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10 Tips For Successfully Reviving A Spoon University Chapter

Sara Klimek, editorial director for the University of Vermont chapter, reflects on her first three months at Spoon and how she revived her chapter from the ground up.

Before my junior year, I had never heard of "Spoon University," let alone even guessed that my school had a chapter. I couldn't have ever guessed how important the Spoon community would become in the months to come. 

By some whim of luck, I stumbled upon an old article from a couple years ago. As a food systems student, my interest immediately peaked. What do you mean there's people on my campus that actually care about food as much as I do? You mean to tell me that I could use my writing skills, editorial background (I interned for a publishing company as a freshman), and culinary expertise for something more than small-talk? I filled out the application to join UVM's chapter as soon as I could. 

And then I waited: for months. It turns out that our chapter had kind of been abandoned by previous leaders so that no one was checking membership applications. After a few cups of coffee, mail-send-errors for old UVM email addresses, and frustration, I was able to find someone who could approve my membership request. 

After finishing some of the trainings, I felt comfortable being a contributor to the platform. And then I saw the "No one is currently the editorial director of your chapter. Would you like to fulfill this role?" Heck yes

desk, library, student, College, stickers, studying, Book, Bowl, computer, snacks, crackers, glasses
Megan Japczyk

SpoonU at UVM quickly became my "pet project." And it didn't mean just finding ways to creatively recruit people on social media, but also the logistics associated with running a chapter. It's only been three months for me at Spoon, but it feels like a lifetime. 

Here are some of my top ten pieces of advice for reviving (and running) a successful chapter. Although you might have different tools at your disposal (based on how active previous members were and how long the period of inactivity lasted), these are some general things that all leaders should have in their toolbox. 

1. Before you do anything, create a document entitled: "If I Die, Here is How to Run [Spoon Chapter]" 

Before you even start the process of becoming re-recognized or posting content, start a blank document. Write your personal contact information, any passwords you have for social media, and any pertinent information for your future chapter leaders. Here is a sample template for your chapter to use! 

Then, the fun part is documenting as much as possible about your chapter's daily operations. Do you make a calendar to schedule post dates & promotions? What do you look for when you're editing an article for publication? How often do you send emails to your chapter? It's perfectly understandable if you don't know the answers to these questions right now because the working document allows you to go back and add as you go. At least give yourself some sort of basis moving forward so that if you drop dead, your successors will have some idea of how to run the chapter. 

2. Become BFFs with your student government representatives. 

If you're looking to become a recognized student organization (RSO) on your campus, you'll need to go through the (somewhat arduous) process of paperwork, constitutions, anti-hazing policies, and the like (not to mention the bane of all of our existences: budgeting). Your student government reps are there to help you through the process!  

3. Try to track down the former leaders and members of your chapter.

Not only do they usually hold the poorly-devised passwords for social media accounts, but they can also be a great resource to discuss how you want to run your chapter. If you need help finding former leaders, send an email over to

4. Review what recognition documents have and have not been completed. 

Every school is different, so your organization might have documents (e.g., chapter charters, constitutions, policies) that are still useable. You can use these as a template for making new documents that reflect the goals of your revived chapter. 

5. Decide whether or not you want to start fresh on all social media accounts. 

If you are restarting a chapter, you may have the option to continue posting on existing social medias or create new ones. If you plan on keeping the social medias that former members used, update the passwords first. Then, if you'd like, you can delete the existing content and start "fresh" with the same account. 

Emma Noyes

Some factors you might want to consider before you decide to click DELETE on your old social accounts include follower count, types of posts, chapter contact information, and alike. For example, the old @Spoon_Vermont Instagram had 2,000 followers and well-articulated content so I decided to leave it as-is. 

6. Don't go at it alone. 

Reach out to other student organizations and try to find people who might be interested in joining your chapter. You can also advertise on social media to find people to fulfill leadership positions but also act as contributors. If you bite off more than you can chew, you'll find yourself spending more time in the SGA office than in your classes. 

7. Make yourself familiar with Secret Sauce.

Secret Sauce goes far beyond the training modules you see when you first start spooning. You can send emails to chapter members, generate social media graphics, find marketing samples, and do all the "back-end" stuff to create content! As you'll soon see, there's a lot of "what does this button do?" to figuring out Secret Sauce. Take ample time to sit down and play around with the website to see where everything is! 

#SpoonTip: Watch the comprehensive Spoon HQ tutorial for Secret Sauce here.

8. Reach out to other members of the Spoon Community who have either revived chapters, just starting, or are "Spoonie Veterans." 

There's a whole lot of articulated knowledge among chapter leaders! If you haven't already, join the Spoon Community and Spoon Chapter Leaders Facebook pages and subscribe to newsletters from HQ; it's a great place to network and ask questions. 

9. Be patient and forgiving with yourself. 

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are Spoon chapters. The process of re-establishing your presence on campus will take time and dedication. Cut yourself a break once and awhile! 

10. Make it fun!

Spoon is all about diving into food writing and building community among those passionate about everything gastronomic. As a chapter leader, you're already paving the way to create these relationships, as well as helping new members build professional skills that they will take with them long beyond their time at Spoon. It's no small feat- so make yourself a fruity drink to celebrate!