Roosevelt chapters are the beating heart of our network. Chapters are where people and ideas come together, the places where Roosevelters learn, train, support, and take action on the ideas that matter. And at the core of chapters are the people -- members who dedicate their time, energy, and resources to challenge America to live up to the values set in place by FDR and Eleanor.
Roosevelters believe that it matters who writes the rules. So, it matters who is in your chapter. Successful recruitment and retention helps build the power of your Roosevelt chapter, bringing in and supporting new voices in the policy process.
Our approach to recruitment and retention includes core principles to consider when building a chapter that is inclusive to people from different backgrounds, grounded in the importance of equity and inclusion. Here are three key things to do and think about before you execute on recruitment tactics.
Look Inward First
Essential questions: “Who is not in the room? Who is in the room, but not at table?” To be more thoughtful of how you invite people to bring their full selves to your chapter, you have to take stock of whether your chapter leadership, membership, and resources reflect different lived experiences.
Build Relationships of Solidarity, not Just Co-Hosts Lists
Essential questions: Are you partnering with diverse student organizations and community partners? Are you building relationships or just building a list of event co-hosts? Whether it’s working with another student organization to analyze equitable residential housing policies or just providing bodies for different actions, building relationships of solidarity is essentially about showing up consistently when your partners need you and how they need you.
Go out, Instead of (continuously) Inviting In
Essential questions: Are you meeting folks where they are? Examine existing recruitment events and chapter activities. Are you constantly inviting them into your “space”? Or are you meeting them where they feel most comfortable and most engaged?
Tabling & Organization Fairs:
Play a Roosevelt video or display images in the background to grab attention
Hand out palm cards or flyers with meeting time and blurb about what Roosevelt @ YOUR SCHOOL does
Have candy or Roosevelt swag at your table so people will come talk to you
Make sure to have examples of projects, meetings or impact that people can engage with
Network with departments and professors and explain Roosevelt and your chapter to them
Ask professors if you can make announcements at the beginning of their class sessions and leave meeting information on the chalkboard
Advertise on Campus:
Put posters & flyers in residence halls, cafeterias, student centers, and classrooms
Use sidewalk chalk to advertise your events (look into university policy)
Get press in your campus newspaper, or other campus blogs with high circulation rates
Collaborate with other student organizations
Host organizations and students in a debate or round table discussion about relevant topics on campus
Get professors or established members of your university to talk on a panel
Host an “Intro to Roosevelt” mixer or social event
Host an event where each member is asked to bring a friend or classmate with them
Roosevelt @ Wake Forest – In light of a growing racial justice and anti- sexual assault student movements on campus, Roosevelt@Wake Forest went through a series of chapter leadership discussions that identified that while their chapter leadership was more diverse, their chapter membership wasn’t reflective of the rich lived experiences of their campus nor local community. Among the results was the use of more inclusive language in talking about Roosevelt. Roosevelt@Wake Forest became a space for student-driven policy and social change, instead of “a think and do tank”, which allowed them to more easily connect students of color and student-led justice movements.
Roosevelt @ American – From building policy change with their LGBTQIA student group to convening their J-Street student organization and their Palestinian Rights student group, Roosevelt@American U foregrounds the question of how can Roosevelt support you in their partnerships. They’ve identified themselves as convener for various campus justice movements.