Interaction with your peers is one of the best parts of being a student. Stay connected with AIBS, fellow students, and your community through science and have some fun while putting a little biology into your planning. Here are some activities that you can carry out to get involved!
Community service: Most campus-based student organizations engage in some form of service that allows them to give back to their community. These can be very rewarding activities, and build a sense of camaraderie among students and faculty. Some examples:
Organize a cleanup of a local park, river bed, or lake shore.
Be a resource for younger students who are seeking tutors in biology or other sciences. If you're at a college or university, reach out to the local high schools. If you're in high school, talk to the middle and elementary school science teachers about helping out.
Serve as judges in local high school/middle school science fairs.
Start A Science Cafe: Increasingly popular, science cafes host groups of people in coffee shops, bars, or other similar venues to discuss scientific issues or host a scientist to speak about a topic in layman's terms. Most cities have cafes already taking place or you can look at the Science Cafes web site for information on starting your own.
Explore biology careers: You can co-host career fairs with the biology department, organize a panel on "exploring careers in biology" and bring in people with different biology-related jobs as speakers, or put together a collection of resources on different biology careers.
One way to explore working as a biologist is to seek out programs and organizations that sponsor internship and research experiences. The National Science Foundation runs the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Search for universities and research institutions that participate in REU and offer qualified undergraduates an opportunity to carry out paid research.
Field Trips: Field trips are a fun and educational activity that student members enjoy. Be sure to plan accordingly: arrange transportation or carpools, put together money for entrance fees, contact someone at the venue to arrange a private tour, and be sure that all participants are dressed appropriately. Here are some places you may want to consider for a field trip:
Local zoo, aquarium, or nature center.
Hike at a nearby state or national park (if you plan accordingly, this could even be a weekend camping trip)!
A nearby university's biology department or research institution (be sure to contact someone in advance and arrange for a tour, and maybe even lunch or some other one-on-one time with scientists and professors to talk about their work).
Waste water treatment plant.
BioBlitz: A BioBlitz (coined by renowned biologist E.O. Wilson) is a 24-hour effort to document and inventory all the biological species in an area, such as a city park or reserve. They are carried out by organizations such as museums, the nature conservancy, or the US Geological Survey. You could organize a similar event in your area, or join forces with one of these organizations to assist with their next blitz. For more information, and to find a BioBlitz near you, check out the following web sites:
Biology-related movie night: A movie night is a fun and easy activity to plan. There are several biology related movies available as rentals. Some may deal with controversial subjects, and you may be interested in following the screening with a talk, debate, or discussion about the subjects discussed.
Partner with related groups on your campus: None of these activities has to be sponsored solely by you. Your campus may have student groups with similar goals to you, and they may be willing to co-sponsor an event. This is a great way to not only split costs, but also interact with a wide variety of students and form new friendships and partnerships. Here are some national organizations that have student members, chapters, or programs:
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