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Chapter Management

SPIE provides funding to each Student Chapter so that Chapter Members can create and engage in more diverse career development opportunities. SPIE believes the future belongs to optics and photonics, and the future of these technologies is in the hands of our students.

If you are interested in updating your current chapter officer listing, please submit a request using our online form.

Still can't find an answer to your question? Visit the Student FAQ!

Chapter Activity Grant

Chapters may submit one activity grant request to SPIE at any time during the year; until 15 December. When completing the form, chapters must describe each project or activity and provide cost estimates for each. Funds are dispersed by check (USA and Canada only) or wire transfer using IBAN/SWIFT numbers. The entire process should take less than four weeks. Available funding is based on the combined total of student members and alumni members in the chapter's online rosters. Maximum available funding is $3,100. Unused funds do not carry over to subsequent years.

Activity Grant Funding by Chapter Size


Submit an Online Activity Grant Request

Download an Activity Grant Request form (MS Word)

Suggested Activities
Many Chapter activities are eligible for SPIE support. Ideas may include:

  • Organize an informal lecture with a popular professor from the department
  • Organize a student lecture series
  • Invite an industry or academic speaker (refreshments and snacks only)
  • Tour optics industry facilities
  • Host a public lab tour for community members
  • Create and maintain a Chapter web page
  • Organize a job fair
  • Work with teachers to improve their optics knowledge
  • Promote optics to pre-university students: develop workshops, volunteer to supplement science and math education, organize a science fair
  • Mentoring of secondary science and technology students
  • Promote the optics/photonics academic program within the college/university

Tip: Use your activity grant to provide snacks, giveaways, beverages, and advance advertising to help draw attention to your event.

The SPIE Activity Grant cannot be used to fund the following items:

  • SPIE Student Membership fees
  • University lab and/or office equipment
  • Honorariums for speakers

Alumni Advantage Program

All chapter alumni who are current SPIE Members will now count toward your total chapter membership, thereby increasing the funding that you're eligible for in your Chapter Activity Grant. Stay in touch with chapter members that graduate and ask them to renew their membership with SPIE.

When you graduate, you can help your former Student Chapter by renewing your SPIE Membership and thus increasing their Activity Grant Funding eligibility. Join today

Join SPIE and help your former Student Chapter

SPIE Student Services staff track your chapter alumni through our systems. Anyone who was a Student Member of your chapter and is now a an early career professional or regular SPIE Member - no matter where they are now - counts toward your activity grant. Reaching out to former members and asking them to re-join SPIE is a way to increase your grant funding. SPIE can provide you with the names of chapter alumni, but not their contact information. Here are some ideas of how you might find that.

How to reach out:
  • You can find old annual reports listed on your chapter's website. These should have the names of previous chapter officers and members.
  • Talk with your advisor. He or she should be able to help you come up with a list of previous members.
  • Look online. If your department or chapter has a facebook group, you might be able to find alumni in there and reach out to them with a message/post.

For more information about the Alumni Advantage Program contact SPIE Student Services

FOCUS Conference Grant

The Federation of Optics College and University Students (FOCUS) Conference Grant provides SPIE student leaders with the financial means necessary to organize a regional student leadership workshop that features a significant, non-technical professional development opportunity. FOCUS Conference Grants are awarded twice each year at a grant maximum of $7,000 each. Chapters are encouraged to collaborate in the organization of the conference; however, it is not a requirement and only one application per event will be accepted.

What's included:

  • Funding in USD up to the grant maximum
  • Promotion on SPIE.org

Common elements of a successful FOCUS conference:

  • Strong professional development program
  • High quality invited speakers
  • Student oral and poster presentations
  • Student Best Paper Awards
  • Career development
  • Social program

Application Instructions:
Applications will be evaluated twice per year (starting 1 February and 1 July). Chapters interested in hosting an SPIE FOCUS Conference should email students@spie.org in advance of their grant application to discuss the event.

You can download the FOCUS conference grant application to learn more.

Looking for ideas? Take a look at previous FOCUS conferences.

Singapore FOCUS Conference 2012

Univ. of Sydney KOALA 2013

SOASE FOCUS Conference 2015

Univ. of Auckland / Otago KOALA 2015

Saratov Fall Meeting 2016

Biophotonics North 2016

Asia Student Photonics Conference 2016

Summer School on Optics and Photonics 2017

Information SPIE will want to know:

  • Quality & relevance of professional development program
  • Appropriate target audience
  • Marketing plan for conference - How will other people find out about it?
  • Leveraged resources - Who else is contributing to this project?
  • Planned events/talks
  • How will the funding be used?

Officer Travel Grant

SPIE strives to provide Chapter Members with conference exposure. Each year, Chapter officers have an opportunity to attend an SPIE meeting with special assistance from the Society. Officers are encouraged to attend a Student Chapter Leadership Workshop at either Photonics West, Photonics Europe (even years), Optical Metrology/Laser Münich (odd years), or Optics + Photonics.

In 2017, more than 190 students receieved Officer Travel Grants and formed the core of over 300 Student Chapter Members who attended either the European, Photonics West, or O+P leadership workshop to network and exchange information useful in their academic and professional lives.

What's included:

  • Grant to cover travel/food/lodging (see below)
  • One conference fee waiver

The amount of the grant is determined by region. That is, it depends on the origin and destination regions. The map below may be used as a guideline. If there is ever a question of regions, the list of which countries fit in which regions is located here.

This system allows students to plan in advance whether they need to seek alternate funding sources. Keep in mind that grants are awarded just once per chapter each calendar year (to one person in the chapter) and no person may receive the grant more than once.

Please decide, as a chapter, which conference and Leadership Workshop you would like to send a chapter representative to in 2018. Multiple Officer Travel Grants cannot be awarded.

Photonics West Travel Grant Timeline:

Early-September - applications available 
Early-November - applications due (3 November, 2017)
Mid-November - winners notified

Photonics Europe Timeline:

Early-December - applications available 
Mid-January - applications due 
Mid-February - winners notified

Optics + Photonics Travel Grant Timeline:

Late-January - applications available
Mid-March - first round applications due
Early-April - first round winners notified
Mid-May - second round applications due
Early-June - second round winners notified

The 2017 Officer Travel Grants have been issued for this year. 

The 2018 Photonics West Officer Travel Grant application is now open!

Apply online - 2018 Photonics West Officer Travel Grant Application, deadline 3 November, 2017

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for more information or email mega@spie.org

Optics Outreach Kit

Every SPIE student chapter in good standing is eligible to receive one optics outreach kit per calendar year. The kits are subject to change and are dependent on availability. Please submit an online application form to request a kit. Requests for 2017 must be submitted by 15 December 2017.

The 2017 Optics Outreach Kit is the Explore Optics Kit which is intended to inspire an interest in optics for both kids and adults by demonstrating different optical properties. 

The Explore Optics Kit includes an instruction booklet, reflect view,  PepperGram projector, invisibility kit, laser pointer, diffraction grating, package of gummy bears (don't eat them!), protractor, and set of 4 Lazer Finger LED lights. 

Chapter Identity

An innovative (but clean) look will help identify your school Chapter as a professional affiliate, not just a campus club. Using a few simple guidelines, your Chapter logo can help promote outreach activities, lecture series, collaborative conferences, and other Chapter activities.

  1. Keep information logically organized.
  2. Avoid overly casual (or overly formal) language.
  3. Keep poster designs clean; graphics should draw attention to important information, not away from it.

Visit your SPIE Student Chapter page to download your chapter logos.

Annual Reporting

Guidelines
Student Chapters are required to provide an annual report on activities, whether they receive SPIE grant funding or not. Chapter reports provide valuable insight into student activities and serve as a resource for future planning. Noteworthy pictures and activities may be included in SPIE publications, including the Student Newsletter or SPIE Professional. The information is also provided to the SPIE Board of Directors as an indicator of the health of our student program. Sending a complete report on time means your Chapter will receive the recognition it deserves for the hard work of its Members.

Please email your annual report to students@spie.org.

Annual Report due dates vary. Please check your SPIE chapter website for your report due date. It will be listed under Latest Reports.

Reports should include:

  1. Names, email addresses, and Member numbers of elected Officers.
  2. List of current Student Chapter Members.
  3. Details of Chapter activities since last report.
    • Describe exactly how chapter grant funding was spent.
    • Were these activites described in your funding request?
  4. Details of planned activities for the future.
  5. Financial information.
    • Beginning balance
    • Funds raised and expended (indicate amounts and source/destination)
    • Details of SPIE funding received
    • Other funding sources (please specify)
    • Ending balance
    • US chapters are asked to include their Tax ID, if applicable.

Special note for Outreach Events: Please estimate the number of attendees at each event. This helps us measure the impact of Student Chapters and obtain future student funding.

Good Standing
Student Chapters must:

  1. Maintain a minimum of 10 paying SPIE Student Members.
  2. Submit an annual report by the assigned due date (see Reporting Guidelines for details).
  3. Hold at least three official meetings per year.
  4. Elect officers once each year.
  5. Obtain prior written approval from SPIE for any fundraising activities.

Failure to Maintain Good Standing - Probation and Decertification
While the Society strives to work with every Chapter's individual needs, the minimal requirements for remaining in good standing are strictly followed. If a chapter remains inactive for a period of greater than two years, then the chapter may risk probation and possibly decertification.

  • SPIE will notify the Chapter Advisor and Current President regarding the Probationary Status if the chapter has less than 10 members and has not submitted an activity report within the last year. The chapter will be given an opportunity to return to good standing. 
  • While a Chapter is on probation it is not eligible to apply for Activity Grants or Officer Travel Grants
  • If there has been over 2 years of inactivity and less than 10 members, no response from advisor/past-president or confirmed wish to decertify, we will request that the chapter be decertified.
  • Student Members will continue to receive all the benefits of an Individual Student Membership throughout the probationary period and beyond, regardless of the status of the Chapter.

Returning to Good Standing
During probation, SPIE will work with Chapters to revitalize their programs. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to recruit more members, submit any overdue reports, plan activities, etc. Contact your Chapter Advisor and students@spie.org for tips and additional assistance.

Building an Active Chapter
It is normal for Chapter commitment to fluctuate over time. Graduation, thesis writing, or other obligations can all impact the ability of the Chapter to function and benefit its Members. Here are some tips to help energize your members:

  • Organize activities that require the involvement of many Chapter Members. Science fairs, volunteer teaching, and public outreach are excellent ways to utilize the abilities of your Chapter Members.
  • Set up an informal table in the department building with SPIE promotional materials, handouts, and membership applications at the beginning of the school year. Talk to your members and plan events early.
  • Share Chapter responsibilities.
  • Hold Officer elections.
  • Use your website to keep Members informed and in communication. Track project goals through the website.
  • Get inspiration from other student leaders - send members to the Student Chapter Leadership Workshop.
  • Create a binder or electronic version of instructions for future officers including expectiations of officer roles, protocols for chapter benefits, annual calendar events, etc. 

Visiting Lecturer Program

Bring the feeling of a conference to your entire Chapter. Access a directory of distinguished lecturers who are available to give personalized lectures at your university. For a complete list of available speakers and topics, check out the Visiting Lecturer page. Each chapter in good standing can request travel support for one lecturer per calendar year using the Visiting Lecturer funding.

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