population.

ETA: let's think about reaching for the lower hanging fruit and nix the implications that any juniors at any university or college are underachieving if they can't commit to getting a collegiate O club up and running where none now exists, with or without the support of a nearby club. The parallel is hardly exact but I'm reminded of the course setter for the 2005 Russian team trials long distance race blaming the athletes, including the eventual Men's Long Distance champion at WOC, for apparently being out of shape when they failed to meet the target winning times for his courses.
Sep 9, 2019 10:21 PM # 
Love hearing about the Brown club - awesome.

We've just connected with the MIT Outing Club, which has a French orienteer on its board, and I'm hoping we will see some of their members at upcoming NEOC events, and at the CSU sprint series in the spring. Our starting point is that we are collaborating with them to put on two events on the MIT campus this fall, fingers crossed that we get permission from MIT. The MITOC orienteer had already been planning to try and get members to NEOC events prior to our reaching out. By the way, the MITOC is open to anyone, and has lots of young non-MIT 20-somethings who live in the area. They have an exciting schedule of classes and events, taking around 500 people north for winter outings each January.

So... perhaps there is a model of clubs connecting with existing college outing clubs and working on getting some of their members to local club events.
Sep 9, 2019 10:31 PM # 
They are not incapable or poorly organized, they are overscheduled to within an inch of their lives.

Correction: They are incapable AND poorly organized, they are NOT overscheduled by any means at all.
Sep 9, 2019 10:31 PM # 
I went to my first official orienteering event with a couple of other Outing Club members because someone from the local O club had been dropping flyers into the UROC mailbox and the president mentioned the flyers at a meeting. Might never have gotten involved with the sport without that. N=1 but it’s low effort just to invite already outdoorsy people to existing events.
Sep 10, 2019 7:36 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@jtorranc: I do realize that the NTNUI model is not something you can just jump into, it is really hard to "get there from here", but the fact is that we had exactly the same challenges re. students leaving after 4-5 years, i.e. even when you had a very good club president and directors, you _had_ to replace close to 25% of them every year: When we skipped that for 2-3 years in a row, the challenge for the group taking over was really tough.

Your experience when starting a new O group from scratch is probably much more likely to be similar to what happened to me in High School when I decided to start a new diving club (i.e. 1m/3m spring board, not scuba!) together with 2-3 friends: We did this in order to get a few hours/week of training time allocated in the local pool, and we organized weekend training camps with the national champion club an hour away.

I continued this activity in Trondheim but afaik the club I started in Porsgrunn died shortly after all of the founders left.
Sep 10, 2019 12:46 PM # 
Continuity is definitely a problem - there have been a few university clubs in Australia but none have long survived the graduation of their founders. (One thing which doesn't make it easier is that unlike the US and the UK, many Australian students go to university in their home town/city, so there isn't the same culture of organised extra-curricular activities for the most part).

The British webinar is on past my bedtime but I'll be interested to see what comes of it. (Incidentally, Georgia Jones, who's running it, was in Australia for the bulk of her school years before moving to the UK).
Sep 10, 2019 1:55 PM # 
I can't believe it but I gave up a golf game to watch the British webinar on university orienteering clubs and I'm glad I did.
The key takeaways for me were 1) the club needs a good executive BUT few of them need to be orienteers. Treasurer, general secretary, publicity officer, social secretary are important but need not be active orienteers.
Club should have regular schedule but also adapt to the members.
Variety in exercises.
succession planning is very important
Also the British OF has excellent resources on how to start and build a university orienteering club.
Sep 10, 2019 2:24 PM # 
Why would anyone want to be an officer of an orienteering club if they were not an orienteer??? Are you insane? You think college students have time to just go be administrators of clubs they aren't passionate about and participating in?
Sep 10, 2019 2:36 PM # 
Watch the a webinar before you fire off such negativity. It wasn't me that said it but off the top of my head I can think of a couple of reasons for a non-orienteer to work with an O club at university.
1) to help out a friend
2) to use a skill I know I have or I'd want to develop
3) to get another credit for a resume.
4) to get a break from the study routine and/or dorm life

PS No I don't think I or Georgia Jones, the webinar presenter are insane.
Sep 10, 2019 2:39 PM # 
I think they probably meant "not a well established highly trained orienteer" rather than not an orienteer at all. At OUOC we would have brand new members as social officers and treasurers, but the training officer was usually someone with national team level training, for example.

We never had someone as an officer that didn't orienteer at least a bit at any of the Uni clubs I was involved in in the UK over ~10 years.
Sep 10, 2019 2:40 PM # 
*ahem* I became an accounting administrator and assistant to the treasurer for a student volunteer club at University solely so I could obtain relevant work experience in the field of my studies (accounting).

I had absolutely no interest in running volunteer programs, but I saw the value in it as I was slowly exposed to it over the course of my 3 year degree and I gained some real world accounting experience along the way. Those experiences actually lead the way to my first real job.

So yeah... You would be surprised who would do these things as students just to get the experience of it. Accounting. Management. Leadership. Coaching. Much better to learn those skills (for the resume) in an orienteering club than say... the Engineers and Nurses club which was the most popular due to their Legendary Wild Campus Parties. Binge drinking skills don't look good on the CV even Down Under.
Sep 10, 2019 10:18 PM # 
@gordhun has it right based on my experience. Founding a college orienteering club requires one student who is an experienced orienteer that can lead O’instructions, organize training, and guide the team at orienteering events. More student with orienteering experience is great, but not strictly necessary. As the BrownO Club grew, most of the officers were students who got introduced to the sport through the club. They typically showed up at the information meetings we organized at the start of each semester, decided to give it a try, and eventually became active members.

Enthusiasm goes a long, long way. As an example, Brown O Club organized (with the support of NEOC) the 1989 Troll Cup 2-day A-meet, and the Event Director was an undergraduate student who had been introduced to the sport only two years earlier. College students then and today are still doing extracurricular activities, and as @gordhun and @barb mention, if orienteering is available on campus, chances are that some students will try it. Sounds to me like a worthwhile effort to expand participation in our sport...
Sep 18, 2019 2:01 AM # 
Becks, I think you are mostly right, but I will say that at Leeds am pretty sure we had some club officers who had not orienteered before coming to Leeds. Secretary was one, I think, social secretary (crucial position!) was another. We did have quite a few experienced orienteers also, of course. This was back when you could just charge one pound to join the club, and a few pounds to ride in the mini-bus (van to you NA folk) and go to a local event. We had weekly training (somewhat well attended, organized by a grad student/coach), and once or twice weekly social events (mostly involving pubs). Those got the best attendance. Still, it brought in newcomers.

But then it got harder to form clubs, I'm told. Insurance and fees to the national student sports organization went up, and a lot of clubs dwindled and disappeared (Brits, please correct me if I'm wrong, I've been back in the US for a while now).

When I think back to the Pennsylvania outing club and all their risk assessment, insurance hassles, and challenges that were being discussed about a year ago ... I wonder if it really is as easy at all US colleges and universities to start a club.

Also, I agree with Becks that (having been a student in both the US and the UK, albeit a few decades ago), I had significantly more free time when I was studying in the UK than I did when I was studying in the US. And there were more local events, and they were closer, and grad students could drive the mini-bus.

For the US now, existing clubs reaching out to college outing clubs seems like a straightforward and low cost (time, energy, money) place to start. Like direct mail ads and spam calls ... if it is cheap and easy, it doesn't matter if only a small percentage respond, it is still worth it.

This discussion thread is closed.