Resource:How to create the organization Dedicated Individuals Bettering Society (DIBS)

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What is DIBS?

  • Jonathan Puhl (UND) and Atle Alexander Johansen came with DIBS when they saw it as a necessity, because it was nearly impossible to make changes on his campus and there wasn’t really a platform for making known the stuff that students wanted to change.
  • They wanted DIBS to be an organization that gives students a sense of belonging, built to engage and empower students, and give them the possibility to deepen in a problem they saw and change it. People who really want to change something, people with really good ideas can join DIBS.
  • It is the platform in which students advocate for change and find support within their communities. It’s meant to be an idea platform, a place to get support on your ideas and work on them, to discuss and gain momentum to start a movement. An association that wants you to do what you’re interested in. It is a support system.
  • DIBS is a good association for students who want to have a place to discuss or talk through problems.

How does it work?

  • Students see their environment and problem(s) is identified, an individual shares this problem, and many come together to find a solution.
  • DIBS is also a vision, perhaps one of only a single person or of many but it is not a set plan nor a harsh deadline.
  • Great ideas take time, however with the right support that time is well spent on collaboration.
  • It is the inverse of the typical campus organization as it begins with the individual or small group rather than the large group taking in the individual.
  • It is as simple as a few friends (or strangers) sitting around a fire, discussing the prevalent issues in their worlds-a platform as casual or formal as one wishes it to be. In short, one could simply state: ‘I am a DIBS.” And voila! Such a platform is created in the midst of a campus teeming with great minds and extraordinary ideas.  


  • You need to have three main aspects
    • Group of students (STEM, Arts, Business, Psych, you name it) or even a single individual leading the charge.
    • A Champion! A-K-A a trusted faculty member to confide in and better yet, supports the idea as if it were their own.
    • Block-and-Tackle: the immovable object as your/the groups rock. A good idea with a base is indestructible. Or more formally known as a program director.
  • Look for the people: group people that want to start something like that, that can support you and are interested and would get involved in the project. Preferably a group of close people.
  • Who would you go and talk to if you had an idea you want to work on? Look for their help. Ask them who could help you. Get lots of information from people. Start with that, talking to someone. Just start. You are never alone, always look for support.
  • Just pick one project and concentrate in that. When people start joining then you can start with other projects.
  • The point of DIBS is to create an atmosphere that allows students to talk freely, network, and then have a network to connect with in order to further your plan and solve your problem.
  • It works as if a group project, where students get the leadership of their own projects, rather than being guided by someone external to the group. Group projects and the group roles form and happen naturally. DIBS organizations don’t focus on all of them.

Written By

Caroline Rodgers

Julieta Caputo

Vivian Ferris

Nagamedha Sakahamuri

Special thanks to Jonathan Puhl