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I'm a graduate student in Engineering. This semester we're going to form a graduate student club. We're thinking about creating some networking events with former students, companies, etc.

Do you have any related ideas that are not hard to implement and not too expensive?

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Simple ideas:

  1. Seminar where a professor gives a talk on his/her current research. Provide beer.
  2. Invite an alum from one of the companies you're talking about to give a talk on something new from the company. Provide beer.
  3. Simple cook-out, which includes beer (even better if this is a recurring event, monthly, once a semester, etc.).

More involved ideas:

  1. Mini-poster conference, where a quorum of students have posters about their current research. Alum can act as judges, if you want to award prizes. Provide beer.
  2. Invite a famous alumus to give a talk. This always involves more work than you're expecting, but can have big pay-offs. Might necessitate actual cocktails (and possibly pay for the speaker, but if you play it right you should find an alumnus willing to do it for free).
  3. Field-trip to a local engineering firm that may have something interesting to look at (or a tour). Drinks at a local bar afterward.
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    I completely agree, but sometimes it is hard to be allowed alcohol on campus. Pizza is a good second choice (but yes you need to bait people with food/drinks). – Zenon Sep 1 '13 at 17:15

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