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Section & Affiliate Start Up

Form a Professional/Collegiate Section or Affiliate

SWE welcomes new Professional Sections, Collegiate Sections, and Affiliates. Professionals or collegians interested in starting a Section or Affiliate should fill out this form and reach out to membership@swe.org. We will then provide you with the appropriate application to complete and put you in contact with SWE’s Section Startup Lead. You can visit our Section & Affiliate Map to see what Sections and Affiliates are already in your area.

If you are located outside of the United States, please visit our Global Affiliates page to learn how to start a global group.


Starting a Collegiate Section

A group of college students at an eligible school that does not have a SWE Collegiate Section may initiate one by filling out the form above.

Requirements*:

  • At least 10 collegiate members
  • At least 50% of the members identify as women and are majoring in engineering or engineering technology
  • At least 8 members expect to be eligible for membership for the fiscal year following granting of the charter
  • Completed Section Agreement
  • Supporting documents as listed in the application (budget proposal, list of meetings, letters of support)

If you are interested in starting a Collegiate Section, please fill out this form and reach out to membership@swe.org. We will then determine the appropriate application to send you to initiate your group.

*Requirements listed are the minimum needed. The section will also need to include supporting documentation like a list of meetings, flyers, etc. Detailed requirements are included in the application.


Starting a Collegiate Affiliate

For those collegiate groups interested in becoming affiliated with SWE that cannot meet the requirements outlined for a Collegiate Section, an alternative option is available – Collegiate Affiliate. Although an Affiliate will not be entitled to the same benefits as a Collegiate Section, an Affiliate allows the collegiate members to utilize the name of the Society for group functions, without the need to fulfill all the requirements of a collegiate section (i.e., 10 paid members, annual financial reporting, etc.). 

Requirements:

  • At least 1 collegiate member
  • Letter of support from Faculty Advisor
  • Letter of support from SWE Sponsor

If you are interested in starting a Collegiate Affiliate, please fill out this form and reach out to membership@swe.org. We will then determine the appropriate application to send you to initiate your group.


Starting a Professional Section

Professional Members can form a professional section within a specific region or area.

Requirements*:

  • 10 paid voting members (i.e., professional-level) & signatures
  • Five-Digit ZIP Code Detailing
  • Letter from Originating Group (President or Secretary releasing ZIP codes to the Proposed Section)
  • Letter of Support from Leadership Coach
  • Completed Section Agreement

If you are interested in starting a Professional Section, please fill out this form and reach out to membership@swe.org. We will then determine the appropriate application to send you to initiate your group.

*Requirements listed are the minimum needed. The section will also need to include supporting documentation like info on the geographic area, meetings summary, etc. Detailed requirements are included in the application.


Starting a Professional Affiliate

For those professional groups interested in becoming affiliated with SWE that cannot meet the requirements outlined for a Professional Section, a new option is available – Professional Affiliate. Although an Affiliate will not be entitled to the same benefits as a Professional Section, an Affiliate allows the professional members to utilize the name of the Society for group functions, without the need to fulfill all the requirements of a professional section (i.e., 10 paid members, annual financial reporting, etc.). 

Requirements:

  • A signed copy of the SWE Agreement of Appropriate Use from the Main Point of Contact (a downloadable version will be available in the application)
  • Proposed Affiliate Name (we recommend a particular City or Region within your country)
  • Permanent Address & contact information for the Main Point of Contact
  • A list of 1- 4 professionals with name, email address, SWE ID (if applicable), discipline, graduation date and employer. We recommend at least 1 individual is a paid member so they receive all member communications. Consent to add their contact information is required.
  • Listed Zip Code(s) to determine geographical coverage of the Affiliate
  • Contact information for proposed SWE Sponsor – More information regarding who can be a sponsor will be in the form
  • Letter of support from the SWE Sponsor on a letterhead

If you are interested in starting a Professional Affiliate, please fill out this form and reach out to membership@swe.org. We will then determine the appropriate application to send you to initiate your group.


Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ:

When forming an affiliate or section, members identified on the application must be dues-paying members of SWE. Please see Membership Types & Benefits for information on the various membership options available. This tutorial can guide new members through the joining process. 

SWE provides access to membership toolkits that include communication templates, a marketing flyer, a benefits presentation, and more. You can access those resources here.

When you start the application process, the LCC Section Startup Lead (contact via email at sectionstartup@swe.org) will be your main contact. When your group has made progress towards completing the application (finding members, faculty advisor, etc.), the LCC Section Startup Lead will work to assign you a leadership coach and facilitate an email introduction with that coach.

The Leadership Coaching Committee (LCC) is a trained group of more than 70 experienced SWE members with leadership experience. The LCC coach can provide consulting on leadership and serve as a liaison between collegiate members and the Society.

Coaches are available to discuss, plan, address questions, and engage your section operations and leadership throughout the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30 of the following year).

Section Agreements are the agreement between sections (proposed and chartered) and the Society. They cover information such as obligations and governance. The initial document needs to be reviewed and signed by the required leadership that has fiduciary responsibility for the section (President, Treasurer, and Secretary). Incoming leaders will need to review the agreement each year and use the leadership portal to indicate that they have renewed the agreement. 

For section operations that are not covered in the Section Agreement (adding additional officers, etc), it is recommended that sections create Operation Procedures that are controlled section documentation.

The assigned LCC Coach and the Bylaws Committee can assist with any questions about the Section Agreement.

In general, SWE HQ looks for the writer’s excitement about the new Section or Affiliate, the writer’s background, and to learn more about their involvement with the group. There is no template for the letters of support. 

When reviewing these letters, SWE HQ is looking to learn more about the involvement of these people with the petitioning group, as well as a little more about the petitioning group itself. Here are some questions to consider when writing a letter of support:

  • Relationship to SWE – how long has the writer been a member? Any current leadership roles? What section are you a part of?
  • General statement of why the writer supports the proposed section in chartering.
  • How has the writer offered/will offer support to the proposed section?
  • What activities/projects is the writer aware of that the proposed section has participated in?
  • How does the proposed section emulate SWE’s mission?

FAQ for Collegians:

In both cases, the students need to be enrolled in engineering, engineering technology, or a related science program and half of the group must identify as women. 

An Affiliate is a simpler process and is more flexible if your group doesn’t have sustainability to continue through the years. SWE Affiliates must have at least one paid member and only need the approval of SWE Headquarters. To remain in good standing each year, the faculty advisor must submit a renewal survey.

A Chartered Section requires a minimum of ten paid SWE members, must have the support of a nearby professional SWE section, must have a set of approved section bylaws, exhibit sustainability, and requires the approval of the SWE Board of Directors. You can review the annual requirements to remain in good standing on the Section Leadership page.

The school’s finance office or business office can provide that information and let your group know if the school requires the proposed section to be covered under the school’s IRS tax umbrella. 

Please note that proposed sections cannot open an account at a financial institution in the name of the proposed section until after the section is officially chartered and has an EIN from the IRS.

You can reach out to financecommittee@swe.org with any questions related to section finances.

Being accountable for finances is the largest responsibility for the sponsor. Affiliates often use the school as their sponsor. Some schools require that club funds go through a student activities organization. Other schools do not have that requirement. It is recommended that you find out about your school’s financial responsibility requirements for clubs on campus.

If the school will manage affiliate funds as the sponsor, then please provide a letter from the Dean/Chair of the College of Engineering with the application. If the school will not act as sponsor, then you can contact a nearby professional section to determine if the professional section is willing to sponsor the affiliate. You can find sections in your area on the Section & Affiliate Map.

The faculty advisor is someone from the school who will be committed to supporting the affiliate or section. This role is not required for sections, but affiliates are required to have a faculty advisor.

For affiliates, the faculty advisor will be the main point of contact for the group and is responsible for renewing the affiliate status by submitting an annual survey to SWE HQ. This person will need to write a letter of recommendation for the affiliate. They do not need to be a SWE member, but it is highly recommended.

As of November 2020, counselors are no longer required for collegiate sections, which means a letter of recommendation is not required. It is still recommended for collegiate sections to have a counselor to stay engaged with the professional section in their area and the Society.

Counselors are required to be professional members of SWE. In this role as a liaison between collegiate and professional members, the counselor provides connections to local professionals and can offer advice from the perspective of a professional SWE member.

To find a counselor for your collegiate section, reach out to the professional SWE section in your area (check the Section & Affiliate Map) to see if any members are interested in volunteering for the role. If the faculty advisor for the proposed collegiate section is a SWE member, they can also be the counselor.