If so, then you might want to consider starting an IDEA Club Chapter at your high school or university!
First off, let me answer a commonly asked question:
The answer? "NO! Definitely not!"
The important qualifications for starting an IDEA Club chapter include:
1) Having a genuine desire to start an IDEA Club to promote awareness of the scientific evidence supporting intelligent design.
2) Having an interest in intelligent design and origins issues, and a willingness to learn more.
3) Having a desire and commitment to using these issues to educate and outreach to your fellow students, campus, or community.
4) IDEA Club leaders must advocate the scientific theory of intelligent design in the fields of biology and physics/cosmology.
Note: There are no requirements regarding the religious beliefs of IDEA Club leaders or founders. (Indeed, there are currently IDEA Club leaders who are not Christians.)
It is definitely not necessary to "be an expert" to start and run a successful a club. It is helpful to be familiar with the basics of intelligent design theory, but if you're not, that's where the IDEA Center hopes to step in and help educate you so you can in turn educate others. Where ever you feel like you might need help--whether its science, leadership skills, or practical tips for running the club--that's where the IDEA Center wants to step in an help you. We try to help give any club founder all the tools they might need to start and run a succesful club and help promote a better understanding of the origins issue at their schools. If you are interested, but hesitant because you think you lack what is needed--give us an e-mail! We want to help you!
There are 7 easy steps involved with starting an IDEA Club Chapter, from what happens right now to when you have your club's first meeting:
Step 1: Take a look at our mission statement.
The first step in starting an IDEA Club chapter is to take a look at our mission statement and see if you agree. Our mission statement is as follows: The mission of the IDEA Center is:
Step 2: Contact us!
Feel free to e-mail Casey Luskin at email@example.com) who heads the IDEA Club Chapter program, to express your interest in starting a club and / or ask answer any questions you might have about IDEA Clubs. We're here to help you and answer any of your questions.
Once you contact us, we will send you an IDEA Club Leadership Manual which contains everything you would need to know about how to start and run a successful IDEA Club.
Step 3: Fill out an IDEA Club Founder Application / Information Form:
When you receive the Leadership Manual, it will contain a very brief IDEA Club Founder Application / Information Form. Simply send it back to us, and we will immediately let you know when you are approved to start a club.
After contacting us, you should inquire at your school about how to start a student organization. Almost all high schools or universities--whether public, private, religous, or secular--allow students to form their own student-run clubs. Legally speaking, under the Equal Access Act, if a school receives any funding from the federal government, then if it allows any student organizations, a school cannot prevent students from forming any type of organization and granting them "equal access" to campus facilities as all other campus student groups (provided that the student organization does not suppress the rights of others).
Typically, schools require that student organizations have a constitution, a core-group of officers, that they abide by campus community rules, and sometimes require a faculty advisor. Contact your school's administration today and find out what is necessary to start a student club! Please note that IDEA Clubs are usually best catagorized as educational, scientific, or academic, as the purpose of the club is to foster education and intellectual discussion over these issues.
Step 5: Find some friends to help.
The next step is finding a few friends to help you with the club. While it is possible to run a club by yourself, it helps to have others to give not only practical hands-on help, but also advice, feedback, and the occasional encouraging word. While one person can assume the primary responsibililty for running the club, a core group of 2-4 people is probably necessary to make any IDEA Club successful. This core group can form your "leadership team."
Step 6: Receive the Startup Packet and Sign the Chapter Charter.
After we approve your Founder Application, we'll send you an IDEA Club Startup Packet containing a large amount of materials you can use at your club, and a Chapter Charter to officially establish your club. Once you sign the Chapter Charter, your IDEA Club is an official chapter of the IDEA Center!
Step 7: Start the Club, Prepare and Publicize!
The final thing to do is to do what is necessary to officially start the club at your school. Once you have done that, you can get ready to have some meetings!
Take some time to decide what your club will do during its first semester. It is helpful if the leadership team can come up with a gameplan--a calendar of events or weekly topics for discussion. While all the planning doesn't have to be done before the club first forms, it helps to have at least a basic idea of what sorts of topics you will cover, activities you will do, and speakers you will host before the you get started. The IDEA Club Leadership Manual has many tips and ideas about how to plan to have a successful club.
To have meetings, you will also need to reserve meeting rooms: Most schools allow student groups to use classrooms or meeting rooms for their gatherings. A small meeting room or classroom which holds 20 to 40 people is ideal for an IDEA Club meeting. Find out how to reserve these rooms, and reserve a few for your first meetings!
Finally, it is time to start publicizing the club. The IDEA Center provides all IDEA Club Chapters with 2' x 4' high quality vinyl "IDEA Club sign." The rest is up to you: with just a little effort, create a few posters, flyers, and put them up in classrooms, quads, eating areas, dorms, or other common places around campus. Here is where it is great to have a few friends to help--with good help, putting up a few flyers around campus requires very little effort.
If your school has a campus newspaper, or student e-mail announcement list, try to get an article or advertisement.
Are you interested? You can do it!
If you are interested in starting an IDEA Club, it's easy and you can do it. IDEA Center staff are here to help you get your club started at every step of the way. Furthermore, once your club forms, we want to help by providing materials and resources through which you can run a successful club. In closing, here's a quick review of the steps involved in starting an IDEA Club:
1. Have an interest and agreement with IDEA's misson statement.
2. Contact us to request an IDEA Club Leadership Manual and IDEA Club Founder Application.
3. Fill out an IDEA Club Founder Application / Information Form.
4. Talk to your school about how to start club on your campus.
5. Find a some of friends to help you.
6. Receive the Startup Packet and Sign the charter.
7. Start the club, plan some meetings, and publicize your club!
We'd like to help you with each of these steps and answer any questions or concerns you might have. If you have questions coments, concerns, or interest in starting an IDEA Club, please contact Casey Luskin at "firstname.lastname@example.org". Thanks for reading and best wishes to you!
If you would more information about starting an IDEA Club, please contact Casey Luskin at email@example.com.