Welcome back on campus! Your first meetings of the session are an important window of opportunity. Make sure they take place early in the semester, soon after your recruitment drive so students don’t forget about you!
This first meeting is a chance to get the ball rolling to a dynamic session. Make it relaxed and fun! Avoid overly formal places like offices or classrooms. Consider holding the meeting somewhere casual, like a common area at school, a café, or a park. Providing snacks, beverages, and even background music can help lighten the atmosphere (and encourage attendance).
Proposed Meeting Structure:
1. Check-in: Take time at the beginning of your meeting for brief introductions! It can really set the tone on your group dynamic. Icebreaker games are a great way to get things started and make everyone feel welcome. Invite people to share their interest and motivations for getting involved: it will give you clues on how to keep them interested in sticking around. In turn, inform the group what specific volunteer needs you have for the session/year!
2. Introduce WUSC. At your first meeting of the session, many people may not know what WUSC is all about. Now is the time to inform them! Share the history of your Local Committee (or why you are planning to start one) and give people an overview of your past activities.
- Use (or adapt) the WUSC 101 Local Committee PowerPoint Presentation (also available under the LC Resource page)
- Distribute items such as WUSC postcards and pamphlets;
- Show the WUSC video “How the SRP changed my life!”;
- Consider distributing one or two media clips or posters from past events to showcase your Local Committee’s history.
3. Talk about your WUSC activities on your campus: Inform the participants that Membership in a WUSC Local Committee gives them an opportunity to be actively engaged with issues of international development and global citizenship. Try to focus on their interest (which you will have assessed in your initial check-in!):
- Education and Advocacy. WUSC enables Local Committees to advocate and raise awareness around issues such as refugee access to education, HIV/ AIDS, Fair Trade, Girls’ education, etc.
- Sponsor a student living a refugee camp. Many Local Committees sponsor refugee students. If your committee is sponsoring a student this year, introduce the Student Refugee Program (SRP) and explain how the committee is helping to welcome and orient the sponsored student to your campus and community;
- Learn overseas. WUSC Local Committees are unique in that they provide opportunities to volunteer overseas! Describe the international opportunities available through WUSC, such as volunteering through Students Without Borders® or participating in the Uniterra International Seminar.
4. Overview of the Year: Describe some of your ideas for the upcoming year. Take a glance at the Local Committee Campus Calendar and review the different proposed activities of WUSC and Uniterra. Treat this as a menu: your committee is free to choose in which activities to participate. You are also encouraged to come up with your own!
5. Find common interests: Discuss people’s first impressions of the proposed activities, and brainstorm how they could be pursued on your campus. Find out which activities individual members are most interested in, and try to find commonalities. Some activities, like symposia and educational events, can be adapted to reflect the major areas of interest of your committee.
6. Pick your next meeting date! Before closing, decide on a convenient time and location for your next meeting, so that the Local Committee can develop a plan of action and decide which activities it will pursue. Don’t make it too far in time – keep the momentum going!
*Inspired from the Local Committee Handbook – Module 2 “(Re)Building your Local Committee”
Questions or new ideas? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org