National Conference – “Troubleshooting”

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D-vas! For those of you who are ready (kind of) to go to Conference, but have had trouble or have encountered difficulties that you have made public to your RCR… here are some of the solutions, explanations and course of action being taken. Please read through these; if these don’t solve your problems, or if you have more problems, don’t hesitate writing to your RCR or to your RCNE.

By the way, the answers were provided by Pam Snyder, the RCR/RCNE Coordinator. Thanks very much Pam!

1. Only being able to register for one room at a time -sections worry rooms will not be near each other or in the same hotel. They can reserve up to 3 rooms at a time in 1 call. I know this because I handled this for my company.  Any more than this they need to send a request.  This is how Baltimore as a city works for conferences, SWE has no control over this.

2. Not being able to call the hotel directly to confirm-worry about check-in times (if they are arriving late) and confirmation that it went through. You can call a hotel if you are arriving late and should these hotels all have individual numbers just look on the confirmation or check internet.  But again the city handles things this way day in, day out for much larger conferences don’t worry.

3. Most collegiates do not know yet how many they can send and worry about the rooms selling out.  This happens every year.  Most sections reserved rooms months ago.  It’s always easier to request 1-2 more than you need and cancel then not have enough.  This is on the sections to handle like every other year.

4. Can only enter one code at a time (i.e. cannot enter the volunteer code and the free housing code).  This is because section presidents can only use 1 code or the other, not both.

5. Wondering if their is a limit on free housing (i.e. only 10 rooms available)  We will not reach the limit.  There is space for every section president if needed.  But if they have not reserved in the next few weeks HQ may start to cancel rooms.

6. Confusion over checking in late/being able to attend the ice cream social if they arrive after check in.  This is the same as every other year, you typically do need to check in to get the card for the ice cream social.  Sections arriving late, can try, and typically can enter, they just may or may not get ice cream.


National Conference – Resources

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If you haven’t noticed… SWE’s got a HUGE event going on this November. It’s SWE’s National Conference, to be held this year in Baltimore from November 6th to the 8th. If any of you have had trouble spreading the word around campus, or if you need ideas to get started (or maybe some help to keep on going), well, check out the National Conference Website. There are links all over the place on this blog, or you just click here.

One of most useful places for resources is found on the tool-kit… I’ll let Karen Bodach, Conference Program Board Member, tell you about the Tool-Kit.

On behalf of the SWE Conference Program Board (CPB), I am notifying you that the Collegiate Section Tool Kit for National Conference is available.  The tool kit will help collegiate sections increase their attendance at the SWE National Conference by providing:

*Collegiate fundraising ideas
Recommended fundraising timeline
Letter from Faculty Advisor to College Dean – asking for time away from class to attend the national conference
Ideas for collegiate conference cost cutting measures
Sponsorship request letter template
SWE collegiate awards and prizes currently available

To access this tool kit, visit –> Tool Kit –> National Conference Tool Kit for Collegiate Sections.  You can also visit –> My SWE Communities (member log-in) –> Region and Section Resources –> Links.

If you have any questions regarding Conference, DON’T hesitate to let us know! Leave your questions, write to your RCR and/or RCNE… ask your past presidents. It’s an event you don’t want to miss!

National Conference

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Hello D-vas!

This year National Conference will be held in Baltimore! Home of Hairspray and Ace of Cakes!


Dates: Nov 6-8, 2008

People go to national conference for lots of reasons. I go to see my old SWE friends, meet new ones, and this year to find permanent employment. There are technical and sightseeing tours including:

Wineries and Breweries
John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab
Northrop Grumman Electrical Systems
National Air & Space Museum
BP Solar
National Aquarium
Camden Yards
…and many more!

The career fair is amazing. Have you ever walked into a career fair and see three race cars sitting there beside a huge CATERPILLAR machine??? They have those and so many other exhibitors at Nationals.

National Conference is also a great way to learn more about National and Regional SWE. We will have meetings and workshops that help you know more about SWE. National SWE also features workshops to help you grow academically, personally, and as a leader. They offer ones specifically on outreach events, funding, how to interview, and many more.

Another highlight of National Conference is CELEBRATE SWE!!!!!!! During this event many national, section, and regional awards are presented. This includes the coveted SPIRIT AWARD. Region D, the Diva’s, have won for the past two years. We will need your help to win it again this year. Please look out for more info on the plans for Celebrate SWE dinner. This event requires an additional ticket (reserved when you register) and sells out every year.

Last year Cummings Provided Free housing for section presidents. They are providing free housing again. Note: This housing will not be in the same room as others from your section but instead room with other presidents from around the nation. It is a great opportunity to share best practices and meet other SWE presidents.

The code to input during registration is: FREEHOUSING

For more info and to register go to

Can’t wait to see ya’ll in Baltimore.

–Martha Addison, RCR-D FY09

National Conference Info Week!

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Hey there D-vas!

First of all, I’d like to excuse myself for not posting as often lately (and I realize that we are just starting, but I intended to post much more often). I’m struggling with internet problems and a project that never seems to end, but it’s all (almost) over, so I’m back in the Blogging Game!

This week, I’ll be posting important information regarding National Conference. Make sure you visit every day this week, as there is information for those who are new to the Conference Experience (such as myself) and those “seasoned” members who can’t call this Conference their first (nor second… nor third…).

Also, I’ll be adding pictures to the Gallery (FINALLY!). If you’ve got pictures to share, please send them to me (and tell me what they’re about!). The gallery is for everyone to see, and for everyone to post… and I’m sure y’all wanna show off what you’re doing at your section!

Thanks for your patience, don’t forget to comment… and of course, have a SWEet day!

Southern Polytechnic State University

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Our SWE section at SPSU is relatively new. We just re-established ourselves last year, and recruitment has been a bit of a challenge for us. Aside from the fact that SPSU’s male-to-female ratio is especially disproportionate (not many women, but that is improving!), a high percentage of our students are non-traditional, and therefore tend to be particularly hard to recruit.

Over the summer, while making recruitment plans for the first week of class, our president, Cindy, noted that the Greek organizations all had large, attractive wooded letters to represent their fraternities. She came up with a lovely idea for a SWE sign with a moving gear. Cindy and her father thought up the design, built the sign, and then our executive officers got together to paint and finally assemble it.

Making the Sign

(Watch a video clip of Cindy spinning the Gear:

It was a lot of fun – an awesome way to bond as a team – and the final product looks great! In addition to the sign, we hand-painted a SWE banner made from a vinyl table cloth which we all absolutely love!

Read the rest of this entry »

Hot Topic #1: Attracting and Retaining Membership

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Hey everyone! We’ve got our first Hot Topic up this month – we’ll be focusing on Retaining and attracting membership.

We know that that year after year, attracting new members, and sometimes even bringing back last year’s members, can be a Section President’s hardest job ever. Some sections are just lucky, and have hardly any trouble keeping their old membership; other sections barely attract enough members to make their presence felt.

There are many factors involved in a person not renewing or not wanting to join. People won’t join if there’s “nothing in there” for them (one of the reasons some males don’t join SWE); or because they already have enough responsibility within other organizations (within Engineering alone, you’re competing against: ASME, ASCE, IEEE, Tau Beta Pi, NSBE, SHPE, SAE… your school probably has these and many more). When it comes to renewals, members look back on last year and think about what they got for their $20. Although it’s probably too late to make last year’s $20 worthwhile, you sure should keep this in mind if you want this year’s membership to continue next year.

I’ve heard that the Southern Polytechnic State University Section has done a great deal attracting membership, and I’m sure they have advice for all us D-vas! Stay tuned, since their advice will be posted soon, featured in a separate post, under Best Practices.

In the meanwhile, how does your section deal with membership? Are you going through trouble and need specific help? What do you do to attract new members? We’d like to know: leave your comment below and tell us what works for you!