The University of Georgia, SMIS

How has your Student Chapter helped the community? This past year, the Student Chapter at the University of Georgia, called the Society for MIS (SMIS), has had an impact in not only their local community, but across the nation.

At the local level, SMIS worked closely with Free IT Athens. Free IT Athens is a non-profit organization whose goal is to bring computers to the community at low cost. Free IT Athens collects computer hardware and sells it at low cost after refurbishing the hardware. SMIS helped upgrade system RAM and install hard drives with Ubuntu on them as part of the refurbishing process. Using Ubuntu, the free, open-source operating system, saves money and lowers the price of the computers. After SMIS refurbished the computers, they were ready to be given to Free IT Athens and sold to the Athens community. Altogether, SMIS volunteered more than 60 hours through the Fall and Spring semesters.

The Society for MIS didn’t stop there, though. Taking their community service to the national level, SMIS partnered with Relay for Life. The American Cancer Society has many fund raisers, but Relay for Life is the largest of them all. The University of Georgia has been recognized by the American Cancer Society as one of the top colleges in the nation that are involved with Relay for Life and has been raising an average of $500,000 every year. SMIS did their part through a baked goods sale where they sold snacks, water, and soda. Their proceeds, $200, went to support an organization that benefits the nation.

Everything Alumni

More than likely, you know someone from your student chapter who’s either already graduated or will be graduating very soon. And although some people see graduation as the end of their involvement on campus, graduation can be a brand new beginning! That’s right, this post is all about alumni. Although many student chapters already have programs in place to reach out to alumni, this post covers a few alumni programs and ideas from Temple University, Illinois State University, and the American University in Cairo.

First off, invite alumni as guest speakers. Topics could range from college experiences and helpful tips to their work experience, tips for interviews and resumes, or what their careers in Information Systems looks like. Q&A sessions work great for this!

Mentor and Mentee programs. Pair alumni with new members in order to not only help them get the most out of their education, but also from their Student Chapter! Temple University has a program that they call the “Alumni Buddy System.” Alumni were encouraged to continue coming to events and meetings, and made sure their “buddy” knew what was going on with AIS and their Student Chapter. It’s a great way to foster new friendships and ensure that no one’s left out!

Host an alumni advisory board. Have a question? Submit it to the alumni for an answer! In this scenario, alumni that aren’t available to come visit could put together a page of Q&A, similar to if they were invited as a guest speaker.

Job search. Since AIS Student Chapters produces the best of the best, what alum wouldn’t want to recruit from your Chapter? Be sure to ask alumni to pass along job information!

If your Student Chapter doesn’t already have an alumni program, hopefully this was able to give you a few ideas to get you started. If you don’t have any alumni network at all, try putting a phone and email list together in Excel and grow from there! Be sure to reply on our Facebook page with how your Student Chapter includes alumni or how you manage your alumni network!

Leadership by Example: McMaster University

As the first Canadian AIS student chapter, the McMaster AIS intends to exercise leadership and become an example among other Canadian business schools, encouraging more schools to develop AIS chapters of their own.

With a focus on community service, the McMaster student chapter partnered with “Software Hamilton” in an effort to assist the community. During an e-commerce development session, the chapter established an online presence for a local artist, increasing her profits. Secondly, the chapter participated in a five hour ETSY developmental workshop with Hamilton area artists who received one-on-one consultation about increasing business growth online. “Having an AIS student chapter at McMaster has resulted in many benefits. For example, it encouraged students from various disciplines from across campus to come together at chapter events to meet and exchange ideas,” said Alycia Mazepa, former chapter president. “It also created awareness of what the Information Systems at the School of Business can offer students in terms of advancing their careers. The events held by the chapter also served to link our student body with key players from industry”

To promote careers in IS, the McMaster student chapter planned and hosted two specific events designed for their members. The “IS Designation Night” was created to make students aware of the possible career paths in the IS industry. In addition to the designation night, the chapter invited three professionals to the “IS Networking Night” to speak with students about the careers they have in the industry and how they came about their positions. During these events industry representatives, alumni and IS faculty act as resources for students who are interested in a career in IS. Other events the student chapter hosted included their first ever hack-a-thon, and an IS Career Day. “The Hack-a-thon that [we] held consisted of students from all over Hamilton. Students broke up into teams of three to four and worked for the evening on application ideas to be presented at the end of the evening, said Mazepa. “Some teams were able to come up with a presentation as well as a demo application. Students were judged based off of four categories. The structure of the application, the creativeness, the problem it helped solve, and the future ability for it to make money.”

During their first year as an active undergraduate AIS student chapter, McMaster built a solid foundation to grow their chapter upon. After careful planning and execution, their events promoted the IS profession, progressed recruitment efforts and built ties with academic and professional practitioners in the area. Mazepa also agreed that the AIS student chapter has benefited many individuals on McMaster’s campus and is very hopeful for their future as a campus organization. “Our AIS Student Chapter has grown substantially in the past, and we hope to continue this through reaching out to other faculties such as Geography with a Geographic Information Systems area. Through reaching out to these areas we will be able to further display the importance of Information Systems to students. This should help them see the advantages of specializing or complementing their degree with Information Systems Courses.”

Bridging the Gap: University of North Texas

A primary goal for the University of North Texas AIS student chapter is to provide student members networking opportunities with professionals in the information technology industry. First and foremost, the chapter realized that in order to meet the goal, they must bridge the gap between Business Computer Information Systems students and potential employers. One way they accomplished this was by hosting twelve companies from different industries to present at bi-weekly meetings. I know personally I really enjoyed the range of companies that we had. It helped me learn about different opportunities within IS that I hadn’t even considered, and I enjoyed hearing about the different approaches that each company takes in IS,” said current vice president, Keith Chamberlain. Companies that participated in this event included:

  • Hitachi Consulting
  • Fidelity Investments
  • SunGard
  • Wingspan Portfolio Advisors
  • Argo
  • No Magic Inc.
  • CSC
  • Santander Consumer USA
  • Sogeti
  • Armeta
  • Labatt Food Services

To prepare members for potential interactions with future employers, the UNT AIS student chapter also hosted a resume and mock interview workshop with two faculty members from the UNT career center. Members could then attend an etiquette dinner that outlined the proper protocol to follow during business meetings and meals.

Bridging the gap between students and professionals goes beyond networking and etiquette knowledge. It also includes fine tuning technical skills. UNT AIS members had the opportunity to attend a two-day Windows 8 workshop to learn about the operating system and how to navigate the new user interface. Those who attended learned to incorporate touch-base input controls, utilize developer tools, and compete in a grouped hack-a-thon game.

Many members appreciated the opportunities their UNT AIS student chapter had to offer them and saw being a member as beneficial to their future. “The professional development helped in showing me real world skills that are needed to successfully get a job and how important networking is. This was my first semester being with AIS and I definitely see the value of being a part of AIS as I continue my education and into my career,” said Chamberlain.

Fundraising for your Student Chapter

Outside of recruiting new members, fundraising is perhaps one of the hardest things to do in a Club. If you’re in charge of fundraising and are fortunate, your University provides some sort of funding for student organizations. In other cases, your club may have to write letters or give a short presentation to the school board explaining why the University should support your club. Sometimes though, you won’t find monetary support at your university.

If you don’t receive funding from your University, be sure to ask around, it could be very rewarding for your club and save some headaches! But let’s say that’s not enough, what other options do clubs have for fundraising?

Partner with local businesses! Many restaurants allow organizations to create a coupon that when used, sends part of the bill back to the organization. The Rowan University Student Chapter partnered with a local Landmark Americana Bar and Grill and were able to receive 25% of total proceeds. With that sort of agreement, a $10 meal sends $2.50 back to the club. If it’s a popular place, and the fundraiser lasts for a month, how many people do you think will dine there?

Host a party! Some businesses allow you to rent out space for large groups, which you can then use to charge admission and host some fun games and food. The University of Michigan-Dearborn Student Chapter hosts an annual Bowling fundraiser, which is their largest fundraiser of the semester. Buying a ticket to their fundraiser gets you 3 games of bowling, pizza, and pop. If you’re going to do a fundraiser, food is a good seller, but why not have some fun too?

As a final suggestion for club fundraisers, consider competitions that your club can compete in. The Bentley University Student Chapter was fortunate to have monetary support from their University and academic departments, but they also earned money from a prestigious competition…The AIS Student Chapter competition! Joining us in our annual leadership conference and competition is a great way to learn new skills and have a great time working as a team, and you may even earn some money towards your club!

Do you have any suggestions that have worked well in your club? Be sure to reply on our Facebook page!