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StarChapter of February: Central Ohio ASCE

While members join local chapters to gain access to professional and educational events, to raise their own profile, and perhaps even access the hidden job market, social opportunities are nonetheless important. The Central Ohio chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has been able to also offer social engagement to members and non-members, and by doing so, capturing the real value of a local chapter.

They have also been able to fully utilize StarChapter to streamline their work as board volunteers, in turn saving time and improving the member user experience. We spoke with the board who shared their plans for the coming year as well as tips and advice for other board volunteers. Click to read their story.

 

1. What was Central Ohio ASCE’s strategy for engaging new members in the past year?

We’ve tried to improve the member’s user experience by utilizing StarChapter to update our website and chapter management software, while also maximizing the value they get from their membership by offering more professional, educational and social opportunities. Upcoming social opportunities we are planning include a Blue Jackets hockey game, an outing to a shooting range, Crew soccer games, and others. Educationally and professionally, we are developing a local Geotechnical Institute Chapter as well as a Utility Engineering and Surveying (UESI) Institute to offer additional technical and social events specific to those disciplines.

 

2. Tell us about a successful event/meeting you organized last year.

Our annual spring seminar, covering ever increasing water quality issues, was a major success. The day-long seminar with notable public and private-sector presenters provides a cost effective, relevant opportunity for members and non-members to add to their technical expertise while also obtaining necessary professional development hours. Our spring seminar isn’t until April, so we’re not yet sure what attendance will be like. The one last April was before we implemented StarChapter.

 

3. The ASCE network is extensive. Does the board get ideas on how to improve membership value from other chapters?

Yes. We attend yearly regional conferences provided by our national organization to not only learn “best practices” from our national leaders but also to coordinate with dozens of other sections and branches in our region. We’ve implemented several successful ideas that were planted by utilizing these valuable resources. One example we got from regional conferences is our successful webinar program, where the Section will purchase technical webinars that any member can attend for free.

 

4. Do you have any tips/advice to share with other board volunteers?

As volunteers, we all seek to do as much as we can for our organization within the time constraints of our jobs and personal lives. Utilizing resources that allow this time to be used more efficiently will not only benefit you but also your organization and its members. Since implementing StarChapter, we’ve found that many of our tasks necessary to manage the chapter – communication with members, maintaining the website, administering meetings, payment collection, advertising, etc. – have become more streamlined.

 

5. What is in store for members next year?

We are continuing our focus on engaging our members and providing as much value for their membership that we can. Our STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) Expo for elementary and middle school students continues to grow, and ASCE is also releasing the “Dream Big” IMAX film in February during Engineer’s Week, so we are planning events for that. We also plan on reinvigorating some technical committees that have been dormant.   

 

6. How have been able to utilize StarChapter to run Central Ohio ASCE and reach its goals?  

Initially, we used StarChapter to improve our member's user experience in our communications and event registration. The new website is attractive and user-friendly. Our section’s volunteer leaders are working more efficiently, and our email communication is streamlined and has a consistent look and feel no matter which volunteer sends it.

 

 

 

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