December Hot Topic: Keeping Members EXCITED!

Hopefully you are recovering from finals and getting some quality rest and relaxation time!

At this point of the year especially, it is difficult to keep members excited about SWE. Those who play active roles in the section officers, program chairs, etc, must stay enthused by default, but the majority of members who may be less active are the people who struggle to fit SWE into their schedule as the year progresses. Here are some tricks and tips for keeping SWE excitement in the air!

  1. September:
    1. Host a “SWE Week”. Each director/leader must host a unique event with a focus on recruiting new members as well as retaining old members. These events may include a volunteer activity, a special dinner, or a scavenger hunt around campus.
  2. October:
    1. Halloween! Host a cookie-decorating or pumpkin-carving event that allows people to do something as they talk. Trick or treat for canned goods instead of candy on Halloween.
  3. November:
    1. Give thanks in a SWEet way. Start a “Food for Thought” week, where you hold a week-long food-drive, work at a food shelf, or package food for third-world countries.
  4. December:
    1. Host a finals study session. Reserve a classroom on campus and have coffee and Christmas goodies on hand for SWE members.

Throughout the semester, make sure to be checking in on your active members to make sure they are not overwhelmed. If you are concerned, do an anonymous survey at a director/officer meeting to see how everyone is feeling “SWE-wise”. Are they still motivated? Do they feel like their work is appreciated? Make sure to provide encouragement and offer support if some members are overloaded.

Check the updated “Best Practices” documents on the blog. These have great event and meeting ideas that you can adopt for your section!

Make sure to reach out to new members throughout the semester. If you meet another female engineer through a lab group, elective, etc., and you know she is not involved, ask her if she’s heard about SWE and if she would ever like to be more involved…give her the link to the SWE website and the next general meeting (or event) date.

Along with new members, make sure your current members know all the benefits of being involved in SWE. Highlight the Kaplan discount, the joint membership opportunities, the SWE magazine, and the exclusive online career center! Let them know how COOL the SWE conferences are and all the opportunities for regional leadership they could have (and of course, send them to the blog ASAP).

Remember the importance of recognition. Write a thank-you note to members who plan events, even if it is just a quick email right after the event. Utilize “point systems” to reward members for participating and making commitments to SWE. Special prizes can include active member dinners, SWE clothing, discounted conference trips, or scholarships.

Make sure to get the word out about SWE! Advertise using social media, your college of engineering’s email announcements, flyers, chalking…be creative. Ask professors if you can speak for a few minutes before class and bring a hand-out with important dates and contact information.

Feel free to post suggestions, comments, etc.! Have a wonderful holiday!

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