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How to start an engineering student club

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Contents

Introduction

The following is based off the RISE group from Rose-Hulman Institute for Technology.
Rise Group.jpg
 
RISE! is a group started at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with the mission “to raise awareness of innovation through entrepreneurship and empower students to make their ideas a reality by giving them the tools to start, refine, and realize the visions that will shape tomorrow!” With the lack of desire to find entrepreneurship, the founders set off to start a club that would “RISE” awareness and put forth the action of the entrepreneur mindset by bringing awareness and culture to their campus. The University is well-known for placing engineers into Fortune 500 companies, but not many of them are known for great start-ups on the entrepreneurial-side of the engineering world. Because of this, the club was formed as Rose Innovative Student Entrepreneurs also, known as RISE! 

Need and Goals

The goal of RISE! is to create a group with the ability to accomplish tasks quickly, as well as develop a network to explore the start-up world and have a great way to gather resources for other fellow “RISE” members in the years to come. The need was formed after feelers went out and over 60 students responded right away. The need was there and students were identified on campus that did in fact want an entrepreneurship group to help bounce around ideas and also create a cohesive group. The idea was to show a different path for students who wanted to take a more innovative route rather than graduating and working for a  big company.
 

Academic Permission (Steps to be a Club)

  1. Application to be on Probation.
  2. Probation period - must budget finances for the year, present the clubs constitution as well as create procedures on how meetings will be conducted. 
  3. Club status confirmed 
  4. Promote and start gaining supporters 

Support

RISE!'s main advisor is a retired professor that connected the main leaders to active professors on campus. Because of these relationships, they have held great communication with faculty and alumni.  Alumni help with interviews and pitching events, including brainstorming parties. The biggest event Alumni partake in is the Startup! Seminar, mainly as speakers for the event, but also to show ways innovation has helped in their own career paths. 
Startup sm.jpg

Cost

Most of the funding for RISE! came from the University's Entrepreneurship Program, and the other half of their funding came from the student government on campus. To apply for money from the student government, a written proposal is required. To date, RISE! has been able to function and do all of their events with the money they received from the supporters listed above. 

Leadership

In terms of leadership, qualities that have been discussed for this organization are to find "go-getters" that take initiative as well as planners that pay close attention to detail. These types of people are going to further the organization and strive to make it a success.

Launch

RISE! has launched with the help of fliers, emails and follow-up emails, the perfect amount of persistance (without being annoying) and good conversations that peak others interests. They have created booths to get their clubs idea and vision out into the eyes of their campus. Once you put the seed into the mind of others, advertising can become viral.

Lessons Learned and Tips for Others

  • To meet with administration you need to know how they operate; be confident and know how to get things done.
  • Food will always motivate students. For example, RISE! paid the website guru in baked goods. 
  • Keep the leaders focused on the larger picture