Antwerp QC, Much of Belgian Core, Leaves Competitive Quidditch

By Ardin Lo, Editor, Social Media
Jenna Bollweg, Managing Editor, Media

Author Ardin Lo is the current captain of UC Berkeley (Cal Quidditch) and Jenna Bollweg is the former president and head of public relations for Texas State University. This is part one of an ongoing series by The Eighth Man outlining how* to set up, sustain and grow collegiate quidditch programs in the U.S.

Define Your Goals
The first step for any team’s recruiting process is to evaluate your team goals well before the season begins. If you’re a small team at a small college, focus on retention of the players you do recruit to solidify the foundation of your program. If you’re at a large university, focus on casting a wide net and trying to get as many people to your events as possible in order to spread awareness. All it takes is one good class of recruits to turn around or define a program for years, and there’s no better time to start than the beginning of the school year.

Make Recruitment Exciting
The early bird gets the wormthat should be your team’s mantra during recruitmentseason in terms of trying to snag freshmen and other new players. Your competition is other clubs and activities, and you want to draw interest before other clubs. Start by tabling or flyering in highly-trafficked areas such as your school’s central plaza or “quad,” outside dining halls, the student recreation center, where you practice or anywhere else where you can draw lots of eyeballs as early as possible. However, be sure to go through the proper outlets, as most schools have strict policies on when, where and how organizations can table. Tabling opportunities might occur before school starts such as during freshman orientation or at a student organization fair. Ask your advisor, your school’s student organization council or an equivalent party about events like these and how you can sign up. Tabling outside large classrooms during passing periods–when people are entering and leaving the class–can also be effective.

Once you’ve figured out where the high-traffic areas are at your school, you need to think about how to gain student attention. A huge part of understanding what attracts students to extracurricular groups falls into a few astoundingly simple questions:

  1. Is it cheap?
  2. Is it entertaining/fun?
  3. Will I make meaningful connections?
  4. Does it take more time, effort and/or mental stress than I can afford?
  5. Will I be proud of it?

Students almost always consciously or subconsciously ask themselves these questions when considering what organizations to join. This means that even though you understand the gospel of spirit of St. Quidditch, no matter what, you have to be objective in the angle you take when face-to-face recruiting for a college team. That means you can’t assume that the selling point that reeled you in years ago will be the same selling point for your recruit. That’s why your face-to-face recruitment “spiel” should be concise, yet adaptable based on your audience.

Delivery also matters. You might prefer to speak to one person at a time, however, if someone else interested in quidditch walks by the table and sees you being closed off to one person quietly on the side, they’re either going to feel intimidated by the social roadblock of “interrupting” or they’re not going to want to waste their limited time by waiting on their “turn.” That’s why both your body and verbal language should be open, engaging and global–students are much more likely to listen to someone speak on a platform to an audience that they can easily walk-up to and walk-out of than being trapped in a one-on-one conversation that might be badgering, require them to sign-up for something or take up more time than they intended on giving. So your recruiters, tactics and setup should be modeled around this approach.

When you do draw the interested eyes of students, make sure you have clear action items or events you can share to keep them coming back. Business cards or flyers with your practice times and upcoming events work perfectly for this.

The Setup
Now that you know how to market to students and deliver your pitch, let’s go over the logistics of tabling. Here are some physical items your team will need:

  • Table
  • Banner or poster
    • Big, bold, easy to read from far away
  • One laptop/tablet/device playing a highlight video
  • One laptop/tablet/device for people to sign up for your organization’s informational e-mail
  • Tent
    • Necessary if you’re out in the sun but also can make your setup look more official


  • Brooms
  • Hoop(s)
  • Quaffle
  • Bludger
  • Snitch shorts

It is recommended you get a big storage box and filling it with items specifically dedicated for your “tabling” setup. It makes packing, unpacking, transportation and overall organization much easier. This box should contain:

  • ~100-500 flyers advertising your next meeting or practice and a schedule of your upcoming events (meetings, practices, fundraisers, tournaments, etc.)
    • Rocks or something else that can act as a paper weight if you’re outside and subject to wind
  • Any medals, trophies, plaques and/or awards your team has won
  • A fold-out diagram explaining the basics of quidditch
  • Duct tape
  • If you have merchandise and your school allows you to sell it on-site, you should put at least a few shirts, stickers or whatever you have in here too. Don’t forget a lockbox with change to hold cash and a way for people to pay by phone (Venmo, PayPal, Cashapp, etc.)
    • If you do have the money for “recruitment merch,” wristbands can be relatively cheap when purchased in bulk. You can hand them out with print-out paper slips highlighting your team’s social network handles. Even if they throw away or lose the flyer, they’re less likely to do the same with wristbands, and with those little slips of papers, they now still have a way to contact you/follow you on social media

Don’t Forget the Digital
Videos and digital media are important because people might not always want to to talk to you– sometimes they just want to watch a video and take a flyer. Videos also allow passerbyers to easily digest the basics of quidditch if they’re pressed for time.

  • Highlight video playlist on YouTube
    • While a video of your team is preferred, a playlist featuring your favorite quidditch highlight videos is also acceptable. Set the individual video or playlist to loop so you do not need to worry about resetting it
    • If you decide to create your own highlight video for your recruitment, include a short preview of how the sport works: show every position, include some big hits and, for your own sanity, show someone catching the snitch and have it mentally time-stamped so you can just show how the snitch works every time they inevitably ask
  • Google form collecting email addresses and names
    • Do not have students write down their info using pen and paper. You will be astounded at how many students have illegible handwriting, and you will lose potential recruits just because you can’t read their email address. Plus, you’ll have to type these emails up later regardless, so save yourself the trouble.
    • Here is a template you could use at your next event
      • There are only two boxes to cut down on time it takes to collect an individual’s information. If you choose to design your own form, keep in mind you will want it to cater to multiple people filling it out as quickly as possible. You can collect all of their other information when they actually join your organization or are further in the recruitment process

Other Tips
If the space and your school allow it, you can brings a few brooms, quaffle, bludger, snitch shorts and a medium hoop. After giving your spiel, offer them a quaffle and a broom to shoot the ball in the hoop–or a broom and a bludger to throw at one your existing team members–and everyone cheer when they make a goal or a beat. It can be a huge confidence booster to some of the shy people that approach you, and it makes everything a little less serious and scary. You can also have someone chasing a snitch around. Remind your players that they’re not there to scrimmage; they’re there to get people’s attention and recruit new players.

If your school allows projected music in the areas you find yourself tabling, invest in a large speaker to play music. It usually leads to a much more high-energy and fun environment, which naturally draws people to your table.

Don’t glue your entire team to the table: have two or three people dedicated to engaging passerbyers and getting them to drop by. They can handout flyers and shout out your team’s marketing phrases while directing potential recruit to your table. If you can’t think of your own phrases, here are some generic ones you can use:

    • “Full-contact, mixed-gender sport!”
    • “Harry Potter in real life!”
    • “The most diverse and inclusive sport around!”
    • “Over 200 teams nationwide!”
    • Any noteworthy accomplishments your team has achieved, such as “regional champion!” “regional runner-up!” “top 10 in the nation!” “top 10 in the region!” It doesn’t matter if there are only 10 college teams in your region and you’re dead last. This is verbal advertising, so you’re keeping it short and attractive.

Meanwhile, at your table, have one or two people–on small step stools if you have them–deliver your program’s patented spiel to the audience. Make sure these people don’t block the highlight video–some potential recruits who would rather watch the screen than listen to strangers talk.

  • Having two recruitment roles–the outside group to grab attention and hand out flyers, and the group at the tables to actually provide more information and collect emails–makes for a more efficient process.
  • If the people handing out flyers stopped to talk to every person that wants more information, you’d miss out on all the other potential recruits passing by during that time. With two distinct roles, you can make sure to both draw in new recruits and engage with those already at your table, simultaneously.  You can adjust this system to organize however many volunteers you have available at any time, but you should try to delegate at least one person to give our flyers and direct passerbys to the table, and one person to give the speech about quidditch and answers any questions and concerns.

The next part of our college recruitment series will focus on retention.

*Disclaimer: These recruitment methods have proven to be effective at UC Berkeley and Texas State and might not necessarily be applicable or effective for every school. Each school’s student body and administration is different; this article will talk about what has worked for Cal Quidditch at the University of California, Berkeley and Texas State/Bobcat Quidditch at Texas State University.

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