Photo by Mariah Wilson

What makes a club successful

By Sophia Lopez, December 9 2019 —

With over 300 clubs at the University of Calgary, there are many that have been able to commit to their goals and manage to stay a successful club.

But what makes a club successful? That question was answered in detail by some of the most popular and diverse clubs at the University of Calgary.

UCalgary Fashion Network founder and president Elizabeth Dayo said, “I think what makes a club successful is a shared vision. When people of similar interests come together and share a common vision of pursuit towards a collective goal, there is a sense of real commitment. And with this focus on the shared vision, success ultimately means the same for everyone involved. In addition to having this collective goal, it is also quite important to be able to communicate this strong purpose to members of the general public, to instill the same motivating drive in them. This is a key aspect of how we get our club to appeal to others.”

Ibrahim Oshodi, VP marketing for the U of C Improv Club, said that it’s important to keep the idea of a “club” maintained so that it can keep on growing past the current executive team.

“The best way to keep a club active is to react to both the members within it and attracting members outside of it,” Oshodi said. “The best way I seem to do that is the idea of making experiences, not events. People are always going to have something to do, so you have to try to bring people in whether that be inactive members, active members or even new people, with experiences they can’t have in any other place — making events that members haven’t thought of doing yet, taking them out of their comfort zone a bit but be able to guide them in that way.” 

“What I think is making our club thrive right now is our organization,” responded Kathryn Strayer, member of the UCalgary Dance Company (UCDC). “We are always trying to stay on top of our practices and our events and making sure that all of our members are always aware of what is happening in the future. Also, what I think is important for a club’s success is making sure that you have a clear, defined purpose, and that all of your initiatives and all of your events are always working towards that purpose. So for us, that is team spirit in the Dinos community, as well as just helping out our neighbours.”

Another UCDC member, Shaelene Standing, continued, “I think what’s really important in order to appeal to others is to aim a club at a specific niche within the U of C community that is one that will be very supportive of each other and excited to partake in different opportunities. As well as ensuring your club is very inclusive, not only for its members but, for us, we perform at Dinos games, to ensure that even people who aren’t necessarily on the club are benefiting from what we are putting ourselves out to do. In order to keep ourselves active, we just ensure we take every opportunity we can, and stay on top of everything and really just never turn down a fellow dancer or a fellow U of C student.”

Carly Jahelka, president of the UCalgary Consent Awareness & Sexual Education (CASE) Club, offered that what makes CASE successful is their team that all carry similar values of ending sexual violence through focusing on potential perpetrators instead of potential victims. 

“I also think that building trust and personal relationships within a club is crucial by making connections with individual members,” she remarked. “I have gained so many friends and that’s allowed me to have more fun and more openness within my executive team.

“It also is important to remember that as a club taking a stand against sexual violence,” Jahelka continued. “It is crucial to take care of ourselves and our basic needs before the needs of our club. So to stay active — essentially summed up — we need to make sure we put time into self-care, because if we are all burnt out as individuals we are not going to be able to do the work that we need to do as a club and to help the people affected by sexual violence in any way, shape or form if we ourselves are not healthy both emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.”

UC Baking Club co-president Kayleigh Yang said, “Probably one of the biggest things that I think is necessary for a club to be successful is to have continuous improvement. So, just taking your members’ ideas and your exec members’ ideas and making sure that you’re able to actually improve on them and hold better events in the future based on the feedback that you receive from them. I think that having events consistently spaced throughout the year and having at least one event every month really helps in making sure that your member base is staying with you in the long-term.”

“I think that one of the most important things for having a successful club is to have low commitment events, and to just work around people’s schedules and be flexible with people’s extremely busy schedules in this semester. And to overall just to have fun, and do things that make you and your team happy.”

These clubs take pride in their ideas, as well as strive to improve their clubs every year. Collectively, the idea of being inclusive and creating a comfortable, accepting environment for the members of the club, as well as showing this idea publicly in order to draw more people in, is a priority for the clubs above. These clubs, as well as others around campus, are always seeking to gain more members and expand themselves. 


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