FAQs

MRS University Chapters

Why would I want to start or join a university chapter?
How do I start a university chapter?
What are the benefits?
How do I qualify for travel reimbursements to MRS meetings?
How does the chapter rebate program work?
What are the financial requirements?
How can I find out about other MRS members in my area?
How can we get more people interested in our activities?
How can we recruit volunteers and share the workload of the chapter?
How do we turn in our annual reports? 
We probably don’t have enough people to fill out a petition. What can I do?
What is a Joint Chapter? Can we associate with both MRS and another organization?

Why would I want to start or join a university chapter?

The reasons for an MRS University Chapter are many and varied ... Because other organizations you’ve encountered may have too narrow a focus (just chemistry, physics, or engineering, etc.), because material R&D is your profession, or because you see a need for an organization on your campus that emphasizes MRS’ commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration.

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How do I start a university chapter?

It’s easy! As a recent change to the MRS University Chapters policy (page 4), MRS does not require that students be current MRS Members in order to petition to form a chapter. You must, however, have two faculty advisors that are current MRS Regular Members and one must be tenured. Please review the Policy (pg 4) for further details. Students and Faculty can complete and sign the Petition to Organize an MRS University Chapter and send it to MRS. Your petition will be validated and sent to MRS Board for a vote on recognition for your organization. It is usually a formality at that point.

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What are the benefits?

MRS University Chapters are entitled to many benefits if they meet the requirements of an active chapter as per the details in the policy, including: travel support for student members to attend MRS Spring and Fall Meetings; chapter rebates; distinguished speaker support; special project grants and more. The social aspect of becoming an official MRS University Chapter and networking with other students and members at the MRS Meetings are also great benefits to students in the materials community.

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How do I qualify for travel reimbursements to MRS meetings?

According to MRS guidelines, the Chapter president must review and sign the student’s reimbursement form. Chapters are eligible for $500 per year, which may be split between the Spring and Fall Meetings, and which may be allocated to just one or to more than one student member of the Chapter. Only active chapters will be eligible to receive chapter benefits – see policy for details. A chapter must submit the Financial Report (April 1) and Activity Report (May 15) on-time to receive the reimbursement.

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How does the chapter rebate program work?

A Chapter roster and rebate form must be submitted along with your annual activity report (due by May 15 of each year). The Chapter will receive a $10 rebate for each student who is also a current member of The Materials Research Society. So, the more student members you enroll in MRS— the more money for your Chapter! Again, only “Active” chapters may submit for a rebate and must maintain, at a minimum, 8 students and 2 faculty that are current MRS Members.

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What are the financial requirements?

MRS University Chapters handle their own finances in accordance with their host academic institution. MRS does not control the finances or operations of University Chapters and all contributions from MRS are considered grants to be used by the University Chapters.

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How can I find out about other MRS members in my area?

The MRS Online Membership Directory is a professional networking service available exclusively to our members. It provides a quick and easy way for you to search for colleagues by name, institution or geographical location. Or, contact MRS headquarters, and we can generate a list of members in your area.

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How can we get more people interested in our activities?

Ask your fellow chapter representatives! If something worked for them, it will probably work for you as well. They can be a great source of both inspiration and information. The most important thing, however, is to stay focused on projects that are educationally and professionally meaningful for YOU!  If you’re enthusiastic, it will rub off.

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How can we recruit volunteers and share the workload of the chapter?

Ask!  Most members will say yes when asked to perform a clearly specified task within a definite period of time, if the person doing the asking is someone they respect. You might also want to consult with members of other chapters. Some of our chapters have developed a pretty effective way of handing along the baton of leadership.  And, of course, if we come across new ideas and leadership programs, MRS staff will pass them along to you.

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How do we turn in our annual reports?

Via email as a scanned copy is preferred. For your convenience, forms and additional reporting information are included in the MRS University Chapter Handbook. Reports must be submitted by the published deadlines.

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We are a very small school and we probably don’t have enough people to fill out a petition. What can I do?

The University Chapter program recently approved “Multi-University Chapters.” In this case, universities that wish to join as a multi-university chapter must be in close proximity to enable in-person meetings of chapter members. Each of the participating universities must have a faculty member involved. One of the universities must be designated to communicate with MRS and take responsibility for handling all financial tasks.

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What is a Joint Chapter, and can our chapter be associated with both MRS and another organization?

University Chapters are defined as student-based organizations independently formed, operated and incorporated at an academic institution. As an independent organization, the local University Chapter retains the sole responsibility to decide which society or societies that it will petition for recognition. MRS does not seek sole recognition, so a University Chapter is free to petition MRS along with other organization of its choosing.

A “Joint Chapter” is one that has been recognized by MRS and another organization, where the two organization have a previously agreed upon arrangement. Such agreements current exist for:

  • MRS-Sociedad Mexicana de Materiales (SMM) (Mexico)
  • E-MRS (Europe)

Contact Lorri Smiley for more information.

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