As ASDA leaders, we all want to convince our administrations to automatically enroll all students with an ASDA and ADA student membership from day one. This means students’ ASDA/ADA membership is paid for as part of tuition and fees or by the dental school rather than out of a students’ personal budget. The result is a student body that are all members and can participate in events, serve as chapter leaders and spend time planning events instead of recruiting students to join.
Here at Roseman, the auto-enrollment process was started early by founding chapter president Nate Hoffman. Fast forward two years to the start of the 2013-2014 academic year and the Roseman ASDA chapter is now auto-enroll. The following are some tips from our chapter about pursuing auto-enrollment, working with administration and what kind of transition to expect.
- Convince your administration why auto-enrollment is a benefit. The path to auto-enrollment starts with a dialogue with your administration. Let them know that auto-enrolling your chapter means: 1) students won’t have to pay membership dues out of a tight student budget, 2) students can participate in all ASDA events from day one, and 3) students can learn about organized dentistry early, through ASDA. Getting them on your side means they will fight to help you accomplish this goal.
- Gather your facts to support auto-enrollment. It is helpful to have information to support your case, such as a list of the schools that are already set up as auto-enrollment and the benefits that members will receive. Schools that require disability insurance can benefit from auto-enrollment of ASDA/ADA membership. Students would receive this coverage free with their membership and it can replace the school’s insurance.
- Be patient and tenacious. Each schools’ administration is a bit different and has their own hurdles to overcome. Be patient with your administration as policy implementation can be complex, but also tenacious to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks and get forgotten.
- Having auto-enrollment doesn’t mean students understand what ASDA is. While you may not have to recruit students after becoming auto-enroll, you still have to educate them about what ASDA is and why it’s important. You need to demonstrate the value of membership is worth the fee added on to their tuition. This is especially true with incoming first years and those that weren’t members before.
- There is still work to be done. Now that everyone is a member, you should have more time to focus on events that bring meaning and satisfaction to their membership. Your focus will shift from “how do I get people to join?” to “how do I get everyone to participate?” Planning events that are fun and educational is of paramount importance to getting members engaged and interested with ASDA! If you’re looking for more ideas and tools to help you plan chapter events, head over to ASDAnet.org and look at the chapter how-to guides.
~Kedy Shen, Roseman ’16
About Kedy Shen
Kedy Shen is a second year dental student at Roseman University of Health Sciences. Kedy was a 2013 ASDA extern in Chicago and currently serves as Fundraising Chair for the Roseman chapter and the District 10 Cabinet.