As Temple University returned to remote learning this fall, Student Professional Organizations (SPO) across the Fox School of Business were forced to adapt virtually, as well. The Temple Chapter of the Association for Information Systems took the challenge in stride—which led them to win Chapter of the Year.
Temple AIS recently received the AIS Chapter of the Year Award for the 2019-2020 school year, due to their commitment to community service and in recognition of initiatives they started. This is the highest award given to a student chapter that has demonstrated an exceptional, well-rounded, and organized program by the National Association for Information Systems. The group established two community learning initiatives and created a consulting group called Optimize Consulting Group that works with nonprofits throughout the Philadelphia region.
The SPO’s mission is to serve society through the advancement of knowledge and the promotion of excellence in the practice and study of information systems. These Management Information Systems (MIS) students aim to bridge the gap between lessons in the classroom vs. what they will encounter professionally.
“The SPO consists of three different tracks, including speaker series, technical development workshops and professional development through the lens of MIS. They also include mentorship and scholarship programs,” says Rachel Reale, senior MIS major and treasurer of AIS.
Along with community initiatives, they also offered three free consulting services working with non-profit organizations like the Philadelphia Youth Volunteer Corps.
To ensure the organization provided the same offerings for members learning and working in a virtual environment as those who experienced the opportunities in-person, the executive board started planning for the school year in the summer. It also helped that they’re a technology-driven SPO.
“It has been a huge challenge, but we decided as a team before the fall that we would plan for everything to be online,” says Sean Boyer, junior MIS major and vice president of AIS. “Being online has worked well for our organization due to a digital platform that we discovered while planning called EdPuzzle.”
EdPuzzle is a free educational tool that allows members to access recordings of AIS speaker presentations throughout the semester. Temple AIS uses EdPuzzle to record speaker meetings and post them for members to view.
“We realized with COVID, things are stressful for our members. Our goal as an organization is to be as accommodating as possible,” says Boyer. “This platform allows members to watch recordings and still earn credit at their own convenience.”
AIS incorporated virtual social events for their members, as well, holding events like mentorship socials, trivia night, game night, arts and crafts, MIS spooktacular, Scholarship Trivia and ZOOMba.
“These virtual social events help fight the feeling of being disconnected,” says Sara Salavitabar, senior MIS major and AIS director of events. “We have also implemented five coffee chats where a member would host a meeting about something they are passionate about. This informal setting helped members get to know one another and develop professionally.”
Catherine Rheault, senior MIS major and director of public relations, mentioned that AIS sends two newsletters a week in order to stay connected with both prospective members, alumni and current members. They also use Instagram to showcase members and incorporate activities like scavenger hunts.
“Communicating clearly with members virtually has been hard due to the policy logistics we had to go through,” says Reale. “We have made it our mission to be as clear and concise as possible throughout the school year.”