How to Join USB

Want to lead cool initiatives like this student wiki?

Authored by
August 24, 2020

What is USB?

Established in 1999, The Computer Science Undergraduate Student Board is dedicated to improving the student experience within Computer and Data Sciences at Purdue- whether by managing CS193, hosting forums for student advocacy, or maintaining a database of undergrad-tailored resources, USB is continually creating initiatives that will uphold our values. Check out our initiatives page to see what we’re up to now!

What do USB members do?

That will be completely up to you! USB prides itself in being driven by student-led initiatives- if a board member has an idea and a plan, they are encouraged to take lead. Initiatives can be small or large, and members are given flexibility to be able to move from project to project if it’s in their best interest.

What are the responsibilities of USB members?

All USB members are expected to be working on at least one initiative- this can mean being the member of an initiative team or being the lead of an initiative with heightened responsibility. Along with work on your initiatives, USB has a mandatory hour-long weekly meeting where initiative leads can report their progress and members can discuss any new ideas or suggestions.

How to Join

USB opens applications early December and keeps them open until the beginning of Spring semester. If you follow us on social media (such as our Facebook or Instagram), you’ll be the first to know when it releases!

What’s the application process?

Our interview can be split up into 2 main parts.

-Our general application is released early December and stays open until the beginning of Spring semester. It is made up of personal and behavioral questions about yourself. We’re not looking for the longest response (although details, if important, can definitely add to your application)- we want to see what you’re passionate about. If possible, give us a specific situation that or personal experience relates to the question.

-Final interview offers will be sent out within the next two weeks. After scheduling your interview, we will invite you to either an in-person or virtual interview. You will be able to sit with two interviewers and answer some more personal and behavioral questions. Again, we want to know about you- sharing personal, specific experiences will allow us to get to know you better! During the second half of your interview you will be given a ‘situation’ question where you’re encouraged to share an idea or initiative you have for the CS department and how you would lead it.

Traditionally, we have had a third optional event with all candidates that made it to the final round of interviews- in the past, we have invited candidates to bowl with us and have dinner. The purpose of this optional meeting is to be able to meet all candidates in a relaxed setting and to get to know you more personally. Since this event is optional, we do not use it as a definitive way to consider candidates, but it (if anything) gives an excuse to have some fun and free food!

What are we looking for?

USB cares about diversity. The computer science department heavily lacks diversity and we believe that the best way for a student organization to address this is to amplify and elevate the voice of minority groups in tech. We want our board to be representative of the diverse community we are trying to build.

USB is also looking for passion and great ideas for the CS department. Initiatives are completely maintained and created by USB members, so we want to find individuals who truly care about the work they will do with us. We love to talk with candidates who have genuine interest or a specific experience that is driving their idea- maybe a love for teaching that has given them an idea for a mentorship initiative, or an experience in class that made them realize there was an easier way to hold PSOs.

I believe in what USB is doing but do not want to become a member. Can I still make changes within the CS department?

You definitely can! While USB provides existing relationships with faculty and a network of supportive members who can help start your initiative, it is by no means the only way to do so. If you have an idea for the CS department, take initiative and contact your professors, faculty members, and your peers. Conduct some research and form a plan- change can absolutely come from an individual. And USB is more than willing to help- if you feel stuck, don’t hesitate to come to our scheduled office hours or send us an email about your idea and we will share any helpful resources we have!

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