Starting a Delegation
Every TISL delegation was once a new delegation. Even if your college had a delegation last year, you might be rebuilding this year and effectively starting from square one.
The steps to form a new delegation are straight-forward and easily accomplished with pro-active leadership. TISL delegations at other colleges and other student organizations on your campus have done this many times before.
Bases you will need to cover:
- Recruiting delegates
- Finding your place as a student organization
- Adviser, if required
Every task will be easier if you start by recruiting other delegates to help with everything else. You don't have to start with a full delegation, but a few friends and allies will make the tasks easier. Once you have a core group, you can plan together and share the effort.
Recruiting is an ongoing process, even for established delegations. Attracting new members every year is very important. We have an entire page with recruiting ideas and strategies.
Finding money to pay your delegation's expenses can vary from easy to difficult, depending on your college. We have a variety of funding ideas on a page devoted to the subject. Click here for funding ideas.
Finding Your Place As A Student Organization
Every TISL delegation is officially attached to its college. The best solution for your delegation depends on your college and its policies. This is a decision for your delegation to make; any of these options are OK with TISL.
- Affiliate with your student government association. When it's possible, this is often one of the easiest methods because you will benefit from the SGA infrastructure (constitution, adviser, etc.). TISL is often a natural fit with SGA because both activities focus on public policy, governmental processes and leadership. SGAs often have a budget for this type of activity, too.
- Start by contacting someone you know in student government, even if she's not the top dog. An existing relationship, if you have one, is a better starting point. Otherwise, contact the SGA president or another officer.
- Affiliate with an academic department. Political science is the first obvious option, but history, criminal justice, paralegal or mass communications are also possibilities. As a departmental activity, you'll probably enjoy assistance with administrative matters, funding and dealing with the college bureaucracy, and you'll probably have an adviser provided.
- Start by meeting with a professor to discuss the idea and get advice. It might be a professor in a department that could sponsor your delegation or it might be a professor you know who can advise you about good strategies for approaching a department.
- Create an independent campus organization. This option will give you more freedom in running your delegation, but it will probably require more work to set up and perpetuate.
Creating an independent campus organization
The details for creating an independent organization depend on your college, but typically you will need to complete these steps:
- Contact the office of student affairs for guidelines about starting an independent organization.
- Write a constitution. A good constitution, at a minimum, includes:
- Quorum: minimum number of people present for an official meeting
- Officers: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer are the minimum. Your delegation might add other positions such as Second Vice President, Chaplain or Deputy Secretary.
- Term of office, which is typically one year. The end of the term should also be specified; Dec. 31 is a good choice.
- Procedure for electing officers, including notifying members and a time period for elections. Many delegations choose December so that everyone in the delegation the previous month can vote, including those who might be gone by January.
- Steps to amend the Constitution.
Advisers might be helpful or advisers might sign the forms and forget about you.
The best advisers provide savvy advice without getting heavily involved. This is a relationship that will be driven by the culture of your college, the tendencies of your adviser and your openness to assistance.
If you ask a professor or administrator to be your adviser, you should talk about what he expects from the delegation and what the delegation expects from him.
Advisers are welcome at the General Assembly, but they aren't required to attend.
Information for Advisers