How to Engage Local Campuses: A Guide for Branches
Does your branch work with college faculty, staff, and students in your area? Do you wish you were doing more? Engaging your local AAUW college/university members in branch activities leads to more diverse programming, growth, and community impact. This resource will help you build relationships with campus communities.
It’s important to first lay groundwork before reaching out to a local college or university. Once you do that, there’s no limit to how you can engage them. If the college or university in your community isn’t an AAUW member yet, use our recruitment guide. We have a few ideas to get you started, but don’t let that be the limit — we’d love to hear what you have in mind for C/U engagement.
Plan Your Outreach
1. Identify a branch C/U chair if you don’t already have one.
Branch C/U chairs aren’t the only branch members who work with colleges, but designating a chair will ensure that someone from your branch receives C/U-related communication from the national office. C/U chairs also have access to C/U information on the Member Services Database.
2. Reach out to your state.
If your state has a C/U chair, make sure to get in contact with that person. Keeping in touch with your state C/U chair is a great way to get additional support, resources, and feedback.
3. Review your branch’s goals.
What does your branch want to achieve this year? Are you looking to create more diverse programs, recruit new members, or host a fundraiser? Think about strategic ways in which your C/U relationship might help you reach those goals. If you’re not familiar with your branch’s goals, make sure to check in with your branch president.
4. Recognize skill sets and time availability.
Engaging C/Us will take time and commitment. Use your strengths. Are you the go-to social media expert? Start by connecting with C/Us throughFacebook and Twitter. Are you the star public speaker? Consider tabling on campus to recruit e-student affiliates and share information about AAUW.
Engage with Campus Administrators
Meet your C/U representatives.
Each C/U member designates two faculty or staff members as the AAUW College/University (C/U) representative. Take C/U representatives from your local campus out for coffee or meet with them in their office for a half-hour. Share information about your branch and find out how they became involved as a C/U representative. Having a face-to-face meeting will make working together easier down the line. Branch presidents, membership vice presidents, and C/U chairs have access to a C/U representative contact list through the Member Services Database.
Invite a staff or faculty member to speak at your next branch meeting.
Take some time to look through department pages online. Are there any staff or faculty members with interesting research or projects? Invite them to speak at a branch meeting or program. Some faculty, especially those on the tenure track, need to show evidence of community building; see if they can make this meeting count toward that requirement, and set clear expectations. Also consider inviting your local C/U representatives to speak or attend a meeting.
Connect with the C/U’s community relations staff.
Many colleges and universities have at least one person in charge of community relations. Search the school’s website to identify that person. Often, community relations staff serve as local resources and liaisons with community organizations such as your branch. Their office will want to know how their school connects with the local community and will be happy to promote this mutually beneficial relationship.
Increase Your Branch’s Visibility
Increasing AAUW’s visibility on campus ensures that students are aware of AAUW campus leadership program opportunities and your branch’s upcoming programs. Ask to have information about AAUW displayed in the women’s center, gender studies department, student activities office, student union, and bulletin boards. Tabling can be a great way to meet new people on campus face-to-face. It’s your chance to share your branch and promote your upcoming programs. Timing is key when promoting AAUW. You have a limited amount of time to get the attention of any audience. Stay on message, and tailor your message to your audience. The more the campus community sees AAUW, the more likely they are to recognize the organization.
Ask about getting a story about the school’s relationship with AAUW in the campus newspaper or faculty and staff newsletters. Better yet, connect with students, faculty, and staff to publish letters to the editor or op-eds about AAUW issues in the campus or local newspaper. Even if you don’t have time to meet with newspaper staff in person, make sure to connect with student editors and the newspaper adviser over e-mail. Keep them updated with interesting stories. For example, did your branch table on campus to promote voter registration? Let the student newspaper know ahead of time so they can send a photographer. You can use photos later to recap how your latest activity went on social media, on your website, or in a branch newsletter.
Does your branch use social media? Recognize your C/U members online! You can share related school events on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. For example, when you’re headed to campus for an event, your branch’s Twitter account can tweet about it using the school’s hashtag and handle. Did you table on campus? Post a photo online. Celebrate your C/U’s achievements, including when faculty or staff win an award. You don’t have to post every day, but try to post something C/U-related once a month.
Promote AAUW to Students
Promote e-student affiliation.
All undergraduate students at C/U member schools can join AAUW as e-student affiliates (e-SAF) for free. It only takes a minute for students to register online as an e-SAF. They remain e-SAFs as long as they are undergraduates and their institutions retain their AAUW membership. E-SAFs also receive free national membership for the first year out of college. Table during a student involvement fair and have students sign-up online, or see if the C/U representative can send out a targeted email with the e-SAF sign-up link included. Check out AAUW’s six reasons why students should become e-SAFs to help you craft your message.
Promote AAUW campus programs.
Bring one of our many national leadership programs to a school near you. LAF Campus Outreach Grants help branches fund campus events on gender equity issues and the civil rights laws that protect against gender-based discrimination. A member of your branch can work with our latest research on a Campus Action Project grant. Encourage students to form their own AAUW student organizations or bring an AAUW salary negotiation workshop to campus. Don’t forget to let students know about the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, and invite recent conference attendees to speak at a branch meeting.
Promote voter registration and education.
Although election years are always a popular time to register voters, you can register new voters any time. Consider partnering with the civic engagement office, student government, or political science department for the project. The more people involved, the more people you can reach! Make sure that they remember you are there to help.
Now Tell Us Your Ideas!
Does your branch have a program that you’d like to share? Submit your ideas below.
Collaborations with C/U memebrs can start with campus leadership programs.
Learn about the important role C/U chairs play in AAUW.
State and branch member leaders are the best ambassadors to recruit local campuses to join the AAUW community.