Starting a Restoring Eden Group
*Clubs can bring a previously ignored message to campus. Most Christian ministries don’t often discuss the importance of environmental stewardship within the Christian community, while many environmental clubs do not mention God while working to protect creation.
*Restoring Eden is distinct because we can do both. Our group can work to raise the salience of environmental stewardship in the Christian community, while also building a bridge between the Christian ministries and the environmental clubs on campus. We fill a niche that has not been touched upon.
*Every college and university has different requirements that you must follow in order to form a group or club.
*First, find one or two other interested people and divide the tasks.
*Creating a group often requires filling out forms, having a certain number of members to begin with, and providing an explanation as to why your club is representing something that has been unfulfilled.
*Many groups host weekly or bi-weekly meetings. Some find monthly meetings too far apart for community to develop. Do note that though meetings can help increase community, too many meetings can also burn members out.
*If you choose to have bi-weekly or monthly meetings, you may want to have extra meetings with just the group leaders.
*Try to keep your meeting times and place consistent.
Your meetings can focus on several things:
*Brainstorm and plan for future events. Try to spread out tasks among members.
*Have time for Bible studies and prayer. You can study scripture that focuses on creation, and discuss your role as Christians to care for the earth. Be creative.
*Use some of your meetings to have fun and build community. Watch an environmental movie or throw a potluck.
When forming a group, don’t be nervous if you only have a small membership to begin with. It’s ok to start out small. Just a couple of committed individuals can help make a strong group.
Overtime though, it is important to build your membership.
Host a table at events
*Look for opportunities to table- at events, info fairs, festivals, etc. It's important to get out in the center of campus so people know you exist.
*Have hand outs for people to take if they are interested- such as biblical scriptures, fact sheets, and information about upcoming events.
*Have handouts about group meeting times and location, as well as a way to get in touch with the group.
*Put out Restoring Eden bumper stickers, posters, anything that will draw people to your table. Having a donation jar on the table can also help raise money for your group.
*Most importantly, have a sheet for people to sign up if they are interested in more information about your group. Try to collect their emails, home and school addresses, and phone number.
Online community groups
*Create an online group on websites like Facebook.
*On your group page, give an explanation of your group, upcoming events, and your meeting time and place.
*You could also post scriptures or questions for people to think about.
Connect with other groups
*Work to connect yourself with other campus ministries and environmental groups in the area. If you can establish a relationship with these groups, you can work together to make your message stronger, as well as reach out to more people.
*Contact these groups and ministries and tell them what the purpose of your group is. Ask if they would be interested in building a relationship. This might work better if you are in the process of planning for an event you believe they would be interested in co-sponsoring or helping with.
You can also build membership by word of mouth, and through events. The more you are seen around campus the more you will be recognized. Make your presence known!
In the early stages of your group, it is important to brainstorm as to what the purpose of your group will be. Do you want it to be a group that puts on events, provides information, volunteers, and/or increases student activism?
It's best to diversify. For instance, do some fun events, such as group hikes, while also hosting informational nights about important issues.
But no matter what, do not forget that you are a CHRISTIAN environmental club. Don't get lost in the environmental side and forget your niche- that you are Christians who care for God’s creation, because no one else fills this space.
There are three main categories of events that your group can put on: nature appreciation, scripture-based, and activism/issue events.
Nature appreciation events
*These are fun events that help to spread your club name on campus, while beginning to discuss loving creation.
*Examples: hikes, camping, rafting, and stargazing, followed with a discussion, bible study, or prayer time.
*These events focus on teaching Christians that they are called to care for God’s creation.
*Example: Have a night that highlights important biblical scriptures that calls us to be good stewards. You can follow with a discussion or forum to further dive into our role.
*Similar to what secular environmental groups are hosting, so don’t let them be central to your group’s purpose.
*These events allow your group to take your message and apply it to the real world.
*Look for current and hot issues- usually issues that are being addressed in Congress.
*You can contact environmental clubs to co-sponsor events and environmental non-profits for information and resources.
*You can watch documentaries, host speakers, write to local congresspersons, or take a trip to advocate.
*But be careful when diving into politics. You could turn off prospective members by leaning to much to one side of the political fence. Make sure that whatever action you take it is based on environmental stewardship, not on individual political beliefs. Make sure that your club acts based on issues, not politics.
Nothing is worse than spending a lot of time planning an event and having no one show up. This is why it is important to promote your event the best you can.
*At your event, try to offer something enticing, such as free coffee, food, cool music, anything that will give someone more incentive to show up.
*Make fliers, posters, and handouts. Find out where you can hang these around campus or where you can pass out handouts for your event. When doing your poster, make sure it is easy to read!
*Create a club email, through yahoo or gmail, in order to make it easy to get in touch with members. Send out emails about all your events, but be aware of spam filters that block your announcements.
*Use an online group like Facebook to send out messages about your event and post the information on your group’s page.
*Contact other Christian ministries and/or environmental clubs to see if they will spread the news of your event to their members. Or if the groups have upcoming events or meetings, ask if you could make a short announcement.
*Ask professors if you could announce the event in class, and see if they will offer students extra credit to attend.
*Ask around: tell friends, classmates, professors, anyone who might be interested. And make sure to remind them of the event.