Student organizations help peers connect in online program

A screen shot of a virtual career panel meeting with members of the Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity
FLID president Selena Aguilera (top left) moderates a career panel offered by the student organization. Panelists included Rebecca Powell, Research Specialist for the State of Michigan; Sheila Garcia, Professional Programs Liaison Librarian at Grand Valley State University; Darlene Johnson-Bignotti, library faculty member at Oakland Community College; and Nakenya Lewis-Yarbrough, Youth Services Librarian at Bellville Public Library.

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from current and prospective students is how to connect with peers in an asynchronous online program. One of the most fun and effective ways for School of Information Sciences students to connect with their fellow Information Warriors is to get involved with the school’s student organizations.  

Members of the American Library Association at Wayne State volunteer to hand out books to local middle school children.
Members of the American Library Association at Wayne State volunteer with the Detroit Literacy Project and Detroit Children's Museum to fill bags with book to distribute to local middle school children.

There are currently five active student organizations for SIS students to participate in: Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity, the Information Warrior Student Journal Committee, and the Wayne State student chapters of the American Library Association, Society of American Archivists, and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance.

In order to make the organizations accessible to all SIS students, even those who are working alongside their studies or don’t live near campus, meetings are held monthly (usually in the evenings) online via Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Additionally, students can commit to the level of involvement that best suits their schedules and interests. Become a member of a group’s leadership board, participate in a volunteer opportunity, or simply attend an occasional meeting. While many of the affiliated state or national organizations charge a membership fee, participating in any of the SIS student organizations is absolutely free and all are welcome.  

American Library Association (ALA)

American Library Association at Wayne State logoThe ALA @ WSU is the university’s student chapter of the American Library Association. The group shares news from the national organization and brings awareness and attention to issues and trends in Library and Information Sciences (LIS). Meetings range from hosting alumni and student guest speakers to trivia nights and book club discussions. They also provide volunteer opportunities each year, so keep an eye out to become more involved! The ALA @ WSU recently welcomed current student Marwah Ayache, the SIS representative for Wayne State’s Student Senate. Check out a recording of the meeting here.

“I was encouraged to join by a co-worker and am so glad I did,” said Megan Hakala. “Being a part of ALA @ WSU is a wonderful way to connect to fellow SIS students and create a stronger connection to the program overall.” In addition to pursuing her Master of Library and Information Science, Hakala is a Library Assistant III for Wayne State’s David Adamany Undergraduate Library and president of ALA @ WSU.

Future Librarians for Inclusivity and Diversity (FLID)

Future Librarians for Inclusivity and DiversityFLID aims to raise awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion in LIS fields by discussing and highlighting the experiences of those with historically excluded identities within the profession. FLID’s meetings include guest speakers, documentary watch parties, game nights, and career events. FLID recently hosted a discussion with SIS alumnus Nick Norton, the research and inclusivity initiatives librarian at Cornell Law Library, who spoke about how DEI needs to be “baked in” to a workplace to be effective, how to find your allies in your workplace, and how to advocate for DEI in your position.

“FLID has allowed me to grow in librarianship by offering opportunities to network, build on my leadership skills by participating as an officer, and providing learning opportunities related to being inclusive and acknowledging diversity,” FLID member, Tori Robinson said. “The conversations that are had here are needed as we navigate the everchanging world of librarianship.”

Society of American Archivists (SAA)

Society of American Archivists logoThe Society of American Archivists student chapter strives to enhance the education of students interested in archival studies by providing practical resources, networking opportunities and hands-on events. SAA, like ALA and FLID hosts a variety of meetings including guest speakers, watch parties, and general discussions of trends and best practices in archives today. SAA also celebrates American Archives Month each October with special guests and events. This past October, SAA president, Eric Morgel compiled some spooky resources to celebrate Halloween, which can be viewed here.

“Joining SAA has provided me with so many new connections with my peers, which has been incredibly helpful during the pandemic,” member Grace Moore said. “The professional development opportunities and special guest speakers provide insight into the archival field that graduate students might not find elsewhere. Mostly, it’s really nice to be able to meet with people that share my passions!” In addition to SAA, Grace Moore is involved in FLID, ALA, and NDSA while studying for her dual master’s in library and information sciences and history.

National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA)

National Digital Stewardship Alliance logoThe student chapter of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance provides hands-on opportunities to explore digital preservation in LIS fields. The NDSA offers semester-long projects that offer a great way to connect and collaborate with your peers. In 2020 NDSA members worked on the Family Digital Preservation Project. Students Robert Browning, Ginny Schneider, Kendra Moyer, and Eric Morgel presented their research of various user-centered digital preservation methods and shared insight on how to help families preserve their digital photographs, emails, and social media at the national NDSA conference. In addition to their research, the group developed a website that provides resources to help people preserve their digital content.

"Our NDSA students have taken on another amazing real-world project and are offering it up to assist the public,” said NDSA faculty advisor Kim Schroeder. “Digital preservation of family memories is a big challenge and they have created an easy-to-use website with which to guide families. I am so impressed with their work and so proud that they presented at the annual conference."

Information Warrior Student Journal Committee

The Information Warrior Student Journal Committee is a great place to practice writing, editing, submitting, and collaborating on student work to be published. Students are encouraged to submit articles for peer review and inclusion in the Information Warrior Student Journal. All students who submit articles must also agree to review another student’s submission. The journal will be hosted on Wayne State University’s Digital Commons. This organization meets regularly, but those who are interested in joining must contact faculty member Kim Schroeder at to be added to the Microsoft Teams group where you will gain access to files and meeting times. The experience gained on this committee will provide a great benefit to you regardless of your area of interest and looks great on a resume.

Being a part of a professional student organization is a great way to connect with your fellow students, build a professional network, and discover best practices in your desired field. The best way to see which group is the right fit for you is to join us for a meeting or event!

Group information and meeting and event details can be found on the SIS website and via the SISINF student email listserv. Many of the groups can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

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