–I want to start a student chapter at my university. What do I do?
Start the application process here. Please note you will need to include several elements with your application. We require a thorough application to ensure your student chapter has the necessary leadership in place and is ready to hit the ground running as soon as it is officially recognized by AWSM. Applications missing any of the required materials will not be considered.
If you need guidance on how to fill these requirements, please contact student chapter coordinator Teri Boggess (email@example.com), VP/Student Development Gina Mizell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or secretary Meghan Montemurro (email@example.com).
–When is the deadline for applying?
The upcoming deadline for new student chapter applications is Sept. 16, 2016.
–Is there a limit on how many student chapters will officially be recognized by AWSM each semester? What will increase my school’s chances of earning that distinction?
Yes. AWSM will “admit” up to five new chapters each semester. This program is still in its developmental stages, and capping the number of official student chapters allows national AWSM to give each chapter the guidance it deserves.
Planning ahead and generating interest amongst students, faculty members and professionals before applying to will increase chances of being officially recognized by AWSM. For instance, a prospective chapter with 20 interested students already signed up as student members of national AWSM will have a greater chance of becoming an official student chapter than one with five. A strong outline of plans for the chapter (targeted guest speakers, potential events, etc.) will also make your chapter a more attractive candidate.
–What are the benefits of having an AWSM student chapter at my university?
AWSM prides itself not only advancing women in sports media, but creating a community of members of all ages and in all areas of the field. Being a student chapter means you are fully welcomed into the AWSM family. You will have access to member-only benefits, such as AWSM’s directory, monthly newsletter and job alerts. Additionally, all student chapters will be guided by professional AWSM members, creating plenty of networking and mentorship opportunities. Finally, student chapters allow students at universities with a similar interest in sports media to connect with one another and, hopefully, form valuable friendships and professional relationships that will continue when entering the workforce.
Check out this blog post by AWSM@OklahomaState member Courtney Brown that explains why being part of a student chapter is a valuable experience.
–Why do all of our chapter members need to be national AWSM members?
The student chapter program is a full partnership with national AWSM. In order to take advantage of the resources our organization can provide, student members must register as national AWSM members. The student fee is $25 per calendar year (c’mon, you probably spend more than that on Starbucks each week!) and may be tax deductible because AWSM is a nonprofit organization. Register at awsmonline.org.
–How do we plan a schedule? What are we supposed to do?
Brainstorm with interested students and faculty members to come up with a variety of meetings and events that will most benefit your chapter. The most successful student chapters have a healthy blend of social, educational and professional development activities. Reach out to local media professionals that could be a guest speaker or part of a discussion panel. Hold workshops where peers, faculty members and professionals can critique resumes, cover letters and work samples or provide job interview advice. Throw a watch party for big sporting events or take part in a community service outing. National AWSM is also here to help. Some of the most prominent female sports media professionals in our field today are members of AWSM (USA Today’s Christine Brennan, ESPN’s Shelley Smith, etc.), and we can help connect you to them for conference calls, Skype chats or even in-person visits. Just ask!
–We want to raise money for a project. What should we do?
Traditional fundraising ideas like bake sales can work well on college campuses. Additionally, branches of your school — such as student government or the journalism or communications department — could have funds already set aside to give to student organizations if you ask.
–What is your internship/scholarship contest, and why should we enter it?
AWSM’s internship/scholarship program has placed more than 100 female college students interested in sports media careers in paid internships with employers such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN and some of the country’s most respected daily newspapers. Entering this contest is highly recommended, and more details can be found here.
–Can guys be part of our AWSM student chapter?
Yes! AWSM stands for the Association for Women in Sports Media, not the Association of Women in Sports Media. Our membership is open to anybody who supports the advancement of women in this field. Here’s a story about Oklahoma State’s Jase Chilcoat, a reserve quarterback on the football team and the student chapter member who was the driving force behind getting ESPN’s Linda Cohn to speak at the school this past spring.
–What kind of help is there if we have a question or problem?
National AWSM is here to help. Our goal is to have every student chapter set up with a professional AWSM member that will serve as a mentor to that chapter. Additionally, student chapter coordinator Gina Mizell (firstname.lastname@example.org) oversee the entire student chapter program and is always available to answer questions and provide assistance.
–Do we need to keep our own finances?
Yes. Student chapters are a branch of national AWSM, which means we need to report finances of all chapters to the IRS for tax purposes. Additionally, most schools will require a regular financial report as part of being an official student organization. Having a student chapter treasurer is recommended.
–Are we allowed to come to the AWSM national convention?
Yes! Attending AWSM’s annual national convention — which will be held in Miami in July 2016 — is highly encouraged. There you will network with professional and student members and learn skills that you can take back to your schools. There will also be programs designed specifically for student members at each convention. We had our first official student chapter meeting at the 2013 convention in Scottsdale, which was a huge success!
–Once our chapter is approved, do we have to reapply each year?
All chapters will be evaluated on an annual basis, taking place at the end of each academic year. AWSM will notify each chapter advisor by July 31 of the results. If a chapter is found not to be upholding guidelines set forth by national AWSM, that chapter will be placed on probation for a 90-day period. At the end of 90 days, the chapter will be re-evaluated and allowed to continue operations or suspended. Suspension of a chapter in no way precludes an individual attending or employed by a university from being an AWSM member in good standing. Chapters which have been suspended are eligible to reapply after one academic year. Example: School X is suspended July 31, 2000 – it may reapply on August 1, 2001.
–What would warrant the suspension of a chapter?
A chapter will be suspended when it is found not to be upholding guidelines set forth by national AWSM – which may include: absence of continuous activity and communication with national AWSM, failure to have elected officers in place, lack of chapter members joining national AWSM, maintaining good standing at the host college/university, failure in being officially recognized by the host college/university as a student organization.