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Creating a digital scrapbook with the SWE Howard University Section

The Howard University SWE Section plans a diverse and abundant calendar of events and activities throughout the school year, documenting each semester in an online scrapbook. FY22 Section President Olabisi Bello spoke with us about the intent behind the scrapbook, the process of putting it together, and how the scrapbook benefits both current and future members.
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Check out their Fall 2021 scrapbook, as well as the Spring 2022 edition, to learn about the Howard University SWE Section’s programming and gain inspiration to create a scrapbook for your own SWE Section or Affiliate!

What inspired the Howard University SWE Section to make a scrapbook?

It was sometime near the end of the Fall 2021 semester. As we were planning to wrap up our events and host our final general body meeting of the semester, which was also going to double as a Friendsgiving event, I realized that we had all these pictures and Google documents and scattered information about our events but nothing that had everything in one single place that we could reference and show our members. So, a couple of hours later, a scrapbook was born.

Can you describe the process of assembling the scrapbook? 

Honestly, it would be more efficient to add it piece by piece throughout the semester, but we usually put it together at the end of the semester. It’s more sentimental that way because you get to look at those pages and be amazed by all that your section has been able to do in such a short time. We start to trace back our steps (usually by referencing our Instagram flyers) to recollect all the events we have planned and then gather the pictures we have from those events (most of which we post on our Instagram).

What program or tools do you use to design the scrapbook?

We primarily use Canva. We also use it to design most of our promotional material, and it’s such a superb and diverse tool.

How do you decide what to include in the scrapbook?

The scrapbook is a collection of our memories and accomplishments, so all event pictures and any awards get included. If it’s something our members would love to look back on or something future members would love to see, we will include it in the scrapbook.

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What is the value of documenting these memories in scrapbook form?

There is so much value in documenting all these memories. Right now, I’d have to dig through Google Drive folders and email threads to figure out what kind of events were planned years ago. However, with this scrapbook, future Executive board members who might want to take inspiration for events they are planning or know what their section has accomplished in the past won’t have to go through that trouble. Also, on the more sentimental side, it’s a way for our members and outgoing Executive board members to have a concrete collection of their memories with our SWE section. We plan to send a virtual copy of the final scrapbook to all our members by the end of the semester, focusing on getting a copy to our graduating seniors, one of whom is our current Vice President!

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How do you plan section events like game nights, movie nights, and workshops?

With regards to getting the idea for the event, sometimes, it’s just about brainstorming what would be fun to do as a section or what has been a success in the past that we should bring back. Other times, it’s about seeing where there is a need from membership e.g. resume workshops around career fairs or mock interviews. However, the actual planning involves getting approval from our school, making flyers and budgets, lots of promotions, reserving the room space, etc. We made the process a bit more structured this semester by making an Event Planning Template specific to our section for virtual, on-campus, and off-campus events. This will not only help streamline our process but would also help future E-board members.

What have you learned from your experience with SWE?

So much! So much that it’s so hard to quantify in a couple of sentences. I have learned what it means to be a leader to an awesome group of women. I have learned what it means to truly serve the section and not just hold the title of President. I have learned how to motivate when times are hard, how to pivot when encountering challenges, how to take responsibility for mistakes, and to just be there for my section because, to me, that’s what being President means: simply being that person who will always advocate for their needs and who will do everything she can to make their college experience a memorable one with their fellow members.

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