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Congratulations on wanting to start a college paintball club. Before you start getting down to business, here are some things to keep in mind:
Evaluate your school's demographicsEdit
Your school most likely falls into one of three categories:
- Small (<1500 students)
- Medium (1500 - 10,000 students)
- Large (10,000+ students)
Each size has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, at a small school it is much easier to get the word out about your club. If you count all of your friends and all of their friends' friends you have pretty much covered the whole school. However, the smaller number of students can work against you as you can very easily find everyone that wants to play paintball at your school and still only have 4 people.
On the other hand, at medium and large schools it can be very difficult to ensure that every person that would want to play knows about your club. For example, at Rutgers University, there have been numerous examples of people that played amateur level paintball while attending four years of school and they had no idea there was paintball club. The positive of larger schools is that you have a relatively large pool of people that want to play paintball and may eventually want to join a club.
Many schools already have some kind of paintball related activity going on. For example, dorm preceptors/resident advisors sometimes organize paintball trips as do student government associations, church groups, ROTC etc. If you can find one of these activities and speak to the organizer and/or tag along then you can a) gain some good information about local fields and b) probably find some people who would be willing to join your club.
Find a local field nearbyEdit
It is very difficult to run a successful college paintball club without a good local field. Many schools do not allow students to have cars on campus as freshmen or sophomores so having a field within easy driving distance is very important. Keep in mind, in the long run, it may be better to go to a field that is farther way that is better than going to the closest field. Having a good relationship with your local field owner will pay big dividends in the future.
Determine your school's attitude towards hunting/shooting/ROTCEdit
Paintball is obviously very different from all of the above mentioned. However, there is still a stereotype that all paintballers are "military oriented". While it is possible to start a club at a school in a anti-gun state (e.g. Rutgers University purchased paintball equipment even before there was a club), your life will be made much easier if you judge the school's stance.
Once you determine their thoughts on paintball, you can then construct a well thought out case. For example, one school in the north east had the head of the state's pro-gun control organization as their sports clubs adviser. As can imagined, they had a difficult time getting their club up and running.
Find out who to talk and what to do at your school in order to start a clubEdit
Every school has a procedure for starting a new club. These procedures can be slightly different for regular (e.g. Young Republicans) versus sports (e.g. baseball, field hockey etc) so you need to do some research/homework. Also, finding the right person is key. This can be much harder at large schools with a big bureaucracy however sometimes at small schools there may not even be a person whose full time position is entirely dedicated to running clubs.
Once you figure out the procedure and the right people follow it to the letter! Eventually, how much money you get, access to facilities, leniency if problems arise and just general club operation will be much, much easier if you have a good working relationship with your adviser. In the beginning you may be tempted to "cut corners" in order to get your club up and running. Do not do this! If your adviser ever finds out that you did this it may permanently ruin your chances of having a successful college paintball club.