«Gloria Childress Townsend Professor of Computer Science Stephanie Ball Laura Kuh Computer Science Majors DePauw University SIGCSE Original 2005 ...»
Cost: approximately $20, for nametags and refreshments that we served after the presentations (giving my students additional time to interact with the young girls socially and to provide role modeling)
76. Philanthropies and Community Service Days Service Description: Select some local philanthropic organizations and volunteer to help, either by raising money, participating in individual events that the charities sponsor or organizing a women-in-computing team to contribute to the success of a fund-raising activity. Events include walks for cancer, blood drives, etc. Volunteer at the local humane shelter, soup kitchen, nursing home, etc.
Benefits: Supporting community organizations strengthens the bond between community members and college/university students. Community service allows students to think about something besides computer science and the protected, insular campus world.
Group Size: Large Parties
77. Ice-cream Parties Social & Professional Description: Invite professionals from various companies and seat them at different tables, each with a different ice-cream topping. When students arrive, they receive their ice-cream, and move from table to table to complete their sundaes. At the same table, they are able to meet and talk with the professionals. Alternately, place upper-class women at the tables and invite first-year and sophomore women to construct sundaes.
Benefits: The informal setting allows for a more relaxed atmosphere, while still providing the students with great opportunities to learn more about a computer science career or major.
Group size: Large
Description: Students can get together, during the holidays to celebrate with their family away from home. Halloween, Winter Holidays, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick’s Day provide good opportunities to celebrate. Encourage "dressing the part", during some holidays (e.g. green for St. Patrick's Day).
Benefits: Parties can provide students with an opportunity to take a break from studies and to socialize more informally with other students in their discipline.
Group Size: Large
79. Achievement Parties Social & Academic Description: Celebrate when students or faculty members in the department gain special recognition. Examples include job offers, graduate school acceptance or receipt of an award of special significance.
Benefits: A person’s achievement always means more, when shared with a group of close friends. Recognition allows students a chance to celebrate the benefits of hard work, while motivating other students to strive for their best.
Group Size: Large
80. Sexiest Geek Party Social Description: Hold a party to see who can be the “sexiest geek alive.” Ellen Spertus (pictured below) won such a contest with a slide rule and holster strapped to her leg and PVC corset with a printed-circuit board pattern http://www.mills.edu/ACAD_INFO/MCS/SPERTUS/Geek Benefits: This type of party encourages social activity in the department. It gives an opportunity to relax and joke about the stereotype of the “computer science geek.” Group Size: Large
Many of the ideas in this book involve food. Often, women will be more likely to attend events, if food is served – it makes the activity seem more relaxed and acts as an icebreaker at social events. It would be a good idea to combine food with any of the activities in this booklet to make them more welcoming to women. The most difficult task lies in convincing women to attend an event the very first time: "free food" provides incentive, because "everyone has to eat". For a cultural component, share dishes from India, China, Mexico, etc. An additional suggestion surrounding food involves the general difficulty in obtaining RSVPs: Provide pizza and have the women RSVP with their favorite pizza toppings or provide two or three brownie types and have women RSVP with their favorite type, etc.
81. Movie Night Social
Description: Women spend a simple, relaxing night with other women in the computer science department, watching movies and eating popcorn. Recognize scenes where errors demonstrate that the producer had no computing consultant present or ask students to silently record the errors and award a prize for the "best set of errors". ACM has a video lending library: http://www.acm.org/top/library.html Benefits: Movie night provides an opportunity for socializing and a break from studying. Many movies have computing themes (e.g. The Net, Hackers, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revisited, Hot Millions, His Other Woman (or Desk Set), Weird Science, Pi, Swordfish, War Games, AI, The Animatrix, Enemy of the State, Explorers, Johnny Mnemonic, The Lawnmower Man, Simone, Strange Days, Takedown, Tron, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010, Virtuosity, You've Got Mail). ACM has a video lending library: http://www.acm.org/top/library.html
82. T-shirt design contest Social Description: Gather a group of women to participate in a women-in-computing t-shirt design contest using computer generated graphics. Students vote on the best design, which will be used to make t-shirts for the entire group.
Benefits: The contest unifies the group and provides a creative medium for recruiting and promoting women in computing.
83. Fundraising Social Description: Vicki Allan at Utah State University and her students make and sell Ethernet cables to other students by collecting free remnants from contractors and attaching connectors.
Benefits: Raising money for clubs increases funding so that members can organize more activities and draw more people into the women-in-computing organizations.
Group Size: Large
84. Starting New Clubs and Building Existing Clubs Social Description: Ask professors for permission to visit classes, encouraging students to attend local events. (If possible, gather ACM members for joint visits, in order to support both complementary organizations.) Encourage women at neighboring schools to start “women in computing” organizations of their own. Help arrange and host an organizational meeting for the sister school.
Benefits: The more clubs, the more resources students have at their disposal, along with the possibility of hosting joint events.
Group Size: Large
85. Revamp Display Cases Social Description: Redo the computer science department display cases so that they draw attention to more women and other underrepresented groups.
Alternatively, as a creative, light-hearted, and social prelude, organize a "sculpting" party to produce computer art for the display cases -- sculptures built from discarded computers and parts. Include pictures of the "artists".
Benefits: The display cases are able to educate everyone about the computer science department. By presenting women's images in the display cases, the stereotype that ‘computer science is a male-dominated field’ is dispelled and the idea that 'women are welcome here' is substituted.
Group Size: Small
86. Computer Jewelry Social Description: Design computer jewelry. Buy earring backs, beads, stringing material, glue, etc.
and use old chips or motherboards to make computer-inspired jewelry.
Benefits: This activity is a fun and creative outlet for students and provides "free advertising", when other students ask about the jewelry.
Group Size: Large
For more information regarding Idea #86:
Gloria Childress Townsend DePauw University email@example.com "Idea #86 provides one of the best environments in terms of women's engagement and socialization that I have used, during a dozen years of organizing "Women in Computing" events. My students lingered for more than an hour, creating several pieces of jewelry and key rings. The picture above depicts one row of jewelry makers: a sophomore, junior and two seniors.
Before the activity only two students in the row knew each other, the two seniors.
Working together in a creative task allowed the women to communicate more naturally and informally; the artistic expression served as an ice-breaker. I encourage you to try this activity at your school. Please contact me, if you have questions."
Cost: I purchased glue, jewelry tools (e.g. pliers), barrettes, key chains, earring parts, pin backs, beads, etc., spending approximately $40; however, I have enough left-over supplies that I can use them for repeat events. I used old, tiny motherboards and hard drives that made up a necklace that I bought. I will purchase more parts next year, if I cannot acquire them without cost from my Information Services Department.
87. Exercise Group Social Description: Set up times during the week for a group of computer science students to meet at the gym or at another location with video facilities (Tai-bo, etc.) Benefits: Staying in shape is important, and working out alone is a drag!
Group Size: Medium
88. Computer Science Lounge Social Description: If the school has no computer science majors’ lounge, organize a group of at least half women to approach the computer science faculty members and/or the administration to create a lounge with a kitchen area. If the school already has a computer science lounge, organize a task force to improve it. Again, request that faculty members provide help.
Benefits: Creating a comfortable lounge area will give the current computer science majors/minors a nice place to study and socialize. The female committee members will ensure that the space is female friendly. This area may also raise campus interest in the computer science major.
Group Size: Medium
89. Stress Relief Social Description: Prior to finals time, bring materials for making stress-relief icons: silly putty, bean bags, rubber bands to snap, don’t-worry dolls, don’t-worry beads, etc. Use the activity as a light-hearted approach to finals time; however, augment the activity by asking junior and senior women to give general advice about preparing for finals. Ask each woman what computer science final(s) she will take. Ask for volunteers (who have had each class) to give specific advice for each final. Lastly, group women according to finals and invite them to organize study groups.
Benefits: Sometimes students simply need time to relax and take a break. The activity provides a time to relieve stress, while also helping to prepare students for their finals.
Group Size: Large
90. Communication Tools Social Description: Organize a twitter account, listserv, Blackboard, or similar communication tool for local women-in-computing communication and/or among regional women-in-computing organizations.
Benefits: Keeping communication lines open is very important to the women-in-computing cause.
It helps broaden the support system and makes organizing events easier.
Group Size: Small, Medium or Large Organized Outings The Benefits of Socializing Each of the ideas in this section focuses on getting women-in-computing organizations to socialize with other members in the field. It is important for women to know that they can be successful in computing but do not have to spend all their free time staring at a monitor. Organized events show that there are many women who balance computing and non-computing interests.
Description: During one meeting, ask each woman to describe her favorite out-of-class activity (amusement park, concert, walking, hiking, working out, etc.) and then organize the event/activity in which the group shows the most interest.
Benefits: Exploring the extracurricular interests of women in computing demonstrates the balanced lives of the members. (Many women believe the myth that all computing students must program 24/7.)
92. Dinner Social Description: Meet another women-in-computing group from a nearby institution at a restaurant that is approximately halfway between the two schools. (Women from DePauw University meet women from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Harmony, Indiana, equidistant from the two schools.) Benefits: Meeting with another women-in-computing group exposes women in each group to other computer science majors and allows opportunities to share ways the respective universities deal with the problem of underrepresentation and to brainstorm additional strategies.
Description: Gather a group of women to spend Saturday at a mall.
Benefits: This trip provides students with an opportunity to get away from school for a day and spend time socializing with other women in the department.
94. Sporting Events Social Description: Organize a group of women to head to a local sporting event (such as a baseball or basketball game) or to go bowling. The Ohio State University ACM-W chapter bowls together; here is Binaebi Akah in her custom "Bowling without Balls" t-shirt.
Benefits: This event allows socializing in a relaxing, care-free environment and gives visibility of the group and its unity to a wide segment of the campus population.
Group Size: Small
95. Senior Celebration Social Description: At the last spring women-in-computing meeting, celebrate the seniors. Order a cake with seniors’ names (see picture below). Photograph them for women-in-computing archives, Web pages, scrapbook, etc. Ask each woman to tell about her plans for the future, her advice to younger women, etc.
Benefits: A celebration of achievement makes soon-to-be graduates feel proud of their four years of hard work. It also gives the younger women something to look forward to in the years to come, encouragement to proceed and more ideas about career/post-graduate plans.
For more information regarding Idea #95:
Gloria Childress Townsend DePauw University firstname.lastname@example.org "Pictured above are seven of our thirteen female computer science seniors. I'm holding the cake, as I've done for a dozen years. The May activity is one of the women's and my favorites. The younger women always benefit from hearing the confidence in the voices of the seniors, as they give advice and tell about their future plans."
Cost: I also provide pizza and soft drinks, but the price of the cake in Indiana is $12 Luncheons