“Why I Stayed Involved in SWE,” a word from our RCR, Sarah Watzman
Freshman year of college was a slightly rough transition for me, as I’m sure it was for many people. As a way of trying to find my niche in a new place, I joined student organizations — one of which was SWE. At first, I would only attend SWE events if I had a freshman friend to go with me, but in February I decided to volunteer for our career fair, completely planned and organized by my school’s SWE section, alone. Although slightly nervous about not knowing anyone, I was definitely glad I went when the career fair coordinator and external vice president (both 4th year students, which seemed so much older than me at the time) stopped me in the volunteers’ room on my way out. They spent almost an hour talking to me about how wonderful SWE is, what they had gotten out of SWE in their four years, and convincing me to attend our regional conference. After lots of encouragement, I decided to attend regionals with my section at University of Kentucky. I went to regionals as one of two freshmen in a group of about twenty SWE members, most of whom I did not know. I was extremely thankful for our section’s president at the time who helped me navigate the conference, meet the other girls from our section, and sat next to me at the banquet on Saturday night. After regionals, she also encouraged me run for an officer position, something I wasn’t even considering since I was only a freshman. With the older officers’ support, I ran for outreach director and was elected to the position for my sophomore year. My junior year I was my section’s president, and now I am Region G’s RCR.
Without the encouragement and support of the older girls in my section, I may not have become as involved in SWE as I am now, and quite frankly may have stopped coming to SWE events. Having the upperclassmen, especially officers, in collegiate SWE sections reach out to their younger, newer members is vital to sustaining membership and growth. I strongly encourage each of you to meet newer members of your SWE section, learn something about them, and help them become incorporated into the organization. Something as simple as a few words can spark someone to return to SWE and keep coming back.