How will you celebrate the fifth annual IEEE Day on 7 October?
The day commemorates the 1884 meeting in Philadelphia when members of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, one of IEEE’s predecessor societies, gathered for the first time to share technical ideas. IEEE volunteers—through their sections, student branches, or other regional organizations—are organizing a potpourri of celebrations.
IEEE Day—which was a winner in the 2010 Member and Geographic Activities Challenge that asked members for proposals that would deliver tangible member products, services, and increase the value of IEEE membership—is an event to give local units the opportunity to celebrate IEEE on the same day around the globe. In the first year, 75 activities were held. The event has grown annually, with more than 400 celebrations last year. Organizers hope to reach 555 activities this year, involving all 10 IEEE regions.
“We couldn’t do it without our members, our fans and followers, our volunteer organizers, and all of the many folks around the world who have been with us at various stages along the way,” says IEEE Member Bibin Parukoor Thomas, who is organizing social networking campaigns for the celebrations.
Organizers say they hope that many activities will embrace the "Leveraging Technology for a Better Tomorrow" theme and show how IEEE members and related technologies are having a positive impact on the world. The broad theme has allowed members during the previous four IEEE Days to organize activities that fit the needs of their community.
The celebrations themselves can take just about any form, says Denise Maestri, IEEE market development program manager with IEEE Member and Geographic Activities, in Piscataway, N.J., which is overseeing the activities. Some include technical seminars at universities. Others are networking get-togethers. Many IEEE groups have used the occasion to volunteer their time to help charitable organizations.
Maestri says last year one group went to an orphanage and helped clean its outside area. It also developed two competitions for the children: one on drawing and the other on video games. “The volunteers were satisfied with the efforts, and the children were happy and enjoyed the day,” she adds.
Maestri encourages local organizers to look at their celebrations not only as ways to involve current IEEE members but to also attract new ones.
“Holding an IEEE Day activity is a great way to provide members with an exceptional membership experience and expand IEEE’s global presence,” she says.
Anyone who joins IEEE as a full-grade member at an IEEE Day activity will receive US $30 off the membership fee for the first year, provided they join by 11 October.
A map of the celebrations on the IEEE Day website lets members and others find activities near them.
SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITIES
In keeping with IEEE Day’s fifth anniversary, this year’s organizers have planned a social media strategy focused around the number 5. The #Gofor5 campaign is on both Twitter and Facebook, allowing members to use the hashtag to share their experiences.
“We want our member community across the globe to share their favorite IEEE stories with us in our #Gofor5 campaign,” Thomas says.
Members are encouraged to submit videos of their celebrations to the IEEE Day channel on YouTube, or to upload them to their own site using the IEEE Day tag so they can be readily shared.
Members who can’t make it to a celebration can, Thomas points out, check out the activities on the IEEE Day Facebook page.
IEEE Day once again features a photo contest, this year with 10 categories: top three general photos, most creative photo, most energetic photo, best photo to include a landmark, best humanitarian activity, best technical activity, best professional development activity, and largest gathering. The winning photographers will receive cash prizes, and their images will be displayed on the IEEE Day website. Rules for the photo contest will be posted on the website soon.
“The photo contest has always been a big attraction,” Thomas says, noting that several hundred pictures were submitted last year, including one from the orphanage effort—which won the humanitarian category.
Anyone can volunteer to organize IEEE Day activities; Maestri encourages people to visit the IEEE Day website for tips. Organizers are seeking people to function as section ambassadors, tasked with increasing motivation and awareness of IEEE Day in their section. That effort is being led by ambassador coordinator C. Stanley Ugoji, and by new-initiatives coordinators who are encouraging multiple celebrations within their sections, especially those that held no activities last year.
IEEE Member and Geographic Activities plans to have a Membership Development booth at this year's IEEE Sections Congress, to be held from 22 to 24 August in Amsterdam, to recruit section ambassadors and help them get started.
Those interested can send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information.