Published On: 11/24/2015

Virginia Tech Wins Student Membership Challenge

SME student chapter recruits 50 new members and 64 renewals for total of 114

The largest professional society in the mining industry, the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), supports emerging leaders through professional development programs offered by its student chapters. The SME Student Chapter Fall Membership Challenge is an annual membership contest between SME student chapters, and is intended to challenge student members to recruit newcomers to join the student chapter and become SME members. The SME student chapter of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University was awarded the grand prize for the highest number; 50 new and 64 renewed members for a total of 114. 

Twenty-four student chapters participated in the 2013 contest which brought 414 new student members and 375 renewals. Through their membership, a student’s opportunities to be involved with industry professionals and the potential for training and skills development are unmatched.

“As the mining industry’s premier professional society, SME is committed to providing superior opportunities to our young leaders through their membership in a local student chapter,” said SME Executive Director David L. Kanagy. “Student chapters of SME offer the first opportunity for a young person to engage in the world of mining outside of the classroom.”

Cash prizes for the schools with the highest percentage of growth in membership went to:

  • South Dakota School of Mines & Tech

  • University of Arizona

  • West Virginia University

The following schools recruited 25 or more students during the challenge and each received a cash bonus:

  • Missouri University of Science and Technology

  • South Dakota School of Mines & Tech

  • University of Arizona

  • University of Kentucky

  • University of Nevada-Reno

  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (2 awards)

The Society experienced a 69% increase in student membership during the past 5 years, increasing from 1,024 in 2008 to 1,727 total student members in 2013. Furthermore, the number of SME’s international student chapters has doubled from 6 in 2008 to 12 in 2013. The overall increase of United States and international SME student chapters from 22 to 32 during that same time period indicates the benefits of becoming a member of SME are being sought by upcoming mining professionals throughout the world. 

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME) is a professional society (nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation) whose more than 15,000 membership represents all professionals serving the minerals industry in more than 100 countries. SME members include engineers, geologists, metallurgists, educators, students and researchers. SME advances the worldwide mining and underground construction community through information exchange and professional development. SME's staff is located in Englewood, Colorado.

For more information contact John Hayden, Deputy Executive Director - Public Affairs and Government Relations, at (303) 948-4250 or