– MESCard –
The MESCard was nurtured back to health some years ago, but it is dying again. I aim to return it to its former glory and more. That means partnerships in higher quality and quantity, and more importantly, an accessible service that is easy to use. The card has an annually dedicated $2000 budget that I plan on effectively utilizing to achieve my goals.
- A Digital MESCard
I plan on working towards delivering a digital variant of the MESCard that is accessible by mobile users. There are companies who specialize in creation and distribution of such cards, and charge a fair price for their service. One of the services I am considering using charges a fair price that costs less than the current costs we incur to print the physical cards. I am considering an additional 15% buffer in the budgetary costs associated with it. With that in consideration, the price would still be well under budget. The current budget for MESCard has been fully used in the past to pay for blank cards, printer ink, and the annual license for the card printer that the MES uses. This new system would leave me room to invest the remaining budget in growing the brand and making general improvements to the card. This is done through solidifying sponsors’ presence at MES events, which in turn attracts more lucrative opportunities for both the card and the Society. This would make a direct positive impact on student life.
- Awareness & Sponsor Engagement
The card’s benefits are possible thanks to the sponsors and partnerships that the MES attracts and maintains. Although they provide these benefits throughout the year, their presence is not advertised very often throughout the year. This leads to a spike in sales that lasts through September. However, this is not the only issue the card currently faces: Awareness about the existence of the card, the provided benefits, and the ease of obtaining the card are issues currently addressed poorly. Welcome Week is currently the majority, if not, the only time when MESCard is promoted and distributed to members, rather than being only available for pickup. I aim to change that.
From the surplus in the MESCard budget, I want to collaborate with the next AVP Clubs & Sponsorships to plan and invest towards awareness campaigns and sponsor-based events. Awareness campaigns include but are not limited to posters, sponsored ads on social media, various student-based publications, as well as localized advertisements on YouTube. These methods are some of the most engaging avenues of outreach to the student body, and therefore, has potential to make a deep impact; Sponsor events will be events that would run at least once a month when possible, and involve at least one of the card’s sponsors or partners. These events ensure positive engagement with the sponsors, and more importantly, engagement of sponsors with students. These events, preferably held on campus unless impossible otherwise, give an opportunity to students to learn more about the sponsors for a service that their MES fee pays for, and for sponsors to increase student exposure. I think that this type of engagement provides incentive for students to further explore the benefits of their card, which creates further engagement between the Society and their sponsors and partners.
- Sponsor Accountability
Many people, including myself, have previously experienced cases where the offer advertised on MESCard’s page was different from what the sponsor has originally agreed to. I think this is caused by a lack of communication internally, as many businesses in the nearby area of campus are mostly staffed by students. Due to their time constraints, many employees cannot work many hours during the week. This can lead to many more employees being staffed by these businesses. Information about these deals may not be always communicated, and can lead to situations where students aren’t able to receive the deal they were promised by the MES. I plan on working directly with MESCard sponsors and the next AVP Clubs & Sponsorships to improve communication of these offers in an effort to minimize such issues from happening.
– Outreach and Accessibility –
The McMaster Engineering Society makes a big impact on an engineering student’s experience at McMaster. That experience may be different for everyone, which is why it should be tailored to cater to as many of its members as possible. McMaster Engineering is host to people who come from all walks of life, and hail from all over the world. There are also secondary school students who look at various engineering schools from those countries to choose the next step in their life. They will usually look at the school’s academic history, student life, and other factors that may be different individually.
I was once an immigrant to Canada. I moved in the summer of 2008 from Iran, and started life anew in a foreign country that speaks a language somewhat foreign to me. That language barrier was a big factor in my lack of community involvement; I took English lessons before I came to Canada, but that was not enough. I still signed up for sports classes and music lessons, but that was the extent of it. I did not get involved with other programs or services near me, and now that I look back, I really wish I had. I believe that the same goes for international students arriving at McMaster to study. Despite their English proficiency meeting the requirements, there is still a language barrier that bears over them and discourages them to look further past what is familiar to them, be it student clubs and organizations that speak their langauge, or just their group of friends. I want to break those barriers and increase exposure to students currently at Mac, as well as those looking at Mac, of the services that we offer as an organization.
- MES Information Document
I plan on creating an infographic-style document outlining information about the MES such as who we are, our function, and the services we provide to students using their MES membership fee that all full-time undergraduate engineering students pay every September. These services include but are not limited to the discounted tutoring service, intramural sports fee reimbursements, “Cookies & Cram” for first year engineering students, and various funding sources that student groups can apply to get funding for an expense that is of great value to the students in that group. These expenses may include funding for certain parts of a team’s vehicle, a component in a NEUDOSE satellite, or funding to pay for student expenses at a competition that is out of the country and otherwise impossible to attend. The circumstances are often different, and that is why the MES is flexible in how they reach out and service students.
The significance of this document is not just in its content, but in its language. I am planning on having this document translated into two languages to start off: French and Mandarin. Based on personal observation, I think that aside from English, these languages are spoken by large groups of students that come to Mac from outside of Ontario. This document makes for an effective method of engagement with those students, and generating interest in those students to take advantage of what we offer as a Society.
– Branding –
While the MES has a set of colors that they use to represent themselves, there is still ambiguity internally when it comes to branding guidelines in terms of font, colors, etc. This impacts Advertising Committee, as well as the publications and documentation released by other members of the MES Council and their committees. I want to work towards the creation and internal release of an official branding document outlining color guidelines, font, and style recommendations. I also want to improve the current state of AdComm.
- Advertising Committee
The MES Advertising Committee is currently an ad-hoc committee comprised of graphic designers who design posters, cover photos, etc. for MES members who submit a design commission to the AdComm Chair. Committee members can post their designs to be selected, and those who are chosen and deliver their commissioned work get paid for their chosen work that term at the end of each respective term. This was a change in response to distributing and diversifying the work originally done by a single graphic designer.
Due to this change, the quality of MES advertisements have increased substantially thanks to the diverse pool of graphic designers with unique talents and artistic backgrounds. I feel that this ad-hoc committee has demonstrated substantial work and should become a full-fledged committee under the MES. I want to work with the AdComm Committee Chair to prepare a motion to bring this to effect.
– Publications –
Currently, the MES publications (Plumbline, Frequency, Handbook) are in a good state but they can always be improved. I want to visit these publications throughout the year and reflect on changes that can be made to improve them. I would like to start that with improving exposure to the Frequency.
- The Frequency
“The Frequency is a 3-issue magazine released in September, December and April. It is a full-colour publication that documents important achievements of undergraduate engineering student groups. It also serves to inform students of upcoming events, contests and meetings…” (From MES’ Publications Page)
This publication is an open book into the talent and creativity we pride on and share with students, the Faculty, as well as members of the industry involved in those achievements. It would be a great opportunity to present that on the MES website and improve exposure of current readers as well as outsiders who are not aware of the existence of the magazine or do not have access to the physical print. I want to work towards gaining the Council’s approval for the publication to be mass-mailed out by the Faculty so that more students may become aware of it and gain easier access to it.