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How to Start a SASI Chapter

The following materials are designed to help you with the process of forming a Student Animals and Society Institute (SASI) chapter.

The specifics of forming a chapter will vary somewhat depending on your school’s requirements for student groups. The below materials will help you navigate this process and understand ASI’s requirements. Please contact Margo DeMello with any questions, and we’d be happy to set up a meeting to discuss with you more details. We also have a customizable logo that we will send you when you are ready–you can add in your university name and even customize it with your university’s colors! We also have a brochure that you can use in your outreach events. Just email Margo DeMello and we’ll get you what you need.

1. Put the Word Out
Talk to a variety of students: resident students, off-campus students, student government, and every other person you come into contact with on campus. You will find that there are other students interested in helping or studying animals. It is a good idea to make use of on-campus newsletters, bulletin boards, media, and events to reach out to other students. You may also look into whether there is an existing student group with similar goals. Making an announcement at a student animal rights, environmental, or other social justice group also helps to spread the word about your new SASI.

uofmichiganbooth2. Administration Requirements
a) What applications and approvals are necessary?
b) Does your school require faculty sponsorship?
Check with your school administration as to what requirements there are for on-campus students groups. Some schools require clubs or students groups to adopt by-laws. Even if not required, by-laws or a mission statement can help provide a foundation to solidify your membership and carry your group through various changes. We have created sample by-laws for you to reference or copy as needed.

3. Student Animals and Society Institute (SASI) Chapter Requirements
To be affiliated with the Animals and Society Institute (ASI), a student organization must:

  1. be a recognized student group or club within their school.
  2. incorporate the following mission statement in its bylaws or constitution:
    To provide a forum for education and scholarship aimed at understanding the complex and multi-dimensional relationships between humans and other animals.
  3. include ASI in any chapter e-mail lists.
  4. have at least two active members.
  5. incorporate the name “Student Animals and Society Institute” in the chapter name.
  6. have a faculty advisor.
  7. create a Facebook page.

4. Organize a Meeting
When planning a first meeting, it is helpful to hold two general interest meetings at two different times in order to accommodate more students. However informal the meeting may be, it is important to have a clear agenda. Communicate that purpose at the start of the meeting and on the notices so people will arrive knowing why it is important for them to spend some time at your meeting.

Your first meeting can help to attract other students and to announce your plans to form a chapter. To broaden your potential audience and to reduce the pressure for you to entertain for the entire meeting, you could plan your first gathering as a vegetarian potluck, a screening of a video, or invite a guest speaker. ASI would be happy to provide you with brochures and newsletters to
hand out at your meetings. You may also want to create your own materials.

ASI would also be happy to send someone to your first meeting to speak to you about what we do, what you could do, and about human-animal studies. Just let us know and we’d be happy to come!

5. Let ASI Know About Your Group
We will post the information about your group on the ASI SASI webpage, and, if you form a Facebook group for your chapter, will repost your postings on the ASI SASI Facebook page.

6. Lead Your Group to Success
Once you have a group established and a core membership in place, it is a good idea to discuss your goals as a group. Keep in mind that goals should be reasonable and attainable given the number of members you have and your available time. Goals should be both challenging so that they are rewarding to achieve, but also realistic to avoid discouragement. Once you have settled on reasonable goals, develop a project or two that are steps toward those goals. We have put together some ideas that you may want to pursue for some of those projects.

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