Tabling is an excellent way to reach the university community. Itís also one of the most fun. You get to meet and talk with people face to face and know that one more person has been exposed to your message. You donít have to table with a group to reach people effectively; you can reach lots of people on your own. You do, however, have to be with a registered student organization to table on campus.
Table regularly. Have info. on all topics, an email signup, meeting fliers, petitions.
To table on campus, you must reserve a table for your group. The reservation can be made at the CCI office on the fourth floor of the SSB.
Table reservations are good for two week increments and can be renewed over the web at http://www.utexas.edu/depts/dos/cci/index.html. Click on Room Reservations. Then click on Online Booth Installation Application and fill out the form. You must keep a copy of the reservation document and give one copy to the information desk on the first floor of the tower. You will check out your table at this desk.
In order to get a good tabling spot on the West Mall, set up your table early (around 10 a.m. or before). The best spot is the area under the trees directly across from the West Mall steps. This spot has a lot of pedestrian traffic.
There are regulations you have to follow when setting up a table on campus:
You have to have your group name on a sign or banner on the front of your table.
You are not allowed to accept money (i.e., selling merchandise or food, or accepting donations) without reporting it.
There are many regulations in the Student Group handbook. Read through it. Some regulations are worthwhile and some are worth working around.
Make sure you have plenty of copies of each piece of literature you are handing out. Remove the rubber bands from pamphlets so people can take them easily. If you run out of something people are interested in, let them know when you will be tabling next and get some more!
Always have a donation jar. Put some change and some dollar bills inside to encourage people to give you some dough.
Make sure you have plenty of sign up sheets (for your mailing list) and plenty of pens that write.
Donít forget your rocks! Yes, your literature will blow away if you donít have anything to hold it down, so get some rocks.
Always have something people can take with them that has your group name, contact info., and meeting times on it. A small quarter-sheet flyer is perfect.
Props and displays are good to have. They get peopleís attention and draw them to your table.
If visitors to your table seem interested, ask them to sign up on your mailing list. Make sure they take the most important pieces of literature on your table. Ask them to get involved in some way, like by calling a company you are targeting or writing a letter. Always say thank you and be friendly.
Donít spend too much time on one person. You could miss contact with others who may be interested. Be especially sure not to waste time on someone who disagrees with you. You could alienate people who overhear the argument. Instead, clarify your position briefly, express regret at your disagreement, direct the person to related literature (or recommend books or websites they could check into), and turn to someone else as quickly as possible. You may feel like youíre ďbacking downĒ but arguing at a table is a waste of time and could cause you to miss potential supporters.
Donít get frustrated if you feel you havenít reached someone. You never know what seeds youíre planting. Talking to you may be the first time someone ever considered that there might be something wrong with the way they perceive the issues raised at your table. Most people wonít change overnight, but even if someone seems unsympathetic, youíre planting seeds that can lead to a change later.
Above all, remember to smile, be friendly and be patient. You, too, were once unaware of the abuses you are working to remedy. Let others know that your background is much like theirs, but that once you learned about various abuses, you decided to take action.