I help organize Cleanweb Berkeley, a student group on-campus that raises awareness of cleantech careers for data scientists, and facilitates research dealing with data and energy/electricity systems.
Over the years, we’ve tried a number of different formats; here are a few of the lessons we’ve learned:
- Consistency is key. Whether meeting weekly or bi-weekly, sticking to a schedule is critical for student engagement. Shifting times or canceling the occasional meeting might be convenient, but it’s deadly for attendance.
- Energize a few, Impact a multitude. A small executive team of 2-4 people provides support, community, and accountability for getting things done. Make it easy for others to drop in as their schedule permits, but don’t lean on them for heavy lifting. These are students, giving time when it’s valuable to them.
- Provide Value. Our best-attended sessions are tutorials where students share skills- whether encryption, machine learning, or API scraping.
- Create a Legacy. I go back to our Github page regularly for my personal use when I need a refresher on running a Jupyter server or adding a user to a Unix machine. Make it as easy as possible for people to contribute, benefit, and get value from the long-lasting code base of the group
The group organizes an annual hackathon to expose students from outside the Cleanweb Berkeley group to interesting energy and resources problems, and to provide connections with potential employers and the broader Bay Area cleanweb community.