When asked about the strength of the UW-Whitewater Chapter of Aspiring Educators, past President Tiffany Timpel shared that it is their strong membership. Under Tiffany’s leadership, this chapter grew from just 10 members to 70 members because they made growing the membership a top priority. “While UW-Whitewater’s chapter isn’t as large as some other campuses yet, I made it a priority to get as close as we could,” Tiffany shared. Promoting the chapter’s ability to build a professional network for pre-service teachers and involving their members in their service efforts in the Whitewater community led to their success. Tiffany shared, “we partnered with the Whitewater School District to offer tutoring for students, childcare for parents attending PTO meetings, and volunteering during the district’s involvement in the America Reads Program.”
“The dedication of our leaders makes us strong. While we aren’t the largest chapter of Aspiring Educators in Wisconsin, we have so many committed leaders who are in our schools, in our community, and across the university who show the rest of us how it’s done,” shared Jake Krueger, Co-President of the UW-Whitewater Aspiring Educators.
Katie Vogt, Co-President, shared, “our consistent leadership, along with celebrating our leaders and our members, has led to a strong tradition of involvement on our campus as we strive to inspire and empower members.” UW-Whitewater Aspiring Educators chapter is known to offer incentives for attending events like raffle prizes for their members and food at events.
This co-president team shared their enthusiasm about a new conference they are hosting in late February on the UW-Whitewater campus dedicated to professional development for secondary education majors. “Our work with the UW-Whitewater Aspiring Educators has helped us to build good connections for speakers to join us for this conference. We recognize that many of the chapters are filled with more elementary education majors and early childhood special education majors. To continue to grow, we see a need to involve our more content specific pre-service educators who are going to need skills in areas like classroom management. We want to be sure to reach out to them as well,” Katie shared.
Also, among their successes is their chapter’s focus on bringing their work into the community in Whitewater. Ally Erck, past president, said, “we felt that it was important to give back to the community, who does a great deal for the college. We were able to partner with volunteer coordinators in all three of the elementary buildings and the middle school.” This outreach led to a partnership with the Educators Rising chapter of high school students interested in pursuing careers in education at Whitewater High School.
Tiffany had this advice to share with other chapter and local leaders. “It’s important to see all of the levels of the Aspiring Educators organization, which is so much bigger than one classroom. We encourage our members to network with all of the Aspiring Educators chapters in Wisconsin through WEAC and throughout the country through the National Education Association.”
“Having a regular weekly meeting schedule has helped us to build a sustained membership”, Katie shared. “When college students recognize that Monday nights are scheduled for our meetings and events, they begin to build that into their personal schedules. This leads to more consistent engagement and involvement.”
“Really consider your members and what helps them outside of the classroom. Our focus on volunteering and workshops that were of high interest provided members with knowledge and experiences that they couldn’t get in their classes,” Ally shared.
One last piece of advice from Jake, “partner with other student organizations on campus or groups in your community. We recently held a Mental Health Debrief and partnered with Active Minds, a campus organization dedicated to self-care. This partnership was priceless because it offered the best opportunity to discuss this important topic and to learn together.”
WEAC says thank you to the UW-Whitewater Chapter of Aspiring Educators for their dedication to their members, their campus and surrounding community, and public education in Wisconsin.