President of Curtin Global Exchange Society
“I like seeing how, even from one event, we can make a student feel welcomed and know they are not alone”
Our initial strategy was to get interaction between the incoming exchange students and our current campus students. The belief was that with more interest in the program from local students we could grow our numbers and our funding opportunities. This would ideally lead to a cyclical system that drew in more international students and thus provide more opportunities.
Our International Office had a welcome event and a buddy program already established (which I helped to oversee) which allowed us to promote the club through these interactions. Working with assistance from the Curtin International Office we were able to create a Facebook group and page that allowed us to market towards international students as well as their buddies.
Definitely the key here is for engagement, as no one wants to be in a club that is boring and doesn't provide them any outlets. What we focused on was providing multiple events that allowed for more club member interaction. I feel that the more the members can be involved the more likely they are to help out. Another thing is providing outlets for all members as peoples tastes vary and thus you can't just hold parties and think you'll succeed. The key is to build member interaction early which leads to greater involvement and assistance in projects.
Measuring effectiveness is all about how we perceive the interactions with our new students and the benefits they get from it. We measure success by the number of students of the cohort that attend these events (via a percentage) and we feel anything above 33% is a good target for us.
The hardest part I think is the same as in business and that is building the boat, launching it and keeping it afloat. A lot of our challenges were about promotion and funding as we were such a small club. We had to manage our finances well and make them go as far as we could, and definitely getting help from the International department was a big kicker. We survived one year and have built from there.
[The] most rewarding part is seeing how we create interactions between our exchange students and our local students as this helps both groups in their transition. I like seeing how, even from one event, we can make a student feel welcomed and know they are not alone.
I think the best advice that I can give is to not chase profits - that's an absolute death wish. You have to start small and slowly, building to get things going and off the ground. Always do an event for the benefit and enjoyment of members, not to just make a buck - as people can pick up on it if you charge ridiculous amounts.
Ask your faculty/overarching body to cross-promote