State Officer Blog: Gaining Members

Sam Catania's picture

Welcome to the official unofficial start of TSA season! Although your state officer team, board of directors, and advisors have been working behind the scenes since the last Nationals in D.C., there’s a good chance that many of you have just begun to start thinking about the upcoming TSA season.

With the start of the new season, many chapters are being forced to answer the same question: how do we obtain and maintain membership? In this blog post, I firstly want to cover different methods by which you can draw people towards joining TSA, but primarily, I wanted to focus on how to get a member to stay in TSA.

Every school is different when it comes to exposing students to all of the clubs and activities that are offered. Many schools have club fairs and email list sign-ups or any variation of the latter. Often, this isn’t the hard part of getting interest—when being bombarded by tens or hundreds of clubs trying to peak their interest, a student will often sign-up for as many clubs as they’re remotely interested in; or, per example from my school, whichever clubs offer candy with a sign-up. If you haven’t already introduced TSA to your student body in a similar way, this is highly encouraged to gauge initial interest.

But here’s the hard part: when the freshman interested in STEM enters high school looking for a club to invest themselves into for the next four years, which email list will they stay on? After initial interest is expressed, clubs often endure what I like to call a pseudo-bottle neck effect. Kids start settling in and realizing that they can’t participate in all 20 clubs that they signed-up for and will start dwindling their list of activities. Your job as a TSA member in your school is to make sure that kids want to put TSA at the top of their priorities and want to invest their next four years in this club. Candy and food at club meetings can keep a member for a few meetings, but in order for a student to want to invest their time during, after, and outside of school to a club, they have to feel like they’re really getting something beneficial out of it.

So next week when you’re holding a TSA meeting or talking to a prospective member, tell them why you stayed and what you love about TSA. Tell them about the diversity of events that they can participate in—that being a STEM student doesn’t have to mean coding a robot. There are events for every kind of student that wants to enhance their public speaking skills or show they are they best of the best at crime scene forensics. Tell them that they can be a leader at any level and in so many different ways. They can be a leader in their team event or in their chapter, they can be a leader in a state committee or even as a state or national officer. Tell them that they can get involved with community service at the national level by hosting chapter STEM nights and ACS fundraisers. Ask them if they can beat the $11,000+ record donation to the American Cancer Society set by PA’s own Boyertown Senior High School just last year. Tell them about the competition against other chapters and the feeling of getting your name called on the stage and advancing to a National Conference in Dallas, Orlando, D.C., or Nashville. Tell them about the community that TSA is—about the people that you’ve met, the friends from across states and nationals that you still talk to, the unbreakable bonds that form over tear-shedding all nighters and tear-shedding celebrations. Tell them about your TSA :)

If you or your chapter have any questions about membership or anything else TSA related, please feel free to reach out to the officer team—my email is vice_president [at] patsa.org and I’d be more than happy to answer any questions or just chat. Tis the season!

Your State Vice-President,
Charisma Hasan