Student Resource Guide to Civic Engagement (3)
This is part 3 of Karen Buhr's report on Civic Engagement in Graduate Education - Students. Part 2 was posted yesterday.
Ways to get engaged, continued
6. Start a student chapter of your national professional organization
Many national professional societies value the importance of student chapters. Find out if a student chapter of your favorite professional society exists, get involved or start one. You will gain valuable experience outside the classroom and get a chance to network with people that share your interests. For more information contact your professional society and then contact the student activities office to find out how to make it official.
7. Start a social committee in your department
Many students feel isolated in their departments. Whether you do or not, you can benefit your program and help students that feel isolated by starting a regular social activity. It can be as simple as having a weekly coffee hour or as complex as the malpractice ball. Do what makes sense to you and your department. Need money? Your department may have funding, contact department officials. If not, your university student affairs office or grad student association may be able to help with small event funds.
8. Participate in your college’s Mentor Program
Mentors are the building blocks of community. By creating connections you strengthen the community, benefit from networking and career advice, and meet people that share similar interests. Many programs already have mentor programs, get involved with yours. If not, create one in your department.
New students can benefit from the experience of their predecessors. Start a graduate student mentorship program. Pair more experienced students with incoming students. Not only will incoming students benefit from your advice, they may avoid some of the pitfalls of graduate school.
9. Start a student organization
Interested in other students that like to wear sweatpants, ballroom dance, go to art museums, watch football or cook Thai food? Whatever your interest, the university is large enough that there is likely someone else who enjoys doing what you do. Contact the Student Activities Office. All it takes is a few friends, a small amount of money for registration, and the patience to write a constitution.
10. Find ways to use your skills in the community
You already possess skills and experience that can benefit your community. Share those skills by volunteering with a local group that works in your discipline. You will pass on valuable expertise and gain experience that may lead you to a job after school. Some examples include volunteering at a local clinic, hurricane relief projects, and diabetes screening. Put your education to good work.