Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How to Run a Successful INFORMS Student Chapter

How to Run a Successful INFORMS Student Chapter

That was the theme discussed by student panelists at our recent INFORMS Conference that took place at UMass Amherst, May 6-7, 2011.

The tips provided by the panelists, all of whom have served as officers of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, were very valuable. This student chapter has garnered 4 national awards for its activities in the past several years.

The panelists discussed the history of the chapter, how to ensure the sustainability of the chapter through funding sources for its activities, the importance of solid leadership by its officers and Faculty Advisor, how to identify (and execute) interesting activities and events, both social (from bowling and ping pong tournaments to regular end of semester parties) and academic (such as our Speaker Series and field trips to companies) that attract a good audience.

They noted the importance of regular communications about chapter activities and the use of social media for communications, from Facebook to Twitter, in addition to its regularly updated website. Even former members, who have graduated, regularly check out the chapter website and some even commented on the delicious cuisine that we had at our recent party!

The panelists emphasized how much they gained from meeting the outstanding speakers who spoke in our Speaker Series, how serving as officers provided them with leadership experiences that will serve them well in their professional careers, and the friendships that they have made because of the student chapter and activities.

You can download the presentation of the panelists here
(it is long but your patience will be rewarded).

I might also add that the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter did a magnificent job helping us with our recent conference, by handling the projectors and equipment, putting up signs for the sessions, giving directions, etc. Many of them showed up at 7AM both days of the conference and stayed until past 8PM!

Kudos to the students who work so unselfishly for the betterment of their colleagues, the schools that they represent, their university, and even professional organizations!