3 Tips for Involving Your Local College in Your Branch

August 01, 2013
Two women hold up Equal Pay Day candy bars and fliers.

At their Equal Pay Day table at George Mason University, graduate student Marisa Allison (left) made buttons and provided AAUW information about the wage gap, and AAUW member Sandy Lawrence brought her laptop to sign up new AAUW e-student affiliates. Photo by Sandy Lawrence

July is an exciting time of year for someone like me. As a university administrator, I waste no time this month scheduling meetings with program collaborators and booking rooms for events that will take place in March or April.

With more than 850 college/university partner members, AAUW can attest that college and university relationships are a natural component to our work at the national, state, and branch levels. Elect Her–Campus Women Win, $tart $mart salary negotiation workshops, and the Campus Action Projects are just a few programs that local branches and states can promote to help strengthen their campus relationships. Now is a good time to think about how your branch or state will work with local colleges and universities. Here are three important things to keep in mind when planning for the 2013–14 school year:

1. Explore resources already available on the website.

Now is a good time to look through the AAUW website to review what materials are available to you. Programs in a Box cover a range of campus-related topics like sexual assault, forming student organizations, and campus outreach grants. When an important public policy issue comes up in your state or local area, you may want to consider organizing with students and faculty to produce letters to the editor and op-eds. Empower your local e-student affiliates to use their voices by holding a meeting with an elected official. We offer step-by-step guides to this and many other actions with your local college. You can also order materials like brochures online through the ShopAAUW website.

2. Share AAUW’s member benefits.

Branches can host free workshops and practice exams through AAUW’s relationship with the Princeton Review. The Princeton Review SCORE (seminars, conferences, or regional) Program enables you to host a practice GRE, MCAT, or other test on a college campus. This is the perfect opportunity to recruit student members and fundraise for your branch at the same time.AAUW branches and college/university partner members have already taken advantage of the special Invisible War documentary screening discount. In addition to a discount, members have access to a program in a box that can help you plan a screening in your community. You may want to consider incorporating this documentary with special programs already happening at colleges. Check in with your local campus to see if they are doing something for Sexual Assault Prevention Month (April), Women’s History Month (March), or Veterans Day (November).

Also, remember that undergraduate students at partner member schools can join AAUW for free as e-student affiliates. Offer this special benefit to students while you build relationships with their campuses. Check the online directory to see if your local campus is a partner member. Signing up students can take as little as two minutes online.

3. Find collaborators to maximize impact.

While you might have thought to include women’s studies departments, women’s centers, and college/university representatives as natural starting points for collaboration, there are many other places to consider. Try finding a contact within the student life or student leadership department. There will likely be someone who at least advises the student government on working with community organizations. Many campuses also have a civic engagement, service learning, or volunteer service center. As a campus administrator, I loved being creative each year with finding new partners.Students also make excellent collaborators. Check online to see if you’re near an AAUW student organization. Student organizations care about the AAUW mission and have creative ideas for new programs. If you don’t see a nearby student organization, e-mail us to find local e-student affiliates and recent NCCWSL attendees who might consider forming a student organization in the coming year. Your encouragement and mentorship can make a difference in the lives of college students.

Paige Robnett By:   |   August 01, 2013