An Inside Look at Penn State Student Chapter's Corporate Sponsorship Program

Over one-third of AIChE Student Chapters receive funding from corporate sponsors. Many of these chapters attest that their corporate sponsorship program is their most effective source of income. The AIChE Student Chapter at Penn State has allowed us an inside look into their successful corporate sponsorship program.

Describe your sponsorship program.

We have a variety of ways our industry partners can sponsor the Chapter. As corporate sponsorship is the primary source of funding, there are many ways companies can participate. This may include a scholarship, meeting sponsorship, tailgate sponsorship, or an information session at a breakfast or luncheon.

What student-held positions are involved in the sponsorship program, and what role do they play?

Professional Development handles reaching out and recruiting corporate sponsors. A logistics group handles collecting the actual funds, along with obtaining a location for events. Finally, the treasurer manages the Chapter's funds and bank account.

What steps do you take to retain sponsors? What is your sponsor retention rate like?

Past sponsors receive a higher priority for larger events and have more say in what and when they will be sponsoring. There is sponsorship for nearly every event we host with some larger companies consistently sponsoring annually.

In your experience, what do sponsors most often wish to get out of their sponsorship?

The best way companies see their investments are being put to good use is through student participation. With effective advertisements, such as emails, flyers, in-class announcements, and incentives such as food, there is usually a high turnout. The higher the turnout, the more students and companies feel their time and money was well spent.

How have your student members benefited from sponsorships?

The most substantial benefit to students would definitely be the casual networking. This allows them to develop critical social skills, as well as get face time with university recruiters. Due to funding from sponsors, students also often receive discounted fees on activities and merchandise.

What makes your sponsorship program unique to your school?

One significant factor to the success of our sponsorship program is the number of alumni available. With our general body meetings being the largest events each month, different companies are expected to come. With such an expansive alumni network, it is quite easy to make a connection with any company and bring in a range of industries for our students.

Why do you believe your sponsorship program is successful? And in what way(s) do you consider the program to be successful?

First and foremost, all events that have opportunities get sponsored. We also have a growing contact list of industry representatives who continue to support our program. Finally, the students we connect with industry professionals are employed at a high rate.

What advice or insight can you provide for a student chapter starting a corporate sponsorship program?

To be clear, concise, and consistent with communications. Effective communication is paramount to maintaining good relationships with the companies. It is also very important to network and build as many contacts as possible. This is best done by reaching out to recent graduates, or alumni. People are usually very excited to return and help out at their alma mater.

For more information about Penn State's AIChE Student Chapter, please visit its website.