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Magazine: Updates Establishing an ACM student chapter
activity ideas for university groups

Establishing an ACM student chapter
activity ideas for university groups

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The previous "Updates" column (Fall 2010), introduced two ACM chapters and highlighted some interesting activities they've hosted. Since then, readers have asked for more information related to starting a new chapter, specifically, "What will the chapter do?"

Most chapters organize workshops, tutorials, lectures, and set up a web site. But there are a lot of innovative and exciting ideas we'd like to share.

Shadowing. High school students get paired with college students and spend the day attending classes and socializes. High school students gain the opportunity to learn more about a college computer science major, since they may not have the opportunity to at their schools.

Mock interviews. Professors or professionals from area businesses volunteer to participate in mock interviews for students contemplating graduate school or entering the work world.

Promote CS with brain games. Post flyers with brain games and puzzles that exercise one's problem-solving skills (see page 60). Add a line that reads, "If you like these puzzles, you might like computer science, too!"

To get more ideas, I spoke to other ACM student members in Athens and North Carolina.

back to top  Athens, Greece

Under a mainly business environment, a very young chapter in the Economics and Business school of Athens University tried to attract new undergraduate students to join this fall. They wanted more people to get involved in an unconstrained and, at the same time, practical way.

So they introduced the buddy system.

"We believe that the buddy system manifests exactly the point of being part of something bigger, expressing ourself and collaborating with each other," Chris Andreikos, vice-chair of the chapter tells us.

In the buddy system, students pair up (or form small groups) and set up times to meet outside the classroom throughout the semester. Younger students are paired with older students who share their interests and hobbies, and they spend time together as mentor and mentee. Introduce a faculty member or a CS professional, and there it is: tri-mentoring.

back to top  Wilmington, North Carolina, USA

The University of North Carolina-Wilmington ACM Student Chapter has seen a sharp increase in the number of active members during the last years, during which they hosted simple 20-minute talks where students could get public speaking experience and talk about some subject of interest in computing. Due to the popularity of the events, they have created a "student lecture" series. It's similar to a workshop, where volunteers from the computer science major teach other students the basics of certain software programs. In this case, C# is being taught through the use of the Xbox 360 and XNA.

Ben Barbour, the chapter president and a professional C# developer for nearly 10 years, says, "I was thinking about ways to engage not only ACM members but other students across the program and thought that teaching a programming language in an environment that most every student is very familiar with would help spark ideas and motivate students to experiment and learn on their own."

More ideas can be found at http://www.acm.org/chapters/students/Ideas.pdf. Let us know what your chapter is doing by emailing xrds@acm.org.
        —Vaggelis Giannikas

back to top  Footnotes

DOI: http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1869086.1869092

back to top  Figures

UF1Figure. ACM student chapters teach programming to non-CS students.

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©2010 ACM  1528-4972/10/1200  $10.00

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