Make the Most of Your AAUW Student Organization Meetings
Your AAUW student organization uses meetings to plan events that challenge the status quo on campus. But besides planning campus programs and having rich discussions, do you ever find yourself wondering what else you can do during your student organization meetings?
Keeping your meetings engaging is critical to retaining members. Take advantage of the ideas below to maintain and grow your student organization as the school year progresses.
1. Engage with feminist media
Watch a clip from a movie, television show, or documentary and deconstruct it. Find something with feminist themes to praise or media lacking feminism to challenge. Develop discussion questions to consider after the viewing.
Take it to the next level: Follow up your meeting by going global! AAUW offers access to three dozen films including Half the Sky, A Path Appears, and The Graduates. These films present the perfect opportunity to lead into a discussion on what can be done on campus to raise awareness on global feminist issues.
2. Speed network
Use your meeting time as a networking opportunity. Invite your local AAUW branch or Younger Women’s Task Force chapter, and allow members of your organization to create connections and form relationships.
Take it to the next level: At your meeting, match members of your student organization with local AAUW branch or YWTF chapter members and have them ask each other about their career paths, passion for women’s equity, and experience with AAUW. After a certain amount of time, yell “switch!” so that everyone gets a chance to meet everyone in the room.
3. Take action
- Write a letter to the editor and op-ed to your school or local newspaper.
- Plan a rally to organize your campus.
- Organize a voter registration drive to get out the vote!
Take it to the next level: Sign your members up to become Two-Minute Activists with AAUW’s Action Network. After they sign up, they will receive urgent e-mail notices to contact their members of Congress right in their inboxes.
4. Invite a guest speaker
Have a professor who always gives inspiring lectures? Know a local community member who could speak on a topic that your student organization is passionate about? Invite them to speak during a meeting, and open it up for a Q&A afterward. Find out the best way to secure your speakers for free!
Take it to the next level: AAUW fellows and grantees are doing
trailblazing work around the world to promote equity for women and girls, and they often make perfect guest speakers. Use our directory to find out if you have an AAUW fellow or grantee near you or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help connect you. Read more.
5. Spread the word about Title IX
Title IX affects all areas of education, from gender discrimination within athletics to sexual harassment and violence. Use your meeting time to talk about the difference facets Title IX covers.
Take it to the next level: Don’t end the meeting there! Work with your members to deliver resources to your Title IX coordinator and make sure your campus is in compliance with Title IX.
6. Explore and celebrate diversity
Diversity and inclusion are critical to AAUW’s mission. AAUW provides various activities that help create a dialogue around the intersections of identity. Pick an activity and adapt it to kick off your next meeting!
Take it to the next level: Don’t forget to ask yourselves who is missing from the conversation. Use AAUW’s Diversity and Inclusion Tool Kit to discover how to include different voices and make your meetings accessible to your entire campus community.
7. Get your organization funded
It’s not easy keeping a student organization going, particularly with limited funds. Utilize your meeting time to apply for outside funding and brainstorm other fundraising ideas with your members.
Take it to the next level: AAUW can help fund your events that tackle our public policy priorities! Work with your student organization members and adviser to apply for a Campus Outreach Program Grant, a Campus Action Project grant, or a Community Action Grant to create campus programming that aims to eliminate gender discrimination.
8. Spread the word about AAUW’s mission
Need more ideas? Check out the AAUW calendar!
See what events, holidays, and AAUW program deadlines are coming up.
Take it to the next level: Collaborate with other social justice or feminist
organizations on campus to combine forces and widen your audience. Theresa Johnson, a 2015–16 AAUW National Student Advisory Council member and president of Lock Haven University’s AAUW student organization, has been able to express herself through her organization’s monthly zine. This year her organization’s main goal is “to work with other clubs that share goals to inspire feminism and intersectionality.” To achieve their goal, the organization collaborated with their school’s Gay-Straight Alliance on their monthly social justice zines. When the Gay-Straight Alliance was ready to create their own zine, they gave AAUW a shout-out thanking them for the inspiration.
9. Dive into a book
Take it to the next level: AAUW offers webinars year round to support your student organization. Occasionally, we offer virtual meet-and-greets and book discussions with authors (including AAUW fellows). E-mail email@example.com to see if there is one coming up.
10. All tapped out?
Connect with other AAUW student org leaders in the official AAUW Student Organization Leader Facebook group or on Twitter and brainstorm with them! AAUW is a community of 170,000 members and supporters. Reach out and take advantage of this unique social justice network.
This post was written by AAUW Campus Leadership Programs intern Aji Bakare.
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