ASABE Student Manual
This manual has been prepared to assist in the formation and
operation of student branches. It also will serve existing branches
in recruiting, planning constructive programs and exchanging ideas
with others. In general, the manual presents ideas that should
increase branch activity and provide greater benefits to the
student members. It contains most of the information regarding
awards, reports and rules needed during the year by student
engineering branches and student mechanization branches.
The Society has no desire to dictate how branches should
operate. The students and student branch sponsors always have shown
great ingenuity in planning their activities. The development of
initiative and originality is one of the major benefits to
History Of ASABE And Its Student Organizations
About 1900, a few people of understanding caught a vision of the
demand the 20th century would bring for professionals with an
understanding of and an appreciation for engineering needed in
agricultural production. There were 17 charter members at the
founding meeting of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers
in 1907. Since that time, the organization has increased steadily
in prestige and value to its members and to the public. Recognizing
the need for establishing university-level clubs for students
enrolled in agricultural engineering or related curricula; the
Society authorized the formation of student branches.
A committee was appointed at the Annual Meeting in 1909 to
recommend amendments to the Constitution and Bylaws of the ASABE to
provide for the establishment of student branches. At the following
Annual Meeting in 1910, the Society approved a petition from 18
students at Iowa State College for permission to organize a student
From this early beginning, the student branches have progressed
with the development of the Society and agricultural engineering
education. A membership directory published in 1921 shows seven
student branches with a total of 142 student branch members. The
Society's regular membership at the time was only 553. By way of
comparison, today there are over 40 student engineering branches,
one at practically every school offering recognized professional
training in agricultural and biological engineering.
The agricultural mechanization curriculum was developed using much
of the same technology as agricultural engineering and so student
mechanization clubs were authorized by the Society in 1969 to aid
in the professional development of these students. In 1987 the name
was changed to mechanization branches. The 1970 Yearbook shows one
club; by contrast, today there are over 30 student mechanization
Many of the early student members have long since advanced to
positions of leadership in the profession and the Society. They
have distinguished themselves as primary factors in the progress of
Based on this record of achievement, the Society counts heavily on
its present student membership and activities to provide the
central nucleus of its future leadership, activities and progress.
The outlook for the future is that activities of the student groups
will be of increasing importance to ASABE in many of the emerging
areas of interest such as food engineering and biological systems
Why Join A Student Branch?
The following are reasons why students decide to participate in
ASABE Student Engineering Branches or Student Mechanization
- Meet other students with similar professional goals -- many
will become co-workers and life-long friends.
- Learn more about the professions of engineers outside the
classroom -- what it will be like after graduation.
- Gain leadership experience -- so vital to success in life.
- Become better acquainted with faculty members and section
- Participate in local and national functions of the
- Learn more about job prospects and meet persons from business,
government and other universities.
- For fun and fellowship.
Why Join ASABE?
Student membership in ASABE is often confused with membership in
the campus student engineering branch or student mechanization
branch. "Student Member" is the classification of the Society
applied to students holding membership in the international
organization. Students pay $22.00 annual dues to the Society. They
receive the Society's membership publication, Resource
magazine, and a membership card. There are other privileges of
ASABE membership that do not apply to local branch membership.
- Eligibility for the Society sponsored awards.
- Receipt of the Annual International Meeting program.
- Discounts for meeting registration.
- Discounts on publications.
- The right to vote and hold office in the section.
- Receipt of section newsletters, programs, and other
- Transfer to full ASABE membership upon graduation without
paying admission fees and without paying annual dues for the
balance of the year of graduation.
- Two years of membership immediately following graduation at
$35.00 per year, if requested, with current address sent to the
- The privilege of belonging to an organization with high
professional and ethical standards dedicated to the advancement of
the agricultural, food, and biological engineering
Student membership in ASABE brings the students closer to the
profession and serves to acquaint them with the people and the work
of their future.
Role of ASABE Headquarters
- Coordinates the Student Organizations Committee, ASABE Student
Engineer of the Year Scholarship, the Adams Scholarship Grant, The
Merriam Scholarship and the ASABE Foundation Scholarship. ASABE
also oversees the AEM Trophies Competition, the K.K. Barnes Student
Paper Awards Competition, the AGCO National Student Design
Competition, the Preprofessional Design Project Poster Session
Competition, the International ¼ Scale Tractor Student Design
Competition, the Environmental Design Student Competition (both
Open Format and Fountain Wars), the Stewart Engineering Humanities
Award and the Graduate Student Research Award.
- Help plan the Annual International Meeting for the National
Council of Student Engineering Branches and the National Council of
Student Mechanization Branches. Arrange housing for students
attending these national meetings.
- Sponsor the ASABE Student Honor Award, Student-Mile Award for
attendance at the ASABE Annual International Meeting
- Maintain professional membership records for all grades of
- Help organize new branches at colleges and universities.
- Process subscriptions for publications.
- Provide a manual to guide officers in branch operations.
- Assist branches in scheduling speakers representing ASABE.
Student Officers - Their Duties
As an officer of your student engineering branch or student
mechanization branch, you should strive to justify the confidence
placed in you by fulfilling the obligation to the best of your
ability. Above all, remember that the office was awarded you by the
ballot of your associates; they look to you for leadership, not
The president must set the pace for the members
and create an atmosphere of enthusiasm and dispatch. In addition,
- must maintain control of the meeting at all times;
- must anticipate problems, projects and situations that might
arise and be prepared to cope with them;
- should maintain close contact with other officers and committee
chairs in order to see that they are active;
- should give credit where credit is due;
- should arrange for one or two "special" programs or projects to
distinguish their term from the ordinary. The experience gained
will serve them well in later years.
The vice president should be prepared to serve
for the president at all times. This person should keep fully
advised of all committees and activities so that a meeting may
proceed normally with the president absent. The vice president
usually serves as program chair and also helps the president check
on committee activities. The vice president, too, must indicate by
example the spirit of achievement that will determine the
accomplishments of the branch.
The secretary should be the parliamentarian and
keep the president and others at all times within the bylaws and
rules of the branch. This person should see that records of their
branch are reported promptly and accurately to ASABE headquarters,
that their members are duly recorded in records of the Society and
that the branch is aware of all awards, honors or recognition's
The treasurer should see that all dues are
collected, recorded and disbursed with accuracy and dispatch. The
records should be legible, complete and clear to all. The treasurer
should comply with the requirements of the school relative to
finances of student organizations, as well as the bylaws and rules
of the branch.
The scribe should see that the activities of
the branch are accurately and thoroughly covered by local radio,
television, newspaper and magazines. Typed reports, colorfully
written, playing up the dramatic and unusual features of the
meetings, are more apt to capture the eye of an editor.
Committee chairs are responsible for the
individual projects of the branch. Good chairs inspire successful
projects and a record of accomplishment; disinterested chairs can
spoil the record of a branch. No organization will accomplish much
without active, working committees.
A Recruiting Program
Since part of the strength of any organization is the number of
members, every ASABE Student Branch should make a determined effort
to enroll all those who are eligible. The activities of a student
branch are more enjoyable, better, and more easily accomplished
when members work together.
Prospects should be encouraged to join the Society as student
members as well as the local student branch. The two memberships
supplement one another. The publications of the Society, which go
to student members, help maintain the student's interest in local
student organization affairs.
How should a recruiting campaign be planned and conducted? The
following procedures have been used successfully:
- The president of the branch appoints a recruiting committee and
assigns it no other responsibility.
- This committee meets, preferably with the president and the
faculty advisor and reviews carefully the benefits of membership.
Each member of the committee must be familiar with all the material
available that shows the advantages of membership.
- The chair of the committee should obtain a list of all the
students eligible for affiliation. All who are not members should
be urged to join. The names are divided among the committee members
who are given membership applications and pertinent
- The campaign should be concentrated and completed in a short
period of time. Committee members should work simultaneously.
Follow up on all who postpone decision and collect completed
membership forms from those who join.
- The drive must be carefully timed. It should be early enough to
give the new members benefit of the entire year's program. It
should not take place when there is another important activity on
the campus that will detract from the attention desired and
deserved. An especially good meeting should follow shortly after
the close of the drive. At this gathering it is a courtesy to
recognize in some manner those meeting with the branch for the
These suggestions should be modified to meet local situations.
The important thing to remember is that results will depend upon
how well the drive is organized and the degree of personal contact
used in the campaign.
No matter how lofty the ideals and objectives of an organization,
there will be little benefit to or interest among its members
unless it has a strong program. All programs should be planned to
hold interest and to benefit the profession and the individual
The number of meetings varies with the different branches but
averages 10 to 12 per year. Usually semimonthly meetings are common
with no meetings scheduled close to holidays or final
Several branches have found success in making the first meeting
of the school year a student-staff party. All students in the
department, especially new students and staff members, are
encouraged to attend. Only a short program need be planned but the
importance of joining the branch should be stressed to first time
attendees and membership application forms distributed. The rest of
the evening can be spent with social activities and
One of the more frequently used types of programs is a talk by a
guest speaker. Usually the guest selects a technical subject
although other topics are also popular. Typical of these topics are
discussions on how to obtain a position, what industry expects of a
graduate, and the professional and economic status of agricultural,
food, and biological professionals. Many times the speakers are
from the university in which the branch is located, but frequently
they are Society officers or come from other schools, industries or
government agencies. Usually a visitor is a better attraction than
one of those with whom the students associate regularly. Generally,
the speaker selects his own topic and liberal amount of time is
allowed for questions. The latter is of great importance, for it is
through these discussions that students get the specific
information they want. Guest speakers stimulate interest and helps
to maintain a high attendance percentage.
Programs in which members of the branch speak are quite popular
and beneficial. Usually more than one student takes part in such
programs. It is common for students to report on their summer work
if they have been employed in engineering capacities.
Joint meetings with other campus organizations can be
stimulating and successful. Other engineering or mechanization
groups are appropriate cooperators. Joint meetings with ASABE
sections are an important way to meet professionals and learn of
career opportunities. Plan these with your section/student
Most branches have at least two social meetings annually.
Picnics or outings are the most popular. Dances, group attendance
at athletic events and bowling parties also have been scheduled.
Many branches arrange recognition banquets or dinners. Such affairs
usually are held near the end of the school year.
Visits to industrial plants are enjoyable and bring the
opportunities and challenges of the profession closer to the
student. Most branches arrange one or more of these each year.
The following table summarizes what may be considered a typical
annual program of a typical branch.
|Type of Meeting
|Get Acquainted Party
|Meeting and Guest Speaker
|Meeting and Guest Speaker
|Meeting and Guest Speaker
|Meeting and Election of Officers
|Meeting and Guest Speaker
|Meeting and Film
|Meeting and Guest Speaker
|Spring Banquet (members, staff and guests)
|Meeting and Guest Speaker
|Meeting and Election of Officers
Branches should conduct their meetings according to Robert's Rules
of Order, but meetings are informal to encourage participation of
members. Usually a meeting is called to order by the president, the
minutes of the last meeting are read and the officers and committee
chairs give progress reports. The meeting is then opened for old
and new business, after which the special program or speaker for
the evening is introduced. Time is allowed for questions and
discussion after the program. The meeting is then closed and
Attempts are made to hold short meetings. Usually the entire
meeting, program and refreshments take only one and one-half hours.
This is done so students can return to their studies. Short
business meetings can be accomplished by taking care of detailed
plans, development of new ideas, etc. and by holding executive
meetings before each branch meeting.
Local situations and interest influence what can be carried out
most efficiently. The program each year should:
- Provide variety.
- Permit student participation.
- Offer the inspiration of guest speakers.
- Include meetings that are educational and social.
- Make sure meetings are sufficiently large and diversified to
maintain the interest of the members.
Keep meetings moving according to schedule and begin and end on
Transfer From Student Member To Full ASABE Membership
Upon graduation, student members of ASABE may receive a discounted
membership rate of $35.00 per year for the two years following
graduation. The faculty advisor shall certify the student's
graduation date and students must provide ASABE headquarters with
their current address. The student member status is then changed to
student transfer. Student discount applies only if the
graduation year's dues are paid and the change of address card is
Forming A New Student Engineering Or Mechanization Branch
The procedure for forming a new student engineering branch or
student mechanization branch of ASABE is relatively simple. On
receiving a petition carrying a satisfactory number (at least ten)
of student members, the Membership Development Council of ASABE
will authorize the organization of a student engineering branch or
student mechanization branch.
Application For Student Membership
New student members must complete a Student Application.
Applications are normally completed in the fall of the year and
cover the following year.
If previously a member, a dues invoice will be sent in
On the application form for new student members, there are two
items that must be correctly completed to avoid errors in service.
It is especially important that if the student was previously a
member, that the student indicates that fact. Secondly, it is
important for the student branch advisor to know the anticipated
graduation date so that students can be transferred to full member
Many graduating students are "lost" to the Society because they
have indicated that they are going to continue in graduate school
but do not. Thus, the student is carried the balance of the year as
a student member instead of a full member. Be sure to advise the
ASABE headquarters of every change in a student's status and make
sure address changes are reported.