What is a SER Student Association?
SER’s Student Association Program provides an opportunity for students interested in ecological restoration and related fields to become involved in SER’s global network, participate in SER conferences and events, and take advantage of SER resources. Organized and run entirely by the students themselves, student associations – previously known as student guilds – can be formed at any accredited academic institution, and provide a means for those students interested in pursuing a career in some facet of ecological restoration to come together in a like-minded group. The program was established in 2007 and has since grown to include several active student groups throughout the US and one in Canada (listed below). The program is not limited to US institutions, however, and can be formed by a motivated student group from anywhere in the world.
Involvement in SER provides students with a number of valuable resources and opportunities. At SER’s biennial World Conference, students are able to share their knowledge and experiences, network with other student associations, and interact with restoration experts from around the world. SER’s 14 regional chapters provide students with access to experts in their region and opportunities to participate in chapter conferences, leadership, and activities. Many SER chapters provide discounted student membership rates and student positions within their leadership structure.
Not only do student associations connect budding restoration professionals with SER’s global community, they also provide a means for students to organize hands-on activities in their own communities and pursue professional development opportunities as a collective. Existing SER student associations have organized a variety of activities, including: volunteer and social events, native plant sales, restoration projects, workshops, roundtable discussions, career fairs, and fundraising activities, among others.
How to Form Your Own Student Association
Student associations are officially recognized within SER but operate under the rules that govern student organizations at their academic institutions. Each student association pays a $160 USD annual fee to SER to receive a variety of benefits (summarized below). A low income student association annual fee of $130 USD is available for student groups from any academic institution in a developing country as defined by the World Bank (click here for a list of qualifying countries). For a detailed explanation of each benefit, please read the Student Association Information Packet.
- Free student memberships in SER for all of your student association members (Student membership costs $20)
- A free individual membership for the faculty advisor (a $50 value)
- A variety of benefits specific to the student association (e.g., access to post volunteer and training opportunities, official recognition by SER, free promotional materials etc.)
- Networking and participation benefits for all student association members
- Membership benefits for each student association member (e.g., SERNews, access to our career center, conference discount, and more)
The student association should identify student leaders upon joining or renewing to communicate with SER staff.
Previously $250 USD, SER lowered the cost of its student association membership fee in 2013 to support student groups and foster a new generation of restoration ecologists.
Expectations of Student Associations
SER expects its student associations to be active and participatory members of the Society and its chapters. A short, summarized list of expectations is below. For more details, please read the Student Association Information Packet.
- Student associations are expected to have an organized leadership structure
- Student associations are expected to hold regular meetings
- Student associations and their members should try to participate in international and regional conference and events of the Society
- Each student association is encouraged to create bylaws and guiding documents upon formation
- Student associations are encouraged to participate in discussions with other student associations through the tools provided by SER (e.g., yearly teleconferences, forum discussions, in-person meetings at international conferences)
- Student association members are encouraged to become involved in SER leadership, chapter leadership, and World Conference planning and coordination as opportunities arise