Throughout the year, it is important to make personal connections with the SWE members in your section. Here are some tips to make SWE a warm & welcoming place for new members and to continue making personal connections with returning members:
NEW SWE MEMBERS:
Ice Breakers! Yes, I know that some of these can be cheesy, but it’s a great way for new members to learn things about returning members. One of my favorite ice breakers is “clump tag”, where a leader calls out a number and category. The rest of the group must form groups of that number based on the category. Some examples include, “Groups of three with the same eye color”, “Groups of 2 with the same engineering discipline”, or “Groups of 5 where one member in the group must have attended the 2009 SWE National Conference in Long Beach”! Another suggestion is “2 Truths and 1 Lie”! At the beginning of the meeting, divide into groups of 4 or 5. In each group, have everyone take a turn telling 2 truths and 1 lie about themselves. The rest of the group then has to figure out which statement was a lie!
Use Social Networking Tools! Create a Facebook page for your SWE Section (if you don’t already have one)! This will allow you to connect with other SWE members with similar interests. And who knows, maybe you’ll find another SWE member who loves to gossip about Twilight as much as you do! In addition to connecting members, you can use the features of groups on Facebook to plan for upcoming SWE events, post pictures from past SWE events, and remind people of upcoming meetings (I’m sure that some members check Facebook more than they check their emails)!
Meeting Discussions! If you have a long list of activities that your SWE section would like to plan for the upcoming semester, ask the new SWE members for their input at a meeting! Discussing future activities will not only make new members feel that their opinions are important, but it is a great way to see which activities spark the most interest. Why plan an ice skating party when the new members would rather go sledding?
New Member of the Month! Each month, pick a new SWE member to be the “New Member of the Month”! At the meeting, have the member of the month give a few fun facts about themselves. For example, they can tell everyone their major, why they chose engineering, and 3 fun facts about themselves! As a token of your gratitude and appreciation for new members, you can even give the New Member of the Month a small SWE promotional item (waterbottle, pen, notepad, etc)!
RETURNING SWE MEMBERS:
Thank Them! Make sure thank returning members for their involvement with SWE and participation in SWE Events. Remind them that they have become SWE Role Models for new members, and without their help, many of your SWE Section’s fundraisers, outreach activities, and social events would not have been possible! To make the “Thank You” personal, you can send them a hand-written card or email highlighting specific contributions that they have made to SWE, such as always volunteering for the early shift at bake sales or being the first person to remember all of the names of the freshmen SWE members!
Invite them to Officer Meetings! Even if they can’t make it to the meetings, this will make them feel like their opinions are important to the section on a deeper level than for new members. It will also give you insight on what events and activities are important to returning members!