Student Chapters execute on excellence
Student Chapter Excellence Program sees fruits of major revamp
By Chris Posey, Online Marketing Lead
This year, SEG Student Chapters moved forward through a significant evolution of the Student Chapter Excellence Program. On 7 November, student chapter representatives filled the seats of the Student Pavilion during this year's Annual Meeting to discuss the many ways the student chapters have grown and benefitted from the significant changes that have been (and still continue to be) implemented.
Under the new student chapter structure, chapters are divided up into three distinct groups: Base, Ridge, and Summit. Over the course of the year, chapters receive points for performing a variety of activities. Points are assessed by a subcommittee of 5-7 representatives, and are tallied throughout the year. At the Annual Meeting, chapters are awarded designations based on their total points. Points are accumulated for submitting chapter reports (and for doing so in a timely manner), for holding events, for hosting SEG Honorary and/or Distinguished Lecturers, and for any number of other activities that promote the geosciences to students in a concrete manner. More points are awarded based on the scope and size of the activity. Generally, to reach the "Summit" level, chapters must have maintained consistent hard work throughout the year while also conducting at least one major event, such as an international geosciences conference.
According to Elsa Velasco, SEG University and Student Programs Manager, points are awarded according to a comprehensive criteria structure that aims to reward and recognize the best student chapters, no matter where they are. For Velasco, one of the primary benefits of the revamped Student Chapter Program is that it "increases student chapters' accountability for their successes." In addition, the new system provides a mouthpiece for all student chapters, regardless of size or location. Chapters in remote areas of the world or in areas that must regularly deal with technology issues may previously have seen participation as an SEG Student Chapter as a challenge. Under the revised program, Velasco notes that "we are able to identify chapters that may have been previously missed."
This year's Student Chapter Program Meeting was a particularly meaningful one, as it was the first year the three level designations had been awarded to student chapters at Annual Meeting. Of the 262 chapters that applied, three were awarded the title of "Summit" and 47 were recognized as "Ridge." The three Summit chapters received certificates and trophies, while the Ridge and Base chapters received certificates acknowledging their accomplishments. The awards were given in the presence of SEG University and Student Programs (USP) Board Liaison, Edith Miller, who was introduced to the crowd during the event. In addition to level recognition, the hard work of the Student Chapter Subcommittee and other key stakeholders was duly recognized. After the ranking process was finalized, the event continued with recognition of the Challenge Bowl winners, Best Paper and Best Poster Student Award winners, and the top 10 finalists in the inaugural USP Student Photo Contest. There were also event giveaways.
As the event progressed, students (and subcommittee members in particular) turned their thoughts toward 2013. Over the next year, the Program plans to determine the "Best Student Chapter." The award for this accomplishment will include a travel grant of up to $5,000, to assist the winning chapter in attending the 2014 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. Three runners-up will receive up to $1,500 per chapter for the same purpose.
The spirit of celebration permeated the crowd as awards were given, designations assigned, and new plans made. It is this spirit that drives the continued success of the Student Chapter Program and the success of USP in general. "This was huge team effort combining strengths from our exceptional Subcommittee members and USP business staff such as Melissa Presson. I think this is one of the best examples of the Student Chapter spirit " noted Velasco as she contemplated the accomplishments of the student chapters in 2012. In this spirit, the program can surely expect continued greatness and growth in 2013.
View the presentations given during the Student Chapter Excellence Program: