September Hot Topic – Membership Retention and Recruitment

Membership is an important topic in every SWE section.  It is our members that make up SWE, from general members to section leadership to society level leadership.  So, how does a section gain new members?  And how do you retain the members you’ve got?

  1. Start the year off strong – finding new members is easiest to do at the start of the year.  Try hosting a table at your university’s student club fair.  Visit underclassmen classes in the engineering department, such as introductory courses.  Host an opening social to welcome back old members and to introduce new members to SWE.  Try something different and exciting for your opening social.  The University of Utah SWE brought puppies to play with at the opening social, UC Riverside hosted an ice cream social,
  2. Recognize your members – provide incentives for members to keep coming to events, such as giveaways of SWE swag (conferences and job fairs are a great place to pick up engineering themed goodies) or free food (always popular with college students).
  3. Use social media – a great way to keep members engaged is through social media.  Start a blog or a facebook page.  Both are free and easy to use, and can provide a great resource to current and prospective members alike. Use this to ADVERTISE.  Nothing drives members away like not knowing what is going on.  Use social media, email lists, and flyers posted around buildings to get the word out about SWE.
  4. Ask your members – everyone wants to know that their voice is heard.  Ask your members what they want out the organization.  Are they interested in outreach events, or in networking with companies?  Are they looking to partner with the local professional SWE section or get additional leadership training?  What kind of socials are they interested in: movie nights, resume workshops, how to classes?  Surveys, online and in person, are a simple way to ask your members.  Another simple way is by simply talking to your members.  When you see them between classes, chat with them.  After meetings, take time to mingle and get to know your members.
  5. Encourage participation – invite new members to come to leadership meetings.  Suggest to members that they join a committee, or take on some responsibility in planning an event.  Help members join SWE at the society level, offer discounts on events and t-shirts for those who join.

If you have a best practice, or something that your section uses to recruit and keep members, please leave in the comments.


Hit the Ground Running – UNM

A 5k – called Run Nerds Run! – was hosted on our campus (University of New Mexico) a few Saturdays ago. The goal of the run was to raise money for School of Engineering scholarships. Participants dressed up like nerds (which wasn’t much a stretch for some of us…), and ran a 5k path around our campus. A group of about ten SWE professionals participated, as well as a few of our collegiate members. In addition to helping advertise the event, we had a table set up to sell our shirts and drum up some new members. There were volunteers scattered all over campus to help direct runners to the right path. Due to a last-minute volunteer-shortage, SWE also grabbed some neon yellow vests and headed out to help direct runners. We received a certificate thanking us for our efforts in helping to promote the event and participating in the event.

For SWE, the event was followed by a barbecue with the professional section. It was the first joint activity we’ve had with the professional section this semester, and it was great to have it in such a relaxed atmosphere – barbecue and board games! It was like having a networking event without as much of the pressure as a networking event. It was also a great opportunity to show some of our newer members the kinds of things that being a SWE member can do for them. We try to offer a support system for each other, but we also have access to a range of professionals who work in all kinds of different fields – manufacturing, research, industry, etc. The combination of the run and barbecue also solidified for us (the officer team) that there is significant student interest in SWE, and we have members who are interested in committing to the organization.

-Erika Yegerlehner,


Saili Raje – Region Collegiate Representative (RCR),
Rising senior at UC Santa Barbara (I like long walks on the beach!) I’ve been involved in SWE at a collegiate level ever since my first year as Freshman Representative and have worked as the Internal Vice President ever since. I’m excited to serve as one of Region B’s RCRs in order to work with/get to know all the Region B sections.
A little about me:
- I’m predominantly involved with two organizations on campus–SWE & IEEE–and very big on cross-org collaboration
- I like sporadically scrapbooking my life every now and then
- I like Google Image searching “bad taxidermy” and laughing really hard
- I am a computer engineer because I didn’t want to chose between hardware and software so I panicked and it was probably one of the best decisions of my life
- In my free time I am: watching movies and/or Game of Thrones


Meet the Region Collegiate Team!

Cinthya Mendez – Region Collegiate Representative (RCR), cimendez@calpoly.edu7_25_14 Cinthya
I’m a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. My involvement in SWE began my second year in college as a volunteer with the girl scout robotics program and I haven’t stopped being involved in SWE since! I have really loved volunteering and helping improve our SWE section that I wanted to be the RCR to assist other collegiate sections with theirs. I hope to work with you in the future, and if you need help with anything please don’t hesistate to contact me. Thanks!

Meet the Region Collegiate Team!

Olivia Leonhardt – Region Collegiate Senator (RCS)IMG_20130917_200002
I am a Junior in Mechanical Engineering at Utah State University. I joined the Society of Women Engineers my Sophomore year because of the organizations drive to inspire women to pursue math and science. I feel that the engineering field is in great need of females and SWE appears to feel the same way. My first officer position was Vice President of Corporate Affairs and I enjoyed it immensely. My time away from homework is spent outdoors doing any active activity possible. My favorite outdoor time is during the winter when I can pull out my snowboard and hit the slopes.

Meet the Region Collegiate Team!

Hello Region B collegiates.  Today we will be starting a series of blog posts to introduce the FY15 RCT.  If you are looking for more information on the roles of the members of our RCT, please refer to the Region FAQ page.  First, I’d like to introduce myself, so you can get to know the author of the blog for this year.

Steffi Lietzke – Region Collegiate Communications Editor (RCCE),  rcce-b@swe.orgDSC_7389

I’m a junior in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah.  I got involved with SWE as a freshman, as the University of Utah’s Outreach Committee Co-chair.  I have been involved with SWE outreach ever since, and I absolutely love it!  Working with Girl Scouts is my favorite, and I have made so many amazing connections doing outreach.  I wanted to be the RCCE so that I could help connect the collegiate sections to each other.  After college, I hope to go either to medical school or to do a PhD in Oncological science.  In my free time I enjoy photography, playing with cats, and reading.  I hope you enjoy reading my blog posts and please contact me with any questions or problems about the blog.

Collegiate Leadership Institute at WE14

The Collegiate Leadership institute is a three day set of sessions specially designed to prepare collegiate SWE members to become leaders in engineering and in their section.  Each day there will be two or three sessions, which should be highly interactive.  All of the speakers and facilitators selected for the Institute are noted experts in the area of leadership and career development.  Curriculum with focus on communication skills, emotional intelligence, leading teams, effective negotiation, and preparing for and transitioning to the workforce.

Speaker highlights include:

  • Keynote presenter will be Jessica Matthews: Co-founder and CEO of Uncharted Play, Inc.  She is the recipient of numerous awards professionally for her work at Uncharted Play.  She was invited to sign that America Invents Act with President Obama and serves as the Ambassador of Entrepreneurship for Nigeria.

Criteria for participation:

  • Active collegiate members of the Society
  • Exhibit strong leadership potential
  • Aspire to take on leadership and executive roles within their career
  • Aspire to be a catalyst for change in the world
  • Intellectually curious

Space is limited to 40 attendees, so we can only accommodate up to three women from a given university.  This is a free opportunity for any collegiate conference attendee, so don’t hesitate to apply.  You will also receive priority scheduling at career counseling.

Apply online here. Email with any questions about CLI.