Tips on Student Chapter Activities

Keeping your chapter active is the best method of attracting new members and gaining greater student involvement!

Student Chapters are the link between school and business, which enables each student to engage in the type of activity necessary for professional development.

The following ideas were collected from annual reports from SME student chapters, but you don't have to be in a student chapter to get involved. If your school doesn't have a student chapter, try getting students in your department involved in the local minerals community. If there is enough interest, you can schedule speakers or arrange field trips or student contests to get others involved.

Monthly Meetings

Monthly or bimonthly meetings are the basis of the chapter activities. Besides the usual source of speakers from industry, other resources include:

  • Alumni and recent graduates

  • Professors

  • Suppliers, i.e., blasting agents, safety equipment, reagents, etc.

  • Government agency publications

  • Special interest groups: National Mining Association, Sierra Club, etc.

  • Slide shows by students regarding their summer jobs

  • Process instrumentation firms

  • Consultants

  • Retired mining professionals

Other interesting ideas for monthly activities are:

  • MSHA safety training and certification, i.e., new miner training

  • ISO 9000

  • Short courses

  • Joint meeting with other societies or nearby schools

  • Career workshop including talks on career opportunities, resume preparation, job interviews, etc.

  • Participation in SME-sponsored meetings, seminars, short courses


Social Events

Social events attract existing and potential members. The following are ideas from the chapters:

  • Holiday parties

  • Icebreakers

  • Parties honoring historical mining figures or modern mining professionals: for example, St. Barbara's Day (the patron saint of miners) is Dec. 4; Georgius Agricola's birthday (the author of De Re Metallica) was March 24, 1494.

  • Annual awards banquet

  • Graduate student party

  • Alumni Day (old-timer's) party

  • Retirement dinner (usually for professors)

  • Pig roasts/picnics

  • Floats in local parades

  • Miners' band

  • Intramural sports



A perpetual problem for all chapters is fundraising. Here is how some chapters do it:

  • Sale of Student Chapter patches, T-shirts, belt buckles, pick-and-shovel lapel pins, hard-hat decals, window stickers, coal-miner statues, etc. (Such activities expand awareness of the society and its activities on campus and in industry.)

  • Sale of school supplies, senior rings, mineral specimens and kits, mining supplies, i.e., hard hats, lamp belts, safety glasses, etc.

  • Raffles

  • Bake sales

  • Pop machine in student lounge

  • Collecting aluminum cans and newspapers

  • Tap the local mining industry for funds


Field Trips

Field trips are some of the most popular chapter functions. The following are some examples of chapter field trips:

  • Active mining or sand and gravel operations

  • Manufacturers of mining equipment

  • Local mining or mineral museums

  • Assay labs

  • Reclamation projects

  • Exploration sites

  • Mineral- and fossil-collecting trips

  • Gold panning expeditions

  • Trips to abandoned mines and ghost towns

  • Offshore oil platforms


Membership Drives

The best method of attracting new members (and/or gaining greater student involvement) is a high visibility, varied, regular program of monthly meetings, field trips, social functions, etc. Other specific ways of recruiting new members are:

  • Welcoming picnic for new members

  • Visits by officers to introductory and undergraduate mining courses

  • Booth at freshman convocation and/or rush week

  • Freshman orientation

  • Form alumni membership group


SME Student Chapter Outreach: Minerals Education Coalition (MEC)

  • Conduct presentations in local schools or in your community on the importance of mining and minerals to everyday life.

  • Attend local education conferences and hand out materials.

  • Visit for resources to support these activities.



The best chapters are usually the most innovative. Here are a few ideas from the chapters:

  • Hold tryouts for an intercollegiate mining competition team in the commons or other public campus location, with lots of publicity.

  • Hold jackleg, hand and steel mucking contests during Homecoming or Freshman Week.

  • Participate in campuswide activities such as Engineering Day, Tech Fair, Student Day, Engineering Exposition, Homecoming, etc. Arrange displays, laboratory tours, and traditional miners' skills contests.

  • Participate in high-school career days, high-school visitation day, or provide tours of your school or school mine for high school classes.

  • Community service projects including blood drives.

  • Participate in campus government and councils.

  • Start a tutoring service.

  • Collect and refurbish old mine equipment.

  • Participate in Local Section Student Night.

  • Write columns and articles for your school newspaper.