Every other year at the annual meeting MLA used to hold the Section Shuffle where each of the sections would man a table and talk to members about their section. Often there were themes and the sections would dress up or have candy and little prizes at the their table to try and entice members over to their table so that they could talk about everything the section is doing and encourage the member to join their section.
Section Council and Chapter Council decided to conduct a survey to determine what members were getting out of Section Shuffle, why people became a member of a Section or Chapter, why they continued (or didn’t) to be a member, and whether there could be alternatives to the Section Shuffle.
To sum the survey up….
- Members found the Shuffle to be too crowded
- Some did not like the food at the Shuffle or there wasn’t enough of it
- Members weren’t always able to get in depth information they about the Sections due to the crowded and chaotic nature of the Shuffle
- While members may have signed up during the Shuffle…Section engagement was the driving factor for renewal
So the Section and Chapter Council decide to change things up this year. Instead of a Shuffle, Section and Chapter will be staffing posters during Poster Session 1 on Sunday May 18th highlighting their activities and unique characteristics at MLA ’14 in Chicago. Posters for participating Sections and Chapters will be on display at the MLA Registration Center. While the posters will be staffed during Poster Session 1 they will remain on display throughout MLA ’14 so members can drop by and learn more about the Sections and Chapters any time during the conference.
I have found Sections and Chapters to be a great way to get involved in MLA and my participation in my Sections and Chapters has significantly enriched my MLA membership experience. So I encourage everyone to stop by a poster and join a Section and/or Chapter.