07 December 2010

The Quill and the Sword, continued.

This following is an excerpt from our final paper on everyone's favorite medieval reenactment club.

The Quill and the Sword Medieval Reenactment Club is one of the longest continuously-operating student organizations at BYU.  It was originally founded in 1997 by two coeds, both of whom still remain in contact with the club and were recently “sainted”—the highest honor awarded by the Quill and the Sword.  The club was founded as an unofficial offshoot of the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international organization “dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe.”  As such, The Quill and the Sword lies within the Kingdom of Artemisia (Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and parts of Wyoming and Montana), in the province on Arrow’s Flight (Utah County).

At its peak, The Quill and the Sword numbered approximately sixty active members, but have currently dwindled to fifteen. Our value analysis project and subsequent recommendations are aimed toward reversing this attrition.

Currently, The Quill and the Sword recruits new members almost exclusively through word-of-mouth, with the notable exception of placing a pavilion in BYU’s central quad at the start of each school year.  Under this strategy (or lack thereof), club membership has been gradually dwindling from year to year—and will likely continue to do so unless replaced by more active recruiting efforts.  Our strategic recommendations are built upon this need to more effectively solicit new members.

Due to the relatively insular (i.e. safe) nature of the club, we recommend that the bulk of new recruiting be done by leveraging groups with adjacent interests.  Through our research, we identified three primary pools from which to draw new membership: other BYU clubs, potential “feeder” classes, and local conferences.

One source for new membership is by cross-pollinating with BYU clubs who share similar interests.  By identifying these points of intersection, the Quill and the Sword can reach out to like-minded (and potentially interested) students.  This could be accomplished through holding joint meetings or hosting combined events.  Some potential clubs to focus on include:
  • Heroes of History
  • Anthropology Club
  • Rebel Swords Fencing Club
  • Quark (BYU's Science Fiction & Fantasy Club)
  • Video Games Are My Entertainment
A second method by which the Quill and the Sword might recruit new members is by targeting certain feeder courses offered at BYU, based once again on intersecting interests.  From our interviews, we were able to identify several possible hotbed classes, including (but certainly not limited to):
  • English 356: Myth, Legends, and Folktales
  • History 301: The Late Middle Ages
  • Honors 201: The Pen and the Sword
  • Honors 303R: J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Humanities 490R: High Middle Ages 
In a similar vein, the Quill and the Sword could also recruit at local conferences focusing on similar themes, such as:
  • Life, the Universe, and Everything (BYU’s annual Sci-Fi & Fantasy Symposium) 
  • Timpanogos Storytelling Festival
  • Utah Renaissance Festival and Fantasy Faire


Tabitha said...

Just so you know - I am just about finished with a history of the club that covers the first 10 years. I was a member of club for several years and one of the presidents. I plan to give a copy of the book to the library once it's printed.

Russ said...

Thanks, Tabitha. I hope we have done the club justice with our report and recommendations.