There are two main events at the start of term where you can recruit new members - the departmental registration and the Freshers' Fair
The Department and Registration
Don't wait for the freshers to arrive, you can include a letter with the welcome packs that the department sends out. You could also include a list of the benefits of membership and a membership form. If you send correspondence to freshers before they arrive at university, their parents may foot the membership costs.
Once the freshers do arrive, you could set up a recruitment table in the department during registration. This will guarantee you a fairly captive audience of chemistry students and once one is convinced, the rest should follow. Try to give members something for their money, such as a membership card or welcome pack and don't forget that there are other years who will be in the department to register.
This is one of the first events of term and it is where you can make the most impact. It is also an important event as the students are there to join societies and so should have plenty of money with them. As the Freshers' Fair is usually at the beginning of term you will need to do some planning for this before the freshers arrive. Try and get as much organised during the summer as you can. Allocate the various jobs, such as setting up the stall and distributing the resources to your committee early enough for all the preparations to be completed on time. Make sure the people manning your stall are friendly and that your stall stands out.
The RSC can provide freebies to help you with recruitment. To receive the freebies fill out the online formThe First Event
The first event that you hold is 'make or break'. Therefore it needs to be good and it needs to be held as soon as possible after Freshers' Week. Try to aim it at all years and of course it will more than likely incorporate alcohol of some description.