Interested as a clergyman or lay person in getting something started on a campus near you? Here are a few helpful tips.
An OCF chapter just isn’t an OCF chapter until you have student participation and student leadership! Here are a few tips on finding and attracting students on your local campus:
- Contact us to see if we have a list of names from our First Forty Days Initiative for students at your college.
- Some colleges will allow local clergy to access student information regarding religious affiliation through their campus ministry program. Find out if this is the case on your campus.
- Find out if there are any “Orthodox ethnic” organizations on your campus or a strong international student presence, and make connections with those students.
- Let us know that you are interested in starting a chapter. We will post a notification on our Official OCF Facebook Page. This will alert Orthodox students on your campus as well as their parents and priests. We will also connect you with our network of district and regional leaders to help you find support in your ministry, share ideas, and identify resources.
- Set up a Facebook group for your potential chapter with local contact information and outreach programs.
- Identify other Orthodox leaders in the area that might be willing to assist you in your outreach by providing space, skills, resources, meals, etc. to attract students. Remember that OCF is a pan-Orthodox ministry, so involving local Orthodox from various jurisdictions is always a plus.
- Plan a kick off event, preferably on campus, to make connections with students. Advertise for the event via Facebook, email, flyers, etc.
- Offer food. No, really. And while ordering pizzas is great, nothing beats a home-cooked meal when you eat in the cafeteria everyday.
- Remember that OCF is a ministry for students, led by students. Seek out a student leader who can create a vision and direction for the year and work to support their goals, mentor them with the knowledge, experience, and skills you have, and offer them a constant connection with the local Orthodox community.
Working with the College
Every campus is different and has different requirements for their on campus student organizations. You will need to contact your school’s Student Activities or Campus Ministry offices to learn more about the procedure for starting an organization and what resources exist for registered organizations. However, here are some general guidelines so you know what to ask:
- Typically, only registered organizations have access to on campus spaces, communication resources, funds, etc.
- Some campuses offer automatic funding and bank accounts for organizations while others require applications.
- Typically, the registration process requires leaders to go through some sort of training as well as turn in certain documents.
- Find out what the school’s posting policy is regarding flyers, tables, and other means of advertising.
- Find out when the student activities/ministry fair(s) are so that OCF can have a table set up. This is an essential part of building a chapter on campus and will attract Orthodox and non-Orthodox students alike.
Once you have taken some of these steps and have identified a student leadership team, it’s time to be made an officially chartered OCF chapter through the National Office.