Baldwin County, My Home

I’ve been wanting to do some sort of series to highlight areas that have a special importance to me, or to where I enjoy traveling. Since I’m not really able to travel at the moment, I figured this would be as good of a time as any.

I can’t say Milledgeville is my hometown. But, I do call it the nearest civilization to where I grew up. It was the closest Wal-Mart, Shoney’s, and McDonald’s. As a child of the late 1980s, that was what was important then. As I grew, it became so much more to me. It grew to trips to the library, my first job, starting college, graduating and beginning the next degree, my first professional job, meeting my wife, my wedding, and starting our home together.

Unlike most of the counties around us, Baldwin only has one city – Milledgeville. But that is not our biggest claim to fame. We are a designed capitol city and was the seat of state government from 1804 until 1868 when it moved to Atlanta. The two main governmental buildings remain, along with many antebellum homes and historic sites.

Read moreBaldwin County, My Home

Collegiate Recruiting: Finding the Next Generation

I had submitted this to QST for review, but apparently SueAnne Griffith’s piece (August 2017) was already in the pipeline ahead of mine. Granted, that assumption also requires that my submission was worthy of publication, but… I’m going to embrace the hubris that it was. 🙂

So, to keep it from going to waste, I am posting it here for your consideration.


Collegiate Recruiting:
Finding the Next Generation

Through the years, I have been involved with many aspects of student organizations, both as member, officer, and now advisor looking to revitalize the club at my alma mater.  Because of this, I have experienced many different styles of recruiting with varying levels of effectiveness. Now, I want to share my experiences in hopes of aiding the growth of other clubs as well.

Becoming known

Every campus has a special place where students gather. For my campus (Go Bobcats!), it was by “the fountain.” For others it may be the quad, student center, or tailgates. But the simple fact is, most institutions will not be willing to allocate a permanent space, and definitely not funding, to a group with only a few members. So recruitment must become a priority.

The Collegiate Amateur Radio Forum at Orlando Hamcation provided some great ideas, but more can be done. Here are some tried and true methods that have been proven effective time and again.

Effective Tabeling

Information tables are a college tradition, but most fall short of perfection. There are elements that will make your effort standout from the crowd. First, it needs to be catchy. Have a well designed banner so people know who you are – they can readily be found online for less than $50.  Have plenty of brochures and handouts as a takeaway item. Many are available from the ARRL, but it is also quite easy to adopt them to your campus.

Approach your local radio club for start-up assistance. See if they can provide go-kits for a demonstration on the table. A portable antenna will certainly be an eyecatcher among other groups who are tabling as well. They may even be willing to provide some funding for handouts and giveaways, which leads to the number one method of getting a college student’s attention: freebies!

Students love free food. It could be pizza, candy, or bags of chips or crackers. The one caveat to this, especially if you are in the south, is to avoid chocolate. It can quickly make a mess if left in sunlight or high temperatures. You can also consider koozies, frisbees, or flash drives (pre-loaded with some club fliers and information, of course).

Have volunteers rotate between talking on the radio and talking to passers by. Some should be in front of the table so it appears friendly and engaging. Be prepared to talk to students in all of the programs offered by the institution, not just STEM. Criminal justice and government majors will likely be attracted to the emergency communication and public service aspects. Journalism, marketing, and communication students will likely be interested in how it ties into the technology used for broadcasting. And yes, STEM students will be interested in the technology and maker aspects.

Keep in mind diversity at your table. Volunteers from your local club are great, but they are just a start. Do your best to also have college age volunteers. Get the YLs involved. If someone’s grandchild is popular in Greek Life or athletics, offer him a lunch to spend an hour with you.

Follow-Up

Outreach is only the first step. You can have a table with dozens of people surrounding it the entire time period, and it still be a failure. Don’t just give out cards, have people sign-up for an email list. You could even include a drawing for a gift card to a local restaurant or the campus bookstore. Then use that information.

Send out an email to everyone who stopped by thanking them for their time and inviting them to follow your club on social media.  Let them know about upcoming events and talks, or license classes. Remember, just because they may not be interested in getting licensed right now, they still may show up for discussions specific to their interest.

Conclusion

Overall, remember to make it fun. College students have enough serious topics to face on a day to day basis. Set up the demonstrations like a mini-Field Day or special event. This is the generation of the smartphone, so instant communication will not impress them. Show them how amateur radio is different, fun, and experiential. It truly is a hobby with something for everyone. It’s just a matter of helping students find something that sparks their interest.

—————–

Daniel R. Simpson, K4DRS was first licensed at 11 years old and was active in amateur radio and other student groups in college and graduate school. He can be reached at P.O. Box 1882, Milledgeville, Georgia 31059 or at k4drs@arrl.net.


 

News History: “GMC Radio Club wants to Grow”

Payton Towns III/ The Union-Recorder Daniel Simpson, president of the Georgia Military College AMateur Radio Club, talks into the transmitter of his radio. The club is sending radiograms to people across the country to draw interest for the club.
Payton Towns III/ The Union-Recorder
Daniel Simpson, president of the Georgia Military College Amateur Radio Club, talks into the transmitter of his radio. The club is sending radiograms to people across the country to draw interest for the club.

I was going through some old files today and came across this image. It reminded me of the story with which it was published, and decided to spend my lunch break today in the Georgia College Library going through Microfilm to see if I could find it. It took me a while, but I was eventually successful. You can either view a PDF of the clipping here, or see my transcription of the text below the fold. 

Read moreNews History: “GMC Radio Club wants to Grow”

Celebrating Graduation Weekend

In the next two days, more than 1300 people will go from being Georgia College students to being Georgia College Alumni. To celebrate the occasion, I put together a collage of graduations from my past.

Fotor0508150953

Top Left:

Receiving my Associate of Science in General Studies from Georgia Military College Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Faculty Dr. John Anderson in 2006.

Top Right:

With Ms. Claire Nichols (now Sanders), Instructor of Political Science, following my Undergraduate Commencement for Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2008.

Bottom Left:

Being hooded as part of the Graduate Commencement where I received my Master of Public Administration in 2010.

Middle Right:

With other members of my graduate cohort, Mike Taylor, Justin Mays, and Haly Hicks.

Bottom Right:

My first graduation as faculty (and only one I’ve participated in as faculty). With my good friend Joshua Rogers, who received Outstanding Graduate from Georgia Military College in 2011.

Remarks to the Fall 2010 GMC Honors Assembly

Ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed an honor to be here today as we celebrate academic achievement and excellence. I am proud to say I have once sat where you are now. However, I’m not quite so proud to say there have been times as I continued in my academic career when I was not eligible for academic honors you now enjoy. To that end, keep up the good work and maintain your standard of excellence.

The character of Sam Seaborne in the television series “The West Wing” once said, “Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything.”[1] Indeed, increased education leads to increased employability, increased lifetime earnings, and increased job security. Education benefits not only the individual, but society as a whole. An educated citizenry is more likely to participate in the political process, an idea which is very near and dear to my heart, and an educated workforce also increases economic development opportunities for a given area, which leads to more and higher paying jobs.

There are many places which offer an education. It is easy to offer classroom lectures and to assign textbooks, but there are very few places which offer such a complete education as Georgia Military College. The prep school boasts of “developing the intellect and elevating the character,” but this applies not only to the prep school, but also the entire institution. Life is more than possessing the ability to recite answers on an examination. A complete education requires both intellect and character, and both are well grounded in the history and the traditions of GMC.

Wherever we might turn on this campus, we are reminded of core values of “Duty, Honor, and Country” and to keep “Character above All.”[2] We are supported by a proud tradition of those who have gone before us. A few weeks ago, alumni from the last 75 years gathered to celebrate that tradition of which you now hold a part. They spoke of stories of times gone by. They remembered those who had walked with them and whose journey had been completed. The campus has changed since they walked these halls and stood formation on these grounds; the campus has even changed since my days as a student here. Yet, though the physical attributes of campus may change, the traditions do not. You are the heirs to their legacy as you continue your studies, graduate, and then venture out into the world.

The journey which you have undertaken is not an easy one, and yet, you have excelled. The journey which is before you will likewise not be easy. The words of one of my former professors, who was famous for his difficult exams, upon returning the first test in the class, which is typically the lowest grade, most certainly applies.

“Things will get harder. The further we go, the more you have to consider. You must learn more quickly than the difficulty increases.”[3]

You have set the standard for yourself. You have shown your capacity for excellence. Continue to follow that standard.

We are the children of the same traditions. We are the family of Georgia Military College. And now, as we continue on our journeys, I leave you with a paraphrase of the Charge to the Brigade from the epic film, Gods and Generals.[4] I trust when I shall hear your names in the future it will be of more noble deeds accomplished, victories won, and even greater excellence proven. Remember on your journey, “Character above all.” For when we from these halls have parted and life’s battles won, the great spirit of GMC shall inspire us ‘til eternal dawn.[5]

Thank you.

References:
——————

[1] Sorkin, Aaron. The West Wing: Six Meetings Before Lunch. Directed by Clark Johnson. Performed by Rob Lowe. 1999.

[2] Georgia Military College. (n.d.). Character education program. Retrieved from http://www.gmc.cc.ga.us/page.php?page_id=205

[3] Mabie, J. Class Lecture, Quantitative Techniques, Georgia College & State University, October 1, 2008

[4] Maxwell, R (Director). (2003). Gods and Generals [Film]. Atlanta: Turner Pictures

[5] Georgia Military College. (n.d.). Alma mater & cadet prayer. Retrieved from http://cadet.gmc.cc.ga.us/page.php?page_id=560