Hi! I'm the president of a MUG called MacTerp here at the University of Maryland (College Park) and we're gearing up/revamping things within our own group for the upcoming academic year. We've been an "official" group (recognized by both Apple and the University) since Fall '04 but it wasn't until I took over as president last semester that we really started to get organized and did some things. Our hardest challenege has bene finding students here who are interested in coming to MUG meetings and then "keeping" them so that they come back for more. Last semester, we were lucky to have about 5-10 people total show up for each meeting. In order for our group to get student government funding, we need 25 members minimum to be registered with our group (which we have now) but I'm hoping that with the coming school year we'll have more in attendance, as it's extremely hard to get anything productive or worthwhile done when so few people show up (and the majority of those that do are your other exec. officers!). We do have a website up at http://www.macterp.com
and while it's not much to look at right now, we are planning to do a massive overhaul to the look of the website and it's features and might actually get it done within the next 2 months.
As for our meetings, I often feel in the dark about what people want from a MUG meeting. Last semester we talked a lot but rarely got anything productive done. Also, while we did hold movie nights and social events like Laser Tag, I felt like those who were coming to the meetings got bored quickly and I really don't want thta to happen. Usually at the meetings I do a Keynote presentation covering what the latest news with our group is and we cover things that we're currently doing and planning on doing and then oonce that's done, it's usually like an open forum in which anyone can talk about anything or ask any questions they might have about not just our MUG but Apple/Mac stuff in general. I think the keynote presentations are good ways of communicating info. to everyone at the meetings and I try to keep them short (15-20 minutes tops) but for the upcoming year, I'm going to do some stuff I should have done from the beginning to liven things up and hopefully catch people's attention so they'll keep coming to meetings for more.
Ideas I have for future meetings include spotlighting a new and different software application (could be an Apple or a 3rd party app) and basically showcasing it for all to see and consider using if they don't already and also hardwre demonstrations for users who may not know how to do simple things to their Macs like upgrading RAM, swapping out a hard drive, or making upgrades to processors or optical drives. In addition, I thought it'd be cool to record each future meeting as a podcast and then have it uploaded to our website for download (or maybe even have them uploaded to iTunes' podcast directory). We're also planning some trips to Brown University to see their Mac cluster there and (possibly) down to VA Tech for a tour of the G5 supercomputer they have there. Guest speakers from Apple stores are a possibility that we hope to incorporate at some point as well. Lastly, I was considering how cool it'd be to set up somethign like a tri-university MUG collaboration with nearby colleges and maybe like once or twice a year have one big MUG meeting between them all to see what each has been up to and to do some big things that maybe a single MUG couldn't do alone.
But aside from this stuff, what would you all like to see happen at MUG meetings if you went to them? I'd appreciate input and if any of you go here or are interested in coming to a meeting, E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org