Tuesday, 17 July 2007

ASPRS Students - Member Recruiting and Retention

Michelle Kinzel, ASPRS student member and Chapter President the Oregon State University Student Chapter, highlights the benefits of joining a student chapter within the organization. As the OSU chapter president, Michelle’s continues to promote student growth within her chapter and encourages all students to create their own chapter.

Michelle Kinzel and an enormous whale

The Oregon State University Student Chapter of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing has been successful at building a strong student membership during the 2006-2007 academic year. I have worked with the faculty advisor Dr. Michael Wing to schedule meetings and recruitment events in the Geosciences and Forestry Departments. The key factors in recruiting nearly 25 new members since last fall have been spreading the word wide and far, engaging officers in key projects and activities, and providing interesting and stimulating meeting events. Initially, the interest was sparked by advertising the special student membership rate being sponsored by the ASPRS association. Many students were keenly interested in participating in a professional society for only $10, a reasonable chunk out of even a student’s tight budget (The initial cost for student membership is $45, but most Chapters will pay a portion of the dues to promote student growth). Announcements were made via email and in courses related to Cartography, Remote Sensing and GIS around campus. Interest quickly grew and students joined the chapter at hosted luncheons and chapter meetings.

The main factors in continuing the success of the chapter have been the participation of the members and the chapter officers, hosting of social events, and creation of a listserv and website that serve as communication hubs. Our chapter treasurer, Julien Deveraux has begun a project to use GPS technology to map out the distribution of all the tree species on the OSU Campus. Richard Hughes is teaming up with chapter Vice President Sam Thomas to create a Bike Map of Corvallis for 2-wheel commuters and weekend warriors. One of the Spring Meetings will actually be at a secret location, and members will have to use GPS units and aerial photos of campus to decode clues and geo-cache their way to the location, where the fastest teams will be rewarded with prizes and all participants will enjoy a catered lunch. Rob Denner has created a chapter website, and has begun inviting speakers to attend the meetings to give presentations on the latest and greatest applications in Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry. We are also working on creating chapter t-shirts, a great way to encourage pride in the organization.

You can check out all the chapter details and upcoming events at http://oregonstate.edu/~dennerr/asprs/

For anyone interested in starting a new chapter or building interest in an existing chapter, we recommend the following tips for finding and keeping members:

1. Announce the student membership offer via email, flyers posted around buildings and in classes. Use listservs, professors and students themselves to get the word out among related disciplines such as Geosciences, Oceanography, Forestry.

2. Have the forms for joining on hand to distribute with the announcement, both electronically and at face-to-face announcements.

3. Host meeting times and offer free lunch (always a big hit) and engaging activities.

4. Make if fun and social! Our meetings are scheduled around speakers, BBQ socials and chapter outings.

5. Appoint officers and encourage members to organize and lead a project.

6. Emphasize the benefits of membership in a professional organization. ASPRS has scholarship opportunities, http://www.asprs.org/membership/scholar.html, travel grant assistance and special rates on merchandise and books in the ASPRS store.
https://eserv.asprs.org/eseries/source/Orders/index.cfm?activesection=orders

7. Coordinate Internship opportunities in conjunction with student membership. Most departments offer credit for real world applications of course materials, and many professors would gladly supervise student projects that would generate chapter interest as students work on their degree requirements.

8. Being in a chapter and especially being a chapter officer always looks great on a resume! Valuable experience can be gained while having fun and interacting with students that have the same interest.

OSU Student Chapter 2007
Faculty Advisor: Dr Michael Wing
President: Michelle Kinzel
Vice-President: Sam Thomas
Treasurer: Julien Deveraux
Web Czar: Rob Denner

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