The campus can be a crazy, lonely and scary place for many students. This is even more true for new students. Everyone is about just doing their own thing until eventually, the lucky ones start making meaningful relationships with others. Maybe you were one of those who wished you hadn't been so alone in your first years in college. You think how much better you could have fared if you had a network of support; a community. Most colleges and universities understand the need for communities and this has led to the creation of in-person programs and supports to strengthen the bonds between students and build a sense of community.
You can see how a community can make a difference in the lives of students and that's why you're thinking of building one on your campus.
Now what we're focused on is building a tech community on campus. There are lots of tech enthusiasts like you on campus and bringing them together to form a community is awesome.
Developing a sense of belonging on campus is very important for a student. It can improve their academic performance and increase their chances of graduating. Investing in the lives of others is meaningful. It matters and is something bigger than you. You know it'll be a good thing for them and even if many people don't buy into your tech community immediately, the passion you have for helping people will make you do your best to help them see that your community can be beneficial for them (whether or not they are involved in tech).
Why start a Tech Community on Your Campus?
College years are an important period of a youth's life. Those are the years that they are consciously preparing themselves for facing the world in a few years. This stage can be frightful and chaotic. Trying to balance academics, a side job maybe, and friends among others. A community can make this journey so much easier for students.
Helping students is a good reason to start a tech community on campus. A student has many needs that can range from emotional, financial, and academic needs. A tech community can help students who are struggling with their academics because they now belong to a family that cares about them. Interesting tech ideas can be shared, speakers can be brought to enlighten students about the benefits of being interested in tech, careers can be formed in your tech community and so many other reasons.
Importance of A Tech Community for Students
A community affects a student in so many positive ways than you could imagine. A tech community in particular will go a long way to shape the life of students who are involved in your community. To not create a community after learning how it'll be good for students would be robbing humanity. You'll be doing a great service by helping to build better humans.
Students Learn More About Themselves
You learn more about yourself the more time you spend with more people. People bring out the best or the worst in us. When we get exposed to who we really are, we have the opportunity to make better versions of ourselves as we work at refining the unpleasant aspects of our behavior and taking advantage of the pleasant ones.
Develop Soft Skills
Soft skills are attributes that we possess and can be transferred from any job to another. They're important as they influence how well you can work or interact with others, making it easier to form relationships. These are your people skills; How you relate with others, how you communicate, handle conflict, and work together. These are life skills that will help you be able to fit in where you see yourself in a few years. Belonging to a community helps you develop these skills.
A community is a wonderful place really. You have access to people from different backgrounds. It is a place where you can make your most meaningful relationships and make it more personal. People are able to meet individuals that they never thought could be possible. You could also make important connections using the help of a fellow member.
Learn Team Skills
A community is driven by people. It can't last when the members don't work together. Everyone works together to see the growth of the community. Finding yourself in a community is an opportunity for you to learn how to work together. Companies these days look for people who can work well in a team. If you were the solo player type before joining a community, take advantage of it to learn how to work together. Having the support of a team behind you helps with solving problems in a better way.
Every culture, nationality, and every single person sees the world in a different way. A community is a diverse gathering of individuals. You'll learn to meet people from places different from yours and you can learn something from these people. Diversity enhances creativity and helps to make better decisions and solve problems better. This is because you can look at life from different perspectives. Communities promote diversity and this teaches one tolerance, inclusion, and acceptance.
Gain Leadership Skills
Leadership opportunities will come to you when you're a dedicated member of a community. Accepting leadership roles regardless of it looking difficult will do you good. Accept such roles to improve your leadership skills. There'll be challenges that'll build you when you overcome them. You'll learn how to manage people better.
Get a Break From Academic Studies
Academic work can fast become boring and routine. Belonging to a community gives you a break from that stress. Your community can be the breath of fresh air you need to have the motivation to get back to your books.
Yay for fun! Communities are fun to be a part of. Contents that encourage engagement from members keep the community lively. Challenges can be held with rewards. A good side to having a community on campus is that everyone can easily get together for hangouts and in-person meetings. These gatherings should be something to look forward to.
Have A Support Network
Life gets the best of us every now and then. A community makes these episodes easier to deal with. You have these spaces full of supportive people who won't get tired of pushing you back on your feet when you feel down. Take advantage of this beautiful network and speak out when you aren't your best and you'll receive the cheer you need to face life squarely.
What Do You Need to Start a Tech Community on Campus?
Creating a tech community on campus has to be done with careful planning. There's no rushing the process. Otherwise, you'll find yourself stuck in a frustrating situation. Here's what you should know about starting a tech community on campus.
Have a Goal
This is pretty obvious. There's got to be a reason why you thought of creating a tech community on campus. That's your goal- what you hope to achieve with your community. Have this firmly planted in your mind so you don't get distracted chasing things that won't help you achieve your goal.
A Passion to Bring People Together
This comes next- a passion to bring people together. A community is about a group of people coming together and are united by a common goal. You can't separate people from community and so, you need to be passionate about bringing people together. What happens if people don’t turn up for your first meeting? Do you call it quits? Your passion to see people get help will make you try again. You don't stop. You never stop trying to get people to join your tech community.
Interpersonal and Negotiation Skills
As a community leader, you're going to be talking with people. Your ability to pass across what you want to say will be most helpful. You'll need convincing words to let people know why they should join your community. You should learn how to communicate with people effectively. You'll need this skill when you meet with people whom you want to partner with. Your negotiation power should be put to good use when you tell them why they should partner with you and what they'll gain by doing so. You'll also need it for handling arguments that will definitely come up within your community.
Tell people about your tech community. Use word of mouth, flyers, your school paper, and other means. Spread the word about your community wherever you are on campus. And be enthusiastic about it. Talk about the benefits of your community to them. What they will benefit from being a part of. The connections they'll make, the support they'll receive, and helpful resources.
A community leader's role demands that you be able to think ten steps ahead. Be prepared for the worst and always have a backup plan. You don't want to be caught off guard when things do not go how you had planned. Come up with great ideas for your community to be more engaged and grow.
Many things will come up that will frustrate you as you start out and even beyond. Your ability to face distressing situations will be an asset to you. You may see that the time and effort you put into the community may not be yielding equal results for you. What do you do if only one person shows up for your first meeting or your speaker fails to show up? These things can demoralize you but keep it together knowing that it will get better with time.
How Can You Sustain a Tech Community?
Now you have a community to call your own and things are going great. That's not the time to sit back and relax. You've got to keep working to see the community keeps growing more than it is. How do you do this?
Keep Creating Value for Community Members
Members of your community joined because of what they knew you had to offer. They will remain when they receive and continue to receive value from you. Something good about sharing value? Doing it consistently will prompt some members to give back on their own. You absolutely want this to happen because it'll mean that even without you constantly posting valuable content, your community will thrive because members are doing so. This is good for everyone.
Portray the Right Values
What got you started out with the community in the beginning, should be what you continue portraying throughout. Don't switch from one to another and only sell what you've promised your members. Members should not be confused about what you're about. For example, don't get them excited about free lunch more than what they ought to be learning in a meeting. Yes, things like freebies can excite your members but don't concentrate so much on that. The most important thing should be your values
Give Members a Sense of Belonging
This is important for sustaining your community. When people feel at home in a place, and feel like they belong, they'll stay in your community. Create an environment that allows members to feel a sense of belonging. Give them roles within your community to show you trust them. Make them accountable. Encourage them to make content and recognize them when they do. Appreciate your community as often as possible. Show them how much they mean to you by letting them know there wouldn't be a community without them. They deserve to feel special.
Take Feedback from Your Community
Getting feedback is a sure way to sustain your community. Be open to suggestions on areas your community should improve. Encourage your members to give feedback about their community experience. You can send out forms to be filled anonymously, conduct polls, or have an open house discussion. When this feedback comes in, implement those that are realistic and make the necessary adjustments. Your community members will know they matter when they see that you listen to them.
If you're passionate about changing lives positively, building a tech community on campus is something you should consider. Students on campus need all the help and support they can get and communities are a solution to this. Build a tech community that will be valuable to students that they'll be grateful for.
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