PM 2012 - Ryerson University

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10 Things you can do to Improve your EngSoc

Purpose: To present concrete ideas that you can do right away to improve your engsocs

1. Create e-mails addresses that can be passed on

  • Only RMC and Laurentian do not have them right now
  • This causes problems with transition
  • Need to have control over your domain
  • Create a separate IT from the university
  • You can get 50 for free with a university address

2. Brand everything you currently do

  • If you do stuff make sure everyone knows your engsoc is doing it
  • Why does it matter if they know? Because then they will know that you are useful and that you actually provide a service to students
  • Easy as putting your logo on it
  • What if people say “Its better to do stuff then tell people about it” well you will get more volunteers and interest if people know things you do beside drinking
  • Come up with a consistent logo branding, is there a sticker you can put on things?
  • Create a branding policy, this is where we put our logo, it needs to be on this, this big etc.
  • Big standing banners are super good

3. Create a logo that includes the name of your organization

  • People actually know what you are branding and who you are
  • If you have multiple logos make sure the appropraiate ones are being used in certain situations
  • If your logo has just the acronym no one will know what you are saying, consistently apply the full name of your society
  • How can you accomplish this?
    • logo contests
    • graphic design
    • Make sure you get a large variety of submissions
    • personal invitations to art students to design logos

4. Speak to your faculty about being able to just e-mail to all students in engineering

  • If you can contact you entire membership then you can do a lot of feeback and data collection
  • Consider deals with them approving everything you send first
  • If you have your own mailing system look into mailchimp
  • Look into privacy issues of emailing everyone
  • Look into frequency of how much you can actually email students

5. Engage in Data Collection

  • How do you know if you are doing what your fee-paying members what you to be doing?
  • Are you just doing the same things every years?
  • How?
    • google forms
    • ask more broad questions, ie what do you think engsoc should prioritize out of this list of five
    • large censuses only do one or two per term
    • If you have a large event leave a feedback form so people can help improve events

6. Create appropriate job descriptions for all positions

  • How do you know if you are attracting the right people
  • Create a specific position for everything
  • Write the position on the application form, with skills required and previous experience needed
  • Volunteers do best with well defined roles and tasks, hard to consistently supervise people so make sure they know what they are doing
  • How?
    • Think of what everyone actually does
    • huge amounts of skills will turn people away
    • job description for class reps for example should be less intense than that of the executives

7. Implement Online voting

  • Only a few schools don’t do it
  • Issues to consider:
    • How do they login?
    • If school login what about privacy issues, can someone see who everyone voted for?
    • Pretty hard but try and start the discussion to the faculty
    • U of T will give you their online voting system if you ask

8. Have real meetings

  • You should run legitimate meetings where everyone can actually talk
  • The only reason you are taking everyones money is because everyone should have a voice
  • If a random student showed up to your meeting would you think they would want to come back?
  • Is a meeting a social gathering or is it an actual meeting
  • Are your meetings for feedback or motions?
  • Follow rules of order and have a chair, make sure the chair is impartial
  • Take proper minutes, if someone went to your website and looked at the minutes would they know what happened?
  • Have different tiers of meetings with clear purposes for each
  • Think of some random person coming to your meeting

9. Have a legitimate budgeting process

  • If you take everyone’s money it should reflect all of the students
  • Your budget is a display of your priorities
  • Do you have a fair process?
  • Is it the same every year?
  • Does the budget reflect the current idea of the executive?
  • What do you define as a return on a subsidized event? Is it benefiting everyone? Define returns clearly if you would like to keep spending money on it?

10. Advocacy

  • Engsocs are uniquely positioned to actually effect student experience and academics
  • Go back to your schools and make an appointment to have a meeting with all of the department chairs and dean
  • Ask them where is the faculty, is there an opportunity for student feedback
  • Try and get students involved in faculty council and in positions to effect change
  • Develop a relationship with them so when an issue comes up you are in the position that they ask for an opinion from you
  • Have discussions at meetings with faculty topics and issues
  • If you are doing this make sure you are following up and making sure things are happening

First Year Student Integration

Purpose: To discuss how to increase first-year participation and integrate them into the EngSoc community

Why is frosh retention and integration important?

  • They are the future us
  • They will be the ones representing us later
  • The can give a fresh perspective to the society can progress
  • First years now are coming in with more experience than they used to in terms of fundraising, events and getting contacts
  • You can use them to help build the community
  • Army of non jaded volunteers (haven’t been exposed to negative stereotypes)

What needs do frosh have

  • Frosh want resources and info on all the services, might be a good idea to narrow down all resources to one central system
  • They want to be more familiar around the campus
  • They want help getting to know their fellow classmates
  • The want to talk to upper years in their program

How do your schools fulfill these needs

  • Western: Undergrad office is always open. They get a lot of people showing up in the first two weeks

Ryerson: Facilitating meet and greets

  • What problems do schools face from these mixers?
    • Larentian: The frosh are still timid and might not step forward with the upper years in a social setting, maybe one on one is more beneficial
    • Guelph: Filtering through mentors and getting some bad influences away from frosh
    • Ryerson: First year office, whatever they cant get from engsoc they can get from there

How many engsocs work with residences?

  • Ryerson: First year tutoring center, where they facilitate frosh only peer groups and help them find study groups (not run by engsoc)
  • Queens: First year director is a position where the frosh can e-mail them whatever questions they have, and they have all the info to direct them to what they need, weekly bulletin first year class visits, takes care of the first year executive

What events do frosh enjoy more than upper years?

  • Sporting events (still have school spirit), stil get excited with simple things
  • Non-drinking events, bowling, laser tag
  • Provide free pop and stuff so they can still have a cup in their hand
  • All ages events are not as effective as dry events, still no fun for frosh if they can go but everyone else is drinking

Community Events?

  • Queens: Bus tour, they book some buses and do a tour of the campus with dons just talking about things and what certain places offer as they drive by
  • Ryerson: City-wide scavenger hunt WITH the leaders with them giving a commentary as they are travelling
  • UOIT: Bussed downtown for a food-crawl with deals at all the restaurants
  • Carleton: Floor events and social community stuff
  • Queens: Bigger or better, given three newspapers and the frosh have to try and trade for things. One problem with this is when they are just walking around Kingston, there are people who are drinking all around

What are events everyone can enjoy not just frosh of just upper years?

  • Queens: grease pole the frosh and upper years are mixed together in the pit, sense of community

Frosh and traditions

  • Waterloo: During our meet the tool event frosh weren’t getting involved, so having leaders dispersed with all of the others
  • Showing that upper years are excited and passionate about traditions as well can go a long way
  • Laurentien: showing the difference between hazing and traditions
  • How do purpling help with first year integration?
    • Queens: These guys look so cool, and I want to be like them
    • Windsor: Family things, you all look the same, all engineers
    • Carleton: Good icebreaker if upper years are purple easier to start conversation
    • Ryerson: first day of frosh they explain all of the traditions, then purple the next day

What new methods could be used to incorporate frosh into the community?

  • Queens: Bring your own steak, mingle with your frosh group (they have very small groups)
  • Laurentien: Social media, one for department and one for society, help them see that they are not alone and are a part of a larger community
  • Windsor: Pick leaders who care, and just hang out with lower years, makes the frosh feel really special

How can you go about introducing an ambassador program?

  • Continuous effort is very necessary
  • Can’t happen right away needs to be a continuous effort, you need to start now so it will get better later
  • Get frosh positions early, with actually positions
  • Hiring fair, all exec and chairs, these are all of the positions available throughout the year
  • Get involved with engineering society week, all of the positions and volunteer positions available

Succesion Planning

Purpose: To discuss how to properly succession plan within your Engineering Society Adapted presentation from a leadership certification program at waterloo

What is succession planning?

  • Succession planning: The ongoing process of identifying future leaders in an organization group or club developing them so theyre ready to move into leadership roles.
  • i.e. prepping youngins to tak over from you


  • Growth opportunity. People will get used to doing things, giving people the confidence to get involved. Using the support network you can feel comfortable with your duties. It allows you to grow
  • Knowledge of future possibilitys. If you don’t talk to them about what is available, they might not know what exists. There wont be anyone to take on the roles if no one knows what is going on. Make sure you are talking to people about what is going on.
  • Skills are developed by doing. If you get practice doing things, you get more and more used to it. If you have a mentor the first time it feels more comfortable.
  • If someone has a vision for the society, you can instill that vision within your mentee, inform them of your vision and they will hopefully work to follow the same vision.If you don't have a mentorship role like that, they wont have any back knowledge on what is going on.
  • Mentorship skills, it helps you develop as a person as well, and it will be beneficial in the long run to know how to train people, teach people etc. And it also allows you to have a much easier transition as they will have worked with you before.

Effective Strategies

  • Waterloo: We have 3 tiers of people, so you can easily move up the ladder. You can go from attending events, to doing directors, then can become a commissioner, then can run for executive
  • Ryerson: We have a time limit, anyone who wants to run for VP you have to have a year experience on BoD. If you want to get on BoD you have to have experience prior to that. So you cant just jump to the top (and lose the vision)
  • Waterloo: Best item for transition is probably documents, if you have in depth documents it makes things much better
  • Ottawa: We kind of recruit people to be the next in that position. They help with the current person, so they know what is going on, and then they can do it themselves next time. Do you have trouble getting volunteers?
  • You want to try and make the barrier to entry super low. We want to make it super easy for people to get involved. Make it as EASY as possible to get people involved, to allow them to come to events etc. If you get to know them its the first item. Make the barrier to entry lower, and allow them to go slowly if they want to. Do not expect them to jump into responsibility right away.
  • If you get a lot of people out to events, you will be surprised at the number of people that actually are interested in responsibility
  • Do not push for them to come to engineering society things only. Push for every student to do SOMETHING. Be a resource for students, so they can ask you about where they can get involved, but allow them to be involved in other things
  • Carleton: I think having a lot of levels is very good. And get them while they're young. Frosh week is a great opportunity for people to interact and encourage PEOPLE to at least get involved in one thing.
  • You should provide positions specificly for first years, so they feel that they have a position etc.
  • Try pairing up with people. Work with the mentee so they are not overstressed but they are still going on. Keep them going on and keep on top of them
  • Unpair council meetings from volunteer activities. A lot of people don’t want to have to go to boring council meetings, but they still want to volunteer for things.
  • One god strategy that is helpful is committees. Then there isn’t the total stress on one person, but more people are involved and it also gives more people opportunities
  • Make specific position descriptions.
  • People wont know what is going on, and waht the position is. They don’t know what the position is so they can just say they don’t want to take it because they don’t know if they can handle it. You can tell them it is super easy, and say just do it. There is a barrier, so if you add specific descriptions it will be better and make them feel more comfortable, and have an idea of what they need to do when they start. It will also precent people from going into positions while not knowing what it is, and then falling back if they don’t like it.
  • Personal invitation is also extremely beneficial, you will be the point of contact, and you will also be able to answer their questions

Things to avoid

  • Do not play favourites. If someone is more qualified than someone you are friends with, you should not be giving better chances to someone you are friends with. You can do the mentorship thing and tell them they should apply, but everyone should have equal opportunity.
  • Pushing people too hard. The mentee is not going to want to say no, but they may take on too much. They might feel like they are burning out.
  • Dont move backwards. If you are a VP and then are going to take on a directorship, you are taking away that spot and that opportunity from someone else, and you would be taking away a development time from them
  • Keep graduation year in mind. If there is someone that is going to graduate, try not to pick someone like that as a mentor. Focus on someone that will be around for a while, so they have the knowledge base for longer.
  • Also have to take that into account when picking people for positions. If someone is more qualified but is in fourth year, might want to provide it so a slightly less qualified, younger student. They will be around to help people in the future.
  • For transition documents, when you run an event, you have some items in your mind right away. Just writing a summary of an event or something you interacted with right away and having a living document is ideal. You should be writing it as it is going on. Also, if there is people under you, give them an easy way to get information back to you. Be sure you follow up with people. Dont feel bad about sending reminder emails
  • One of the things that comes up is continuing the vision. People will continually pass on the vision. But you don’t want to have the vision be stagnant. You need to keep things fresh. The vision will adapt.
  • Guelph: We had a first year coordinator. First years are nervous. This person goes to the classes and tells them what is going on, and asking if they want to be involved. We found it makes more people want to be involved
  • Carlton: Whenever I run meetings I encourage people to give in the ideas, but we can work together to get the ideas done.

Corporate Sponsorship

Purpose: To discuss how to receive sponsorship for your Engineering Society.

Basic to get started

  • Have your Sponsorship package prepared
  • It is important, they are looking for what they will get for their dollars. Levels of sponsorship etc. Length of sponsorship, what exactly they are sponsoring.
  • Know what you have to offer them (Posters, publications, info sessions, job fairs)
  • Start looking for sponsorship early, companies have fiscal years and spend money based on that, Most engsocs transition in the summer, try and start right away as you are being transitioned in.
  • It isn’t always about money. Whatever you can get to benefit your students you should go for. Supplies for students, shop time availability etc.
  • Contracts. You need to know if the contract is necessary for the given sponsorship, but be prepared.

Being Approached by Companies: What to do

  • Example: National bank was looking for a full year sponsorship at Mac
    • National bank was chasing after multiple student societies
    • You may have to negotiate contracts based on something they have already set up. They may have done this before but you need to make sure you are getting what is best for your students
  • How to do it safely, do you or do you not need a lawyer?
    • National bank asked for a bunch of things that wasn’t Ideal
    • They wanted a multi year agreement, they wanted exclusivity. If you are hosting something, they get first dibs. You must approach them first, if they are not interested, you can go somewhere else. They offered money, swag and lunch and learn opportunities. Also offered student accounts and services (irrelevant to sponsorship)
    • It was a multi year contract, but no risk contract, you can back out any time
    • Make sure you know what you are signing when signing a contrcat and make sure it won't limit engineering society opportunities

Approaching a corporation

  • Approach places early and know what you have to offer
  • It is not appealing if you just tell them what they will be doing for you.
  • Who to approach:
    • Campus relations
    • Community outreach
    • Important / appropriate department leaders
    • Human resources
    • When you are looking for corporate sponsorship, human resources is usually the department you are looking for. You have to appeal to them really quickly.
  • Cold calling – doesn’t work as well as email. Email keeps a record, you can then follow up with a phone call. You can always reference your email, and if they say something in email you have it
  • You can also use social media to approach certain people.