O’week coming up – what’s your plan?

Hi Uni Groups!

One of my favourite parts about starting the new year was being on Orientation Week stalls – the colours, the excitement of new students eager to make friends and be stimulated, the free things, catching up with friends.

If you haven’t already gotten onto it – you may miss out if you don’t book a spot soon!

Usually all clubs get a stall to promote their activities and recruit members during O’week.

Why is running a stall at O’week important?

1) It’s the first event where are allowed to actively recruit people on campus, so they’ll all be there, don’t miss out!

2) Is always a big recruitment drive for your contact list

3) EVERY CONVERSATION MATTERS! You have a captive audience of new, mostly young students who are mostly bored of holidays, excited and apprehensive to find friends, new interests, pursue the interests that make them different, and in many cases – genuinely make a difference!  Use this beautiful power and give them one of the most welcome and honest interactions they can have during this week! Make them feel welcome to the university, in your group, and let them know that this is a group they can have friends, learn extra skills, have fun, and make a difference.

4) I’ve often met some of the most active and interesting people during O’week

5) It’s a time to promote your first meeting / educational event / action etc!

6) Good time to network with other clubs – also passionate beings for their own causes.  Many groups might be your allies, whether you all have similar goals for human rights, environment and ending poverty – these are ones you should target first when it comes to purchasing ethcially themselves for their club and events.  Other clubs like religious ones are good to connect with.  Film Clubs, Health Society, Sport Clubs, Fashion students… whatever they are they probably have teeshirts? pub crawls? sports balls? facilities? meetings? events? You can later on use nicely made connections to hook them up with more information and easy options… I digress…;-) 

7) It’s also a good time to network with other uni ‘beings’ that are important – union and student representatives, event organisers, ask them how they recruit volunteers for O’week, businesses, faculties etc.

Here’s my top tips for running stalls, please share and add your own!

1) ORGANISING IT

You’ll probably need to book a spot – it may be too late but if you haven’t, get onto it with your Clubs association, union or whoever else is organising club stalls! If you miss out, maybe the Sustainability Staff will let you join in with whatever they do!

Use Doodle Scheduler to get your volunteers to allocate what time they are available so they can see what times need more people on the stall. Having at least 2 people is good, but 3-4 is better! More conversations. Just make sure you chat to new people, and not just to each other!

2) DRESSING YOUR STALL

There could be a hundred stalls, so why are people going to come to you?  You will probably get a generic space and table, so make it your own within your limitations! Various techniques include:

use colour – make yourself seen from 100m away!

decorate – make sure at the very least you have a table cloth – hide the bags and mess that accumulates under the trestle table! Bunting is cool, and you can theme it – for example we made some rad bunting out of old promo material for Fairly Educated Conference! Fair trade celebrates preservation of cultures, so why not pool together your fair trade things and display them?

paraphenalia – most Fairtrade / Fair Trade flyers, reports, postcards, posters etc are quite colourful – use them to decorate. You could maybe get some free stuff from www.fairtrade.com.au

3) DRAWING PEOPLE IN

free samples – a classic for O’week stalls, but instead of tacky lollies with lots of wrappers like the other clubs, you can give out pieces of delicious Fairtrade chocolate, iced / hot tea samples, dukkah and bread… Oxfam always has a range of options if you get stuck and want to try something new!  We’ve made badges in the past, they are pretty popular! 

develop a few opening lines that aren’t intimidating or boring – Have a few catch phrases that you can use to bring people over to your stall – Here’s some examples

  • “Hello,do you want some iced tea?”
  • “Hey, come join a club that makes change across the world”
  • “Hi there, did you know our uni is a Fair Trade Uni – amazing! let me tell you about that while you munch on some choccie”

Probably not kinda politely attacky like this: “Hey there, do you know the teeshirt you’re wearing perpetuates modern day slavery and a capitalistic society based on corporate greed?”

4) KEEPING THEM THERE – THE CONVERSATION

  • Be natural, do the ‘banter’ thing and chat about the summer holidays, what they’re studying, and relate your club to that!
  • Ask them questions and try to find out a link to your club, or one of the principles of fair trade (ie science – environmental and evidence based nature… geography – agricultural practices, engineering – basic structures to help communities, arts / humanities – everything social, teaching – amazing opportunity to teach kids about making a difference, opportunities to volunteer overseas etc)
  • When it gets down to explaining what your club is, what Fair Trade is, keep it simple!
  • What is your club?  What activities do you typically do? What are your achievements? Fun/horrid facts about the uni and fair trade or lack of?
  • If they seem interested, Talk about the Fairly Educated movement – there’s people all over country doing great things, and we have an awesome conference in July holidays every year and meet rad people!
  • Make sure you let them ask questions if they want, they might know heaps about fair trade (winnninnnnng!) or they might be starting to yawn…. so read them like a non-obtrusive halk!
  • Remember that cos you’re a social justice stall, they’ll probably assume that you’re a nice person. (win)
  • But they also may be wary you are doing a spiel to draw them in, to sign a petition, etc and that’s it

5) USE PROPS AND HANDOUTS

Some really useful resources that people like are:

6) THE ASK

What is it that you want from them?

Do you have one solid campaign you are working on? are you going to target one sector this year?

Are you open to ideas and involving new people into what the group becomes?

What is it that your members / vollies / team get out of being involved? friends? skills? meeting diverse like-minded people, being part of a huge movement to end poverty!

  • name on mailing list
  • a photo pledge that they’ll buy fairtrade on campus
  • a photo with blackboard of them and their idea of a fair world
  • take a flyer with details about social media, first event
  • to fill out basic application form for being involved (gather basic contact details, what their passions and talents are, what skills they might want to get better at – and list a few to prompt, ie making videos, social media, public speaking); any involvement they have had with social justice at all
  • A petition, action, or information on your first campaign
  • You might be challenging them to take action in their lives, to question their own shopping behaviours, but in an enlightening way, not patronising!

Alrighty, I hope these are useful, feel free to share and post your own ideas and photos!

 FTC 2014 stall Anti-poverty week