The transition to online classes in late March affected how we learn, how we interact with our peers, and how we spend our time outside of the virtual school day. It has also had a profound effect on student clubs. Over the summer and into this fall term, I’ve continually heard from leaders of our clubs that two of the biggest challenges they face are keeping their members engaged and recruiting new club members. The BCIT Student Association (BCITSA) values the contribution clubs make to the student community, and we recently launched the Clubs for Community program to support club engagement as we work away from campus.
What is the Clubs for Community Program?
It is a new student-centered initiative designed to support clubs with the two main issues they are facing this fall by incentivising club volunteer activities away from BCIT. This program not only rewards clubs for their participation in community activities, but gives its members the flexibility to be involved in experiences that appeal to personal interests in different service areas.
Benefits for your club:
-helps recruit new members in new activities
-exposure for your club in BCITSA promotions
-rewards your club with 2021 event funding
After reading the summary of what the program aims to do, you might be wondering how your club can participate.
Club leaders and members need to decide on what activities or organizations interest them. The next step is to take note of each club member’s personal comfort level when they are in an environment that has COVID-19 measures in place. This will look different for everyone. Since small group numbers are a must in our current health environment, splitting your club into a few sub-teams may be necessary.
Participants must follow the current health guidelines set out by the province and/or local health authority, as well as those outlined by the volunteer organization.
A variety of activities have been selected that benefit the local community, and they vary between online and in-person activities. The list is by no means exhaustive, and it includes organizations like the Canadian Blood Services, Volunteer Burnaby, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, and more. If your club believes that it can give back in another way, please connect with Carly Watson, Clubs Coordinator, or myself, your VP Student Experience.
How are clubs rewarded?
Every club that gets involved (with even a single member) will automatically be awarded funding! The level of club participation will be calculated based on a combination of current membership and projected recruitment of new members during the Sep-Nov 2020 period. The 1st, 2nd & 3rd overall places will be determined by the Clubs Committee with the following in mind: the variety of activities performed, the number of activities performed, and the number of individual club members involved. Up to $25,000 of club event funding is available. Should engagement be such that the available funds are exceeded, the Clubs Committee will see that participating clubs receive a proportionally equivalent amount. For more information, visit the Clubs for Community page on the BCITSA website.
Carly and I are willing to meet with a representative from your club to discuss ideas, challenges, and insights on how to effectively manage the program. Feel free to reach out at any time, and good luck making this term a success for you and your club. Watson says, “a program like this is exactly what we need to continue to build the BCIT community and help students feel connected to more than just their coursework.”
The goal is to offer a variety of eligible activities that allow the BCIT students to pay back to the community in a safe way. Each one of us can find a way to give back to our community, and there is something we all can do to support people in need. If you’re not already part of a student club, I strongly encourage you to join one!
A Club’s Perspective
words by Emily Benson, President of the BCITMA
As the President of BCIT’s Marketing Association, the most rewarding part of my job is creating opportunities for my peers. From networking events with industry professionals, to community-based activities, it’s my job to organize events that appeal to everyone in my club. However, finding these opportunities can be challenging, especially during the pandemic. The BCIT Student Association’s decision to actively support clubs makes my job as president of the MA little bit easier. Clubs for Community provides a fantastic opportunity for clubs and I strongly encourage you to participate!
If a club has already planned to host their own events, why should they participate?
This initiative truly is a win-win situation. Not only do you benefit financially by participating in events, but it also benefits your club members. With a wide variety of events to choose from, there are activities for different types of people. Not to mention, your club will probably host similar events to the ones provided in this initiative. The real question here is: why not get involved?
What sorts of activities can your club members do to get involved?
This initiative offers activities for all comfort levels. From writing letters to frontline workers, to making PPE supplies, to donating blood, the BCITSA has worked hard to create opportunities that work around COVID-19 obstacles and appeal to people with different comfort levels.
For some clubs, participating in these activities isn’t their main focus, so how do they stand to benefit from Clubs for Community?
Creating a sense of community during a time like this is should feel like a club leader’s duty because we are so far away from each other. Participating in these activities helps ease financial tension, generates buzz about your club and gives your club members the opportunities they deserve.
This year, BCIT’s Marketing Association will be proudly participating in the Clubs for Community initiative. If you want to connect, create, and collaborate with the largest club at BCIT, head to bcitma.ca or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.