Growing Your Group
It’s OK to start small-- in the beginning a Study Group can be just few people working together. You don’t need dozens of members to have your first meeting. On the flip side, some Study Groups start of big, with lots of buzz and excitement, but attendees lose interest after a few weeks.
Your Study Group will stabilize and grow-- it may take some time. Here are some tips on outreach for new and growing Groups.
- Start with people you know. Invite people from your lab or your classes. A face to face conversation is the best way to connect and get someone excited about the Group.
- Send an email blast. Send out an announcement to your lab email list, departmental lists, and those of related departments. If there’s a campus-wide graduate student association, that’s a great place to advertise, too.
- Communicate clearly. This means making sure all event listing and emails include time, place (with link to a map) and a short description of what the event is about.
- Send updates and reminders. Part of your role as Study Group lead is to be a cheerleader for the group, keep people excited and engaged, and most importantly let them know that meetings are happening!
- Make friends with your librarians and department administrators. These people can refer others to the group, may help you find meeting space and A/V equipment, and can assist if you deicde to hold a larger event or afternoon workshop.
- Contact like-minded groups. Your institution may have a research computing department or group with common interests. Reach out to someone from this group to see if they might be interesting in attending or leading sessions in your Study Group.
- Get the word out to newly arriving colleagues. Ask your department administrator if your group can be mentioned in welcome packages for new students or researchers.
- Advertise around campus. Distribute flyers and put up posters announcing the group.
- Look outside your field of study to find potential members. Researchers from all fields (life and physical sciences, humanities, social sciences) work with data and encounter similar challenges. A diverse group will make for lively, surprising discussions.
- Plan a Fun Event! Throw a Demo Party or Hacky Hour-- these low pressure, social events are great ways to introduce potential members to the Group.
- Persist! Keep reaching out and encouraging people to come! Set a goal to personally invite a new person each time, and encourage other members to bring friends or labmates.