Student Activities Commission Fair has come and gone, and students have received at least a small taste of extracurricular life on campus. But to the new student who has an inspiring idea for a club or wants to create a new service trip – not so fast.

As with many aspects of campus life, SAC and the five other advisory boards in charge of student groups have made starting a new campus club a cumbersome and difficult affair. This is surprising considering we live on a campus that likes to extol the diversity of both its student body and its student clubs (everything from the Georgetown University Grilling Society to Gospel Choir). While it is true that there are many student organizations, there is definitely room for more.

What should be a streamlined process is instead a convoluted maze. There is a lot of work required by each advisory board before they grant your proposed club access to the Georgetown name and the benefits that come from being a university-sanctioned group. These obstacles can be daunting, especially when paired with the 15 to 18 credits the average Hoya takes on each semester.

In talking with two members of SAC’s board, it turns out that, at least for all clubs hoping to become SAC groups, the process is meant to be somewhat arduous.

“It’s not easy, but it’s not necessarily supposed to be an easy process,” Alex Daubert (NHS ’09), vice chair of SAC, said in reference to the year-long period potential SAC groups go through before receiving university funding.

Sophia Behnia (COL ’09), chair of SAC, explained that the reason behind the more complicated club-forming process is to make sure that “each and every club that [they] do add is actually a unique club.” She went on to say that they “want to make sure that clubs don’t die out within a year of becoming a club” after the founding members graduate. Since this had been a problem in the past, SAC reexamined its procedure for granting budding clubs funding to make sure that the new clubs would be sustainable.

It still seems, however, that the process could be simplified. Just because a proposed club’s mission statement resembles an existing club’s doesn’t mean that the newer club should be denied funding. Especially when considering service-oriented groups who could have the same mission statement but work with different subsets of the population or in different areas, their work would be equally valid and equally deserving of adequate funding.

Also, some of the most unusual, “unique” clubs might be those whose purpose would be to entertain a select group of students for only a few years. A club doesn’t necessarily need to survive to see the next century to make it a valid group now. The Croquet Club and the Medieval Club certainly add diversity to the university’s offerings, and who’s to say that a pirate club or a hookah appreciation society, though they may only last for a year or two, wouldn’t add something different to the usual array of tables in Red Square or Copley Lawn?

SAC, CSJ and the other advisory boards should encourage students to found new clubs, not only for the sake of our campus but also to further encourage individual student growth and learning. Starting clubs fosters an entrepreneurial spirit and strong leadership skills. The advisory boards need to realize that red tape and delays only serve to detract from students’ potential to bring creativity and productivity to the Georgetown student body.

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