What's in it for me?
A big motivator are the contacts you can make in the life science community, not only in your city but all around the Netherlands, and even all over Europe. Students in the Netherlands already have access to a network through their city study associations but being part of wider networks, such as that provided by Young NVBMB, or by the FEBS Junior Sections, can bring additional benefits. One main benefit is making connections with other students and researchers. Bachelor and Master level students are expected to organize internships during their course and, by having access to a wider network than their city study association, students will have access to more opportunities. In each city the study associations organize an ‘internship market’ for the students, and if Young NVBMB could be present and offer national or even wider opportunities at those events, it would help promote Young NVBMB. It is also a lot of work for students to find out where you can go for your internship, so if the NVBMB already has information and contacts throughout the country, it would be helpful for students to access that information. Young NVBMB also wants to show how the community can help, by providing information on grants available, linking to people to discuss topics with, and connecting with peers to talk about professional development, such as connecting to PhD students who can advise on the best way to obtain an internship.
Likewise, the FEBS Junior Sections could help identify places to go all over Europe, access Europe-wide resources, and maybe organize symposia and other educational activities for students to discover key research areas and make contacts. Young NVBMB wants to clarify and consolidate these benefits, to be able to encourage students to join those larger networks.
In addition to making contacts, being able to actively participate in Young NVBMB and its activities is also a good motivator, and the organizers are working hard to ensure that can happen as their group gets bigger. They think that if the structure or Young NVBMB is organized well so that there is not a lot of extra work to do for the students, and the initiative’s aims and activities are clear so they can be communicated easily, there will be more students interested and motivated to join and help.
There are additional ways to motivate students. For example, in the Netherlands if you help with the running of the Board of an organization you often get financially compensated, and some financial support would motivate many students, as studying is expensive. Gaining a group of friends can also be motivating, as collaborating can lead to friendships, sometimes in different cities and countries. Highlighting this can show that volunteering is not only about organizing events and activities, and can have social benefits too. It also looks good on student’s CV to get involved in this type of initiative. Finally, there are many students who are just keen to get involved, help, and do new activities, and it can be useful to tap into those motivations to recruit new members.