We are now in PACE mode over here at NSCS headquarters, and we know that all of our high-achieving scholars at our 320 plus chapters across the nation are too. If this is your first time planning a big event, such as the annual NSCS March 2 College™ Day, it could be confusing if you do not know where to start. Luckily for you, The National Leadership Council (NLC) has took it upon themselves to lend you some advice, and a brief guide, for planning a successful March 2 College™ Day as a NSCS Chapter Officer.

As we kick off the month of March, what tips, guidance and examples of programming do you suggest we recommend to NSCS Chapters for March 2 College™ Day 2018?

Start planning early, many schools need plenty of paperwork that requires time to be filled and processed. Also, don’t just participate to say that you participated, or to check off a box for your star status; truly try to organize an event that will make a difference. While planning, know that you don’t have to involve too many people — a small, dedicated group of students can go a long way. — Valentina Dertlieva

Connect with community organizations, nonprofits, childcare facilities and after school programs. Some examples of community organizations are local NAACP chapters, United Way, school districts, parent booster clubs, Montessori schools, etc. Make it a priority to work with low-income, marginalized communities such as students with disabilities and students from historically minority dense neighborhoods. Work with professionals in mental healthcare, disability services, community outreach, and InclusionDiversityEquity and Access (I.D.E.A). Create a marketing team because that will ensure that there is a ton of outreach! Set up an advisory committee to ensure your event(s) are fair, accessible and educational.  — Brittany Judson

Putting on a March 2 College™ Day assembly is probably one of the most challenging tasks for PACE. The best advice I can give is to collaborate with other departments within your chapter’s college or university because the work load becomes less daunting when executed together. For high school students, hearing from NSCS members about college life is especially important because we are in a unique position. As college students, we’re not seen as ‘stuffy’ professors or administrators, or ‘nagging’ parents. In the eyes of many younger students we’re still considered as ‘cool’, and because we are still considered as cool, we can use this to our advantage in communicating the message that college is fantastic and help students to start thinking about things that they can do now to begin on their path towards higher education. — Raquel Baudrit

One thing that I would recommend for chapter officers is to make sure that they have enough volunteers for March 2 College™ Day if they are hosting kids at their college or attending other schools.  Lauren Williams

And Finally, Abbey Cotton sent over a list of recommendations for planning, executing, and marketing your March 2 College™ Day.

  • Think outside of the box.
    • Any age group can learn about college!
  • Create a supplies list.
  • Create a budget for supplies, goodie bags, or snacks.
  • Create a donation letter to ask for departments around campus to contribute.
  • Create an agenda for the day of (for teachers and volunteers to have).
  • Coordinate with your volunteers in advance- guest tutors, guest speakers, and volunteers.
    • Assign volunteers to specific groups.
    • Plan in advance: what to wear, specific roles, etc.
  • Coordinate with the school’s administration or specific teachers.
    • Get a roster of the children that are coming.
    • Divide the groups by classes or however the teacher may like.
    • Make sure that they are aware of the agenda/itinerary.
    • Create a document with directions to the campus and where to park.
Executing: Tips for Officers
  • Prior to event:
    • Officers should be split into committees OR
    • The President or VP of PACE should create a calendar.
      • Delegate tasks with each officer on the calendar.
        • Coordinate:
          1. Admission Tours.
          2. Volunteer tutors.
          3. Guest speakers- from student organizations.
          4. Goody bags/ assembly giveaways.
          5. **Special appearances from mascot, etc.
  • Day of event:
    • Divide up the team according to the number of groups; each officer can be a “team member”.
      • For example, UWG divides their teams by colors such as “Team Red”, “Team Green”, etc.
    • If an officer does not want to manage a team of students, an officer can create and manage a group of volunteers such as:
      • Tour Guide Assistants
      • Check-In Volunteers
      • Set-Up/Clean-Up Volunteers
      • Tutor Assistants
    • Have name badges for each officer.
Marketing: Tips For Gaining Student Volunteers
  • Tabling events: Allow people to learn about M2CD and how to sign up.
  • Social media: Let people know they can sign up to volunteer.
  • Email: Inform student organizations, volunteer groups, etc.
Marketing: Tip For Gaining Departments/ Campus Administration Volunteers
  • Mail: Send letters to department heads about how to get involved.
Marketing: Tips For Promoting Before & After Event
  • Release photos of previous year’s M2CD, or graphics of what is to come on social media, your school newspaper and local media.
  • Release photos from event to social media, your school newspaper and local media.
  • Pitch a story about the event to a local journalist, such as your schools publication or your school’s city local news, to come out and cover the event.
  • Contact your school’s media office, where mass flyers and graphics posted on campus are usually approved, and see if they can send a mass email about your event to the students on campus.

There you have it, advice and tips from your friends at the NLC! If you have any more question about PACE, you can find additional information in our blog post What Is PACE? or on our NSCS webpage.