The US Composting Council taps a young professionals committee to lead on conference activities, connecting them with more established members and building a sense of belonging.
How to hack it? Conference planning can be a great way to engage young members. At the US Composting Council, a young professionals committee, made up of members ages 18 to 40, plans a volunteering and networking event to give back to the local community and build their connection to USCC.
At this year’s conference in Los Angeles, dozens of members got their hands dirty building composting bins for a rooftop garden program at the LA Community Action Network in the Skid Row neighborhood. “These are highly engaged young people who volunteer on a committee to ensure that we have service and networking at the heart of each meeting,” says Linda Norris-Waldt, USCC’s marketing and membership manager. Already, the group is thinking about next year. They’re planning a Shark Tank-style pitch session, where young members will go in front of a panel to promote their business ideas.
Why does it work? “The volunteering and networking events are a great opportunity for a young member to talk to someone more established in the industry,” Norris-Waldt says. “And the great thing is that this committee establishes the goals of the activities first and takes real ownership.”
What’s the bonus? Events like these help to attract young people who have the potential to be USCC members, Norris-Waldt says. “Right now, we have a small group of members who are under the age of 30,” she says. “So we need to do everything we can to make them feel welcome and included.” The committee is thinking about adding more events throughout the year.