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Running a student contributing program the open source way

This is a very exciting opportunity where free and open source software (FOSS) and other organizations meet for mutual benefit and the advancement of open source participation.

Who might get to take advantage of this?  Perhaps some people who do not yet even know how they can, as a part of their day job in a hardware or software company, contribute directly to FOSS in a collaboration done the open source way.

If you have ever done or wanted to be part of a team that puts together an online student contributing program (similar to Google Summer of Code and Fedora Summer Coding 2010) …

If you have skills in event and project or program management

If you are interested in outreach to education that makes a difference to individual students whose work can reach thousands and millions

Would you be interested in helping organize Fedora Students Contributing (FSC)?

To get the Fedora Summer Coding program going this last season, I just did the work and played it all out on the two public and one private mailing list.  Our team at Red Hat calls those two principles, “Get in there, get it going.”  Now I am trying to move through “going” toward the last principle, “Get out of the way.”

Now is the time to bring in other voices to guide and shape and take personal responsibility for the future of this program.  Rather than taking total control of this program forevermore for the Red Hat brand, we are convinced that applying the principles of the open source way to community events management is the right way to do such a program in the name of a community.  In addition to inviting all Fedora users, enthusiasts, and participants to join in organizing this event, I want to specifically call out to the organizations – corporate, academic, non-profit, etc. – to join with some of their staff/members.

Fedora Students Contributing requires/teaches skills for program administrators, such as:

  • Project management.
  • Fund raising and small accounting.
  • Community organizing, mentoring, and leadership.
  • Mentor training.
  • Writing.
  • Strategic and tactical planning.
  • Open marketing.
  • Public speaking.
  • Getting things done in a FOSS project.
  • Remote team collaboration.
  • Running a student program with applications, proposals, acceptance, milestone checks, and stipends.
  • More!

It’s rewarding to help so many people help each other, and the results are often surprising.  As with many other parts of working in FOSS projects, it provides a chance to learn, use, and teach skills that are useful in other parts of your life, as well as on your CV/resume.

End note: I have not done a review of any other student contribution programs, so I do not have specific knowledge of how they are run.  I am envisioning here a program done the open source way entirely from my own imagination, a vision fueled by so many of you all.