In my sophomore year in university, a friend took me to a local community meetup. Tech communities were new to me. It was the first time I attended a community meetup, and this experience changed everything.
I got inspired by the idea of community (people coming together and sharing their knowledge) that I decided to start a community on my campus. But I wasn't sure how one goes about it. Is there a process? Is there an organization that can help? How will I start? I was struggling with these questions.
While researching student communities, I landed on the GitHub Education's website. I was already familiar with GitHub, but I didn't know that they ran a program for students. This excited me, and I started exploring more about different opportunities. That's when I learned about the GitHub Campus Expert program. I skimmed through the Campus Expert's website and realized that this program would help me start a community on my campus, so I hit the Become a Campus Expert button.
NOTE: The application process has been revamped. The article talks about the older application process. Please check the GitHub Campus Expert website to know about the latest application process.
To become a Campus Expert, one needs to verify that they're a student enrolled in a university. For verification, one can either upload their University ID or use their university email address.
My university didn't provide an email address that I could use for verification. Hence, for verifying my student status, I used my college ID. Once verified, I completed the initial application. The initial application had essay-style questions. They made you think about why you really wanted to join the program and how it could benefit you and your community. Writing my answers to these questions already helped me align my thoughts.
As a verified student, you also get access to the GitHub Student Developer Pack. This pack gives you access to tons of paid tools and services. You get access to cloud providers, learning platforms, email providers, and many more!
To become a Campus Expert back then, one had to go through training. This training involved completing modules. The modules were designed to help one understand various aspects of community building.
While working on these modules, I learned a lot about community. I understood what a community is, how to plan events and workshops, and the skills required to be an effective community leader. But this was time-consuming training. Not everyone who got invited to the training was able to complete it. That's another skill the training helped me with - determination.
Once you completed the modules, the next step was to wait and be patient. The review team reviewed the submissions thoroughly and shared their feedback. This feedback was an opportunity to dive deeper into the modules.
I received helpful feedback on my submissions. I worked on them and submitted my essays again. The second time was a charm! My submission was accepted, and I was a step closer to becoming a GitHub Campus Expert.
I still remember the day when I officially became a GitHub Campus Expert. It was October 2, 2018, when I had a call with Joe Nash (Program Manager at that time). This was the final step to becoming a Campus Expert.
I was both nervous and excited! The interview went well, and Joe helped me with the onboarding. I created my GitHub Campus Expert profile, joined the Slack workspace (now Discord), and was officially a GitHub Campus Expert 🥳
Even before becoming a Campus Expert, I already started building a community on my campus. We were planning to host our first event on October 8th. I was excited as this would become my first event as a Campus Expert.
As a GitHub Campus Expert, I got a lot of opportunities to help and inspire students. I helped students get started with open source. Throughout the journey, I met some great folks.
I always try to get new experiences and don't shy away from them. Being a Campus Expert helped me get these experiences. I managed booths at various events (read about my experience managing my first booth here). I, along with my friends, organized the first Flutter Bootcamp.
The program also supported me and helped me with my first international conference talk. The program also helped me organize more than 40 events, meetups, and workshops in just six months, impacting more than 200 students.
The program has been helpful and inspiring. I found a community where I can reach out for help and support. You might feel like you're part of a huge family spread out across the world.
The GitHub Campus Expert program is a great opportunity to help your student community. The program focuses on your campus community. It can help you to build and grow the community.
The GitHub Campus Experts program, unlike other programs, focuses on supporting you to help you grow your community. By becoming a GitHub Campus Expert, you don't represent GitHub, nor you are called a GitHub Employee.
I hope this article gives you some insights into the program and its benefits. Below are the answers to some of the questions I get asked frequently.
There is no correct answer for this. I always ask folks to be honest and share how they think the program will benefit their community.
Often times applicants forget that the program is not just for their growth, but it is focused on the growth of the community too.
As much as I would like to help, I am afraid I can't. If your motives for becoming a Campus Experts are not clear, you should take more time. Think about the ways the program can support your community.
Being a student is the only prerequisite for becoming a GitHub Campus Expert. If there's no community on your campus, you can still apply. The program will help you start a community.
I also believe that passion is important. If you're not passionate, you may not enjoy the journey.
Yes, you definitely can!
If your application gets rejected, you can reapply in the next cohort. A new cohort starts every six months. But please don't let this stop you to contribute to the community. Use this time to build and grow your community. You'll get a great experience before joining the program. This experience can also help you with your application.
Rejections are a part of life. If your application got rejected, don't get disheartened, it's not you. Due to the huge volume of applicants, it gets difficult to shortlist them. It might also be possible that someone from your institute is already on their way to becoming a Campus Expert.
I am in the training phase and working on the modules. Could you please share your submissions? [deprecated]
The modules are designed to help you become a better community leader and improve your skills. I don't want to take away this learning opportunity from you. Hence, I won't share my essays with you.