Getting Students Excited
About Your Chapter
|February 21, 2017
Looking to boost the number of students who join and participate with your chapter? Here are seven ways for officers, students, and advisors to help new members become more involved.
1. Increase Your Chapter Communications
More often than not, the reason members become inactive is because they simply don’t know when or where upcoming chapter events will take place. Sometimes they don’t even know who to ask. To correct this, try sending out e-mails, posting information on a highly visible bulletin board in your psychology department, or creating a social media page. Remember: no single form of communication will work for everyone. Consider sending out your message in as many ways as possible.
You can also take advantage of technology advancements. For instance, consider hosting a live Facebook video for any students who are off campus and unable to attend your meetings. You could also upload a video of meetings to YouTube or have someone at the meetings (e.g., your chapter secretary) post a brief “meeting minutes” to social media. For online institutions, check out the recent Eye on Psi Chi magazine article, “Learn From Kaplan University’s Online Chapter Success.”
2. Institute Annual Chapter Goals
Are you unsure what cool things your chapter will accomplish this year? If so, your chapter may be at a heightened risk to accomplish little or even nothing at all. No worries. Here's how you can fix this:
At your next chapter meeting, review our Strategic Plan as a group to come up with activity ideas throughout the year that everyone can look forward to. This is a sure method to give your chapter a definite direction for the months to come. Just as important, decide then and there, who will take on any specific responsibilities to ensure that these plans become a success.
3. Create Engaging Content for Your Meetings
Promoting interesting talks is a great way to pull in new and returning members. For example, invite a guest speaker such as a professor at your campus or a Psi Chi alumnus who could give helpful career advice. No topic is off limits; consider programming about fascinating fields of psychology, career support, or graduate school advice. View Digest 275 for some popular topic ideas for your meetings.
Members also like to conduct regular community service projects at meetings such a making cards for military personnel who are overseas. When getting to know your members, it is sometimes fun to have movie nights or go out to eat as a group too!
4. Show Everyone the Value in Participating
Students sometimes do not know what they’re missing at your chapter events. They might even think that applicable membership benefits end as soon as they add Psi Chi to the resumés. It is your mission to tell them otherwise.
Psi Chi provides countless Membership Benefits such as this blog and $400,000 in annual awards and grants. But that's just where it starts! Your individual chapter also offers countless leadership, community service, education, and friendship opportunities.
Let others know that your chapter is a perfect platform for them to have fun and build meaningful relationships with others who have similar passions. To do this, try informing them about some of the activities your chapter plans to conduct this year. Your sense of excitement will likely show through, and more members are sure to participate as a result. With more members, you chapter will be able to accomplish bigger tasks (e.g., community service projects) than ever before!
5. Introduce Yourself and Others
This may seem obvious, but including others can be easily overlooked in group settings. Please always make sure to reach out to each and every new member and visitor at your chapter meetings and events. Consider asking them their opinions or encouraging them to tell everyone a little about who they are.
Students who leave meetings feeling a stronger connection with current active members are more likely to return. You can learn more about being inclusive in the recent Eye article, “Campus Protests Highlight Student Concerns: Can Your Chapter Help?”
6. Update Newcomers About Your Chapter
Students are also less likely to put forth their ideas if they don’t feel “in the loop” about your chapter. So, let them know what projects your chapter has recently been involved in.
To do this, ask someone such as a chapter secretary to start each meeting by describing the events at the last meeting so that any new visitors feel as informed as possible. It is also helpful to keep handouts about upcoming projects or copies of your chapter’s Strategic Plan nearby to share with others.
7. Give Everyone Something to Do
Most important, students who are given ways to get involved are more likely to return to future meetings. At each and every opportunity, try to give new participants at least one small task that they can each perform.
For example, maybe you could ask a first-time visitor to suggest what snack you should bring to the next meeting (they are definitely more likely to return if they know your chapter will be having their favorite snacks!). Or perhaps a new member might be interested in leading a five-minute discussion at the next meeting about a psychology-related issue they are passionate about. Involving new students could even be as simple as bringing a few Psi Chi flyers to each meeting so that you can ask newcomers to hang up a few across campus on their way back to their dorm rooms after the meeting.
Conduct a Lab Experiment
Visit our private LinkedIn group to share any other engagement ideas that have worked well for your chapter. You can also tell us about any other chapter issues you may be having; someone at the Central Office will try to provide you with specific advice as needed.