It’s hard not to feel excited about the future of sports media when sitting in a room of more than 15 current and prospective AWSM student chapters and their members. The Association for Women in Sports Media’s 2016 conference opened July 28 at the Mandarin Oriental Miami with AWSMU, a series of panels geared towards student members and student chapters.
A general conference on each group’s biggest successes of the year led into a panel with three students from various chapters across AWSM: Amanda Byrd of James Madison University, Caitlyn Cossu of Penn State University and Hanna Sprague of Michigan State University.
The biggest hit of the panel was Cossu’s point system that was implemented at Penn State over the course of the last year. Many student chapters expressed difficulty in keeping members attending meetings, but Penn State was able to keep a good amount of them using points as rewards. Big speakers and events were worth more while hanging out with fellow AWSM members for coffee or a movie earned smaller amounts. While the system had its initial detractors, Cossu said it was easy to rack up points thanks to the availability and flexibility of the system. Members who had the most points throughout the year were treated to events such as traveling to Philadelphia for a 76ers game or attending the conference in Miami. The eight women who attended #AWSM2016 from Penn State earned the highest points totals in their chapter.
Sprague had the most success with fundraising for her chapter at Michigan State. Michigan State’s involvement was a huge reason the chapter won Chapter of the Year and Sprague said a combination of a fundraiser at a local Buffalo Wild Wings and a GoFundMe page was able to help finance their needs.
Byrd mentioned her chapter’s use of a fundraiser at Chipotle and giving away merchandise such as shirts were big in keeping people involved and informed of AWSM.
Each panelist had different ways of conducting business, but all had extreme success over the past year with their chapters. Though mistakes were made such as forgetting the small details or lacking a bank account, all of the panelists had pertinent information that helped the others in the room.
Sadly, no points were awarded for attending the meeting.
– Mary Clarke