Taking Your Campus Organization to the Next Level
Posted By: Eddie Francis on March 13, 2014 |
Almost every time a campus organization gets new members, proclamations of "running the yard" abound. This is especially true of Greek chapters. Almost every organization wants to plant its flag of visibility and achievement on campus but do the members know how they are going to make it happen?
Student organizational success can also easily translate to a winning resume. The trick is to get results out of the process then record those results on the resume. If you really want to get your campus organization to the next level here's what I suggest:
1. Be realistic. Every successful organization gets a commitment from each member to do the boring stuff--organize, plan, commit, and work together. If you don't see that kind of effort from the members, running the yard is only a wish.
2. Set goals. The leadership of your organization is tasked with creating a vision then deciding how that vision is going to be implemented. The general membership provides input on making things happen. The goals should be S.M.A.R.T.--specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. For example, if you have a membership of fewer than 10 members, trying to plan three events that require a lot of overhead and physical work in one semester isn't S.M.A.R.T.
3. Build your budget. More student organizations wind up having bad years because they fail to pay attention to their finances. If your group is in a crunch, like many groups, plan fundraisers and appeal to alumni members or campus faculty or staff for guidance. It is much better for an organization to keep their calendars simple with lost-cost or no-cost events that will mean something to fellow students while taking pressure off the group's wallet.
4. Plan relevant events. I always tell my fellow Greeks to plan events that are relevant to the aims of their respective fraternities and sororities. The same goes for any student organization. Students respect organizations whose events stand for something. Also, respect your peer organizations by planning with them and not against them. It is understandable if two events fall on the same date by accident but deliberately attempting to destroy another campus organization's event is classless.
5. Promote your achievements! People won't know that your organization has done anything if you don't tell them anything. This is wear social media comes in very handy.
And PLEASE make sure that your social media manager can write. Nothing is more embarrassing than an organization's credibility being compromised because the social media manager can't spell, write, or treats the account as if it is his or hers. Remember, most of your peers use social media to judge people and organizations.
6. Recruit the right students. Recruiting the right students means approaching students who take school seriously and reflect what your organization stands for. If they take school seriously, there is a good chance they take themselves seriously, which will translate into taking the organization seriously. Never recruit for numbers; recruit for quality.
7. Form a good working relationship with your campus's student affairs office. You don't have to agree with all of their policies or decisions, but your organization should respect their authority. The better your working relationship with student affairs, the more supportive they will be of your organization.
8. Choose your leadership wisely. Your officers set the tone and students know when leadership is performing well or badly. Always strongly consider leaders who are organized, ethical, thoughtful, and smart.
9. Don't take things personally. One thing that messes student organizations up on every campus in existence is having members who are simply too emotional. When there is conflict in the organization (and there will be), solve problems logically and quietly. Keep your organization's business off the yard! The more people on campus know about your problems, the more others can take advantage of your organization's weaknesses. Don't react to issues; think and respond intelligently.
10. Understand the value of team work. "Team work makes the dream work" is a cliche but truer words have never been spoken when it comes to organizational success. Going back to point number nine, members of your organization could disagree on several issues; but if the organization looks unified in public, that is a win. Whether your group feels the need or not, find out if your student affairs office can help you with team building workshops.
These are basic tips but ignoring fundamentals is where organizations often err. The biggest thing to remember is success just won't happen to an organization. The members of the organization have to truly want to be better. Before you can run the yard, you might want to figure out how to run the organization.
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