Following my bitter retrospective on 9 years of participation in atheist university groups, here are some concrete tips for how you can do better than what we did. They are roughly in order from high priority to low priority.
1. Have a mailing list and a Facebook group. Announce every meeting and event through both channels. Don’t have more than one.
2. Register your group with the university, and keep it registered every year.
3. Reserve room space for regular meetings. Weekly meetings in the evening are common practice. This must be done far in advance.
4. Know the dates of the activities fairs at your university. You probably need to register for them far in advance, so look it up immediately. The minimum requirement for the activities fair is a large sign and a sign-up sheet for your mailing list.
5. Make a good impression at the first meeting of the year. The first meeting is often the one with the most people, so make sure you know how to run discussions for various group sizes (see below). You may think that it will be exciting to discuss your upcoming plans for the year, but it usually comes across as sharing boring administrative details, so don’t do it unless it’s absolutely necessary. Your main objective is that students should meet each other and make positive social connections. That means that each person should learn, and remember, the name of one or two people who are not in the leadership.