Chapter Activities & Bonding
Depending on what your school has and the creativity and interest of each group the kinds of activities available to each chapter are quite limitless. It is important to remember that everyone has different motives in life. Some people join clubs primarily for friends, while others are more interested in the engineering project or networking opportunities. When planning times to bond as a team, on-campus activities are the easiest as it does not need transportation coordination. Be warned: this stuff does not NEED to be space related. Just because we are all space people doesn't mean you can't do something else as a chapter... maybe it is even better to get out and do something else!
Chapter Social Activities
These activities are focused on doing things with your chapter to bring you closer together as a team. They aren't specifically for team building, but more relaxed activities that any friend group could do.
- Late-Night Dinner and a Space-Movie - Everyone loves food, for the most part, and basically all of us in SEDS can not get enough of good space movies. Host a little dinner and movie night with your chapter on a weekend night (a couple weeks in advance to make sure most can be open) and just hang out, drink a beverage, and enjoy the company of each other.
- Karaoke Night - Alright, let's face it: this is quite the interesting activity, and requires a certain state of mind :). With that, and can be soso fun. If you have the right systems and a couple working mics, this can be a FANTASTIC way to push everyone out of their shell and expose who they really are: a tone deaf, screaming individual confident in their abilities. Rocket Man needs to be sung at least two times, and David Bowie needs representation as well.
- Bar Night - if a significant amount of your chapter are 21+, this is a real social activity. Get drunk in a public place with a bunch of space/rocket loving students. What can go wrong? Some things...
Team Building Activities
Making members work together to solve problems and bond greatly contributes to maintaining a cohesive chapter below are some examples of events you can implement to improve communication and bonding between chapter members.
- Newsletter - Form a group of students who are responsible for writing a monthly chapter newspaper to be shared with everyone in the chapter and the school!
- Book Club - Invite members to read and discuss space related books. Tough for some students, but it can be very rewarding and a great learning experience for all the participants. You also grow closer to people when reading a book together fo sho. I have had my entire chapter read certain books to learn about the engineering project we are tackling that semester/year.
- Visit High Schools - Ask for student volunteers to visit local high schools to educate younger students about space and talk about their experience transitioning into college. This is also an outreach event for sure, but it actually acts as a great team-building activity for the participants, and is a rewarding memory to help the younger generation decide what they want to do... especially space!
These activities are for professional development as a team... which also can act as meeting other team members if you are a bigger team, or significant cross-learning if you are a smaller group.
- Mentoring - Pair younger students with older students based on major, similar interests and hobbies. This can act as a wonderful activity to prepare future leaders of the organization.
- Career Workshop - An activity when people who are curious about the space industry can see what jobs are out there. If well-planned, you can introduce a lot of companies that other members were not aware that existed!
- Weekly Workshops - THIS IS AMAZING. Now that I have your attention with this one, let me remind everyone that all of us have something that would be useful to others. What this does is not only allow a student to be exposed to the rest of the chapter in a personal, but professional matter, but cross-learns the entire chapter for 20-30 minutes to learn a specific topic that the presenter is an expert on. These workshops don't even need to be technical. I allowed one to be about how to tackle Libby's, a local college bar. Whatever is useful to people!
Activities that require transportation are not bad by any means, but require a little more planning to ensure anyone who wants to go can go. But, it is also very exciting to take a little road-trip to visit something that is out of the usual for most people. Below are a few things that are common for SEDS chapters to do that usually require off-campus trips.
If your campus does not have an observatory, visiting a nearby astronomical observatory could be an entertaining experience. If they offer special events throughout the year, plan it to also attend a guest lecture/planetarium show!
Visiting your local aerospace or science museum would be a great group bonding activity. Museums also tend to have student initiatives already lined up, so it can be relatively cheap.