1. Consider getting your own TU newsstands where you can place the papers. If you cannot get your own stands, try to find empty slots on other stands. As a last resort, place the papers in neat piles on the floor beside stands, on windowsills, etc. [Ask TU staff for more information about the stands]
2. When selecting places to distribute your copies, look for intellectual “nerve centers”, i.e. places where intellectual people congregate. This includes: choose coffee shops, bookstore, libraries, dining halls, student centers, even university gyms.
3. When distributing at intellectual nerve centers, don’t put all your eggs in one basket–don’t put all your papers in one stack. A single stack is easily covered up, tossed out, etc. Divide your big stick into a number of smaller stacks. More stacks means more surface area, better chances that people will see it. Distribute about 5% to 10% of your total number of copies at each place where you drop them off (but remember to try to spread that total into a few stacks). In high-traffic places with lots of newspapers already stacked, it’s safer to put more. If you are using your own newspaper stands, don’t put all your stands in one location, or put out all your papers at once.
4. Pick intellectual nerve centers you visit regularly, so you can replace/replenish papers as needed. Remember that it’s better to focus on a few good places, than to spread too thin.
5. Start by dropping papers off on your way to class. This helps you stay motivated, since you’re making a real difference while committing no more than a few minutes every couple of days. Remember, it is more valuable to do a little bit over the whole year than to do a lot for a few weeks and then get sick of it.
6. The intellectual nerve centers are of primary importance, but if you choose to do more, or if you do not have access to stands, the next best strategy is the “Jonny Appleseed strategy”, in which you scatter these papers to the winds. OK not literally the winds, but just wherever you go. Carry a bunch with you and deposit single issues in strategic but unlikely places. Drop one on the bus, in the restroom stall, in a waiting room, at a table in the library, anyplace someone is sitting around bored, looking for reading material. Especially great places are cafeteria tables. A handful of strategically placed papers are sure to draw attention. The great thing about dropping off just one copy in such places is that you don’t risk a stack being thrown out–and since it’s only one copy people will think it’s part of the stock of regular magazines and will leave it there for others to look it. Remember this is The Undercurrent! We spring up in unexpected places!
7. If you have the time, put up flyers advertising the Undercurrent. People will be more likely to pick up the paper if they’ve seen a flyer promoting the paper. By creating a brand name on campus, you will draw a larger audience.
8. If you are part of a club, consider trying to make distributing and putting up flyers into a fun activity. For example, you can have a distribution party with your friends or fellow club members (in which you all distribute for a half hour and then go out to lunch/dinner).
9. If you have a particular professor or TA with whom you would like to share an article, give it to him personally and mention that you thought he might be interested. Alternatively, you can leave it in his mailbox; in this case, it is best to add a handwritten note: “Dear Prof. X, My name is Joe. I am a student in your class on ______. I thought you might find the article on _____ interesting.”
10. If you run a campus club, consider stamping your club’s contact information on your copies. This links the copies to an official, local student organization, and get people interested in your club. (Self-inking stampers can be purchased at any major office supply store for around $13.)
11. Be sure to observe/respect university policies on distribution. You may need to get prior approval to put up newspaper stands, and they may only be permitted in certain designated areas. You don’t want your copies or your newspaper stands to be thrown away! (The TU staff has always respected these policies, and in general, we have never had nor heard of copies being thrown away, by anyone.) Always remember that we are the good guys.
The Undercurrent is a magazine distributed at college campuses and communities across the country. We release a print edition once per semester, and in the interim, regularly post additional articles, blog entries, and campus media responses reports to our website.
The Undercurrent's cultural commentary is based on Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism. Objectivism, which animates Ayn Rand's fiction, is a systematic philosophy of life. It holds that the universe is orderly and comprehensible, that man survives by reason, that his life and happiness comprise his highest moral purpose, and that he flourishes only in a society that protects his individual rights.
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