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Student Chapter Service Award Established

Honoring the Creative Power of SPIE Student Members

By Dirk Fabian

A recent study - Report Finds Sharp Increase in College Student Volunteering - by the US Corporation for National and Community Service has found volunteerism by US college students has grown by 20% between 2002 and 2005, more than double the adult volunteer growth rate. Even top graduate schools have found ways to adapt service projects into their graduate curriculum. Clearly, community service is starting to gain ground as a valued aspect of the education experience.

University of Arizona students host the annual Optical Science Summer Camp.Service is certainly an integral part of the SPIE experience. As a volunteer based organization, SPIE depends on its members to provide content, energy, and direction for its efforts. SPIE Student Chapters, in specific, are leading the effort to improve optics knowledge in their local communities with the support of the chapter activity grant from the Society. The chapter activity grant provides advance funding for many of the service projects that chapters undertake in the course of a year.

Starting in 2007, SPIE will give an additional $1000 Service Award for a project of lasting positive impact on the student services program, the SPIE community, and/or local community. Chapters, groups, and individuals are eligible for peer nomination based on project concepts, design, follow through, and end-user benefit. This year we hope to see projects enhancing communications tools among chapters. While developing outreach, teaching, and improving science literacy in your local community are some of the primary service activities that chapters engage in, there are many other possibilities for service that do not involve the classroom environment.

Middle schoolers enjoy the liquid crystal mood patch and laser maze activities put on by Jaron Van Dijken and students from the University of Alberta.
Possible community service projects include:
  • Wikipedia entries for all student chapters
  • Chapter-wide photo contest
  • Virtual Visiting Lecturer coordinated and broadcast to student chapters
  • Student profile aggregator

The Service Award joins the award for Best Student Chapter Website as an honor that is only available to Student Members of the Society. The Service Award is competitive, and will be evaluated by members of SPIE leadership.

Have a brilliant idea? Have a way for students and student chapters to connect better? If there is a program that you are interested in doing that could benefit the SPIE Student Chapter community, now is the time to discuss it and write it up. Email dirkf@SPIE.org for more information.

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