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Leadership is in the Air

by Matt Miller, Assistant Director

The Spring 2012 Semester is upon us.  I always feel some excitement as we start the new calendar year, warm weather is approaching (although maybe not quick enough), some of the biggest events of the year happen in spring semester and student leaders start looking to next year and what leadership roles they might take on.

You haven’t been thinking about that last one? Oh.  Well now is the time! Within student organizations, I often see students at this time of year contemplating the next step is with their involvement.  There are those who are ready to take on the world and they’ve been ready for a leadership position since the middle of September.  There are those who have been in a leadership position but aren’t sure if they are ready to move up or if they even enjoyed the position.  Then there are those people who feel their experience doesn’t compare to those currently in leadership roles, so they could never be the President, Vice-President or any other position.

If you in the first category, the one where you are ready to take on the world, I say, “Go for it!” but at the same time take a step back and truly appreciate the time commitment and expectations of the position you are going for.  At one point in my own college career I had this attitude and I jumped in to a lot of leadership positions all at once, I didn’t really think about how multiple roles would affect my other involvements, my class work or my free time.  Sometimes it is better to go for a quality experience and focus on one or two leadership roles and do them really well.

Already in a leadership position but not sure what to do next? Make sure to weigh your options, evaluate the possible experiences available to you and what benefits you will gain with a new challenge. Remember as well that leadership doesn’t require a title.  Yes, I’ll say it again, leadership does not require a title.  Maybe the best thing that you can offer your organization and yourself this coming year is being a leader within the membership of your group.  I’ve seen many student leaders who hold a leadership position one year and then take a “step back” the following year. At first it might be strange to be “on the other side” again, but from that vantage point they often are able to influence and mentor other members of the organization in ways they weren’t able to before.

For those of you in the last group I mentioned, remember that everyone in those leadership positions today was once in your shoes.  Leadership within an organization, whether in a formal position or not, is a learning process.  You have to take some chances, ask questions, step outside of your comfort zone and give it a try.  Be open about your fears with your advisors and fellow student leaders, because they have probably been there before or might be thinking the same thing, and together you might just be able to come up with ways to address your fears and challenges.

No matter what route you decide to take, remember that leadership is an experience, a process, a skill, and much more.  Although many argue leadership is just a quality some people are born with, I would partly agree and say that leadership is a quality we are all born with, it is your choice what to do with it. So this Spring Semester, make the most of it and start thinking about how you will develop your leadership potential!

What are your thoughts or share your experiences! Going to go for a leadership position or looking for a different route?


Involvement Fair 101: Is Your Group Ready?

by Joanne Darrigo, Graduate Assistant

As many of you know the Involvement Fair is an extraordinary opportunity to help promote BSU’s clubs and organizations. It can be a bit overwhelming pulling together a display of  what it is you want others to know about your club. Here are my top 5 helpful hints on making the most of the Involvement Fair!

1. Membership

Use your table at the fair as a recruitment tool. Everyone who stops to inquire is a potential member of your club, and this is your opportunity to reel them in. Have an email list where students can sign up for more information about meeting times, open eboard positions, and upcoming events that your club is putting on.  Here’s the crucial part though… You have to follow up with every student who signs up! Follow up with more information, whether it be with your first meeting time or your open house. It may even be a good idea to pass out business cards with your clubs email address on it so students have a way to follow up with your club if they have questions.

2. Advertise

This is your time to entice students with all of the events your club is busy planning for the year. Have giveaways from previous events, have photos, music, and videos of upcoming events. The more visual you can be the more interested students are going to become, and the more likely they are to attend your events.

3. Excite

If you are excited about the work your club is doing it is inevitable others will feed off of your excitement. Be proud about what your club has to offer and share that with students who are passing by. Have your clubs logo or banner at the table, show unity and where your club t-shirts. Have an interactive table where students can play a game or win a prize.

4. Showcase

Your club has worked hard to get where it is today so don’t be afraid to show off everything you have done! Talk up previous events, or any work your club is doing at the school or in the community. Have visuals or event tangibles for students to really get a feel for your work. This is also the time for you to celebrate everything your club has accomplished. It is ok to brag sometimes about how great your organization is!

5.  Educate

If you want to gain buy-in from students you need them to know what it is your club does. Have an FAQ sheet at the table for members working, this way everyone is on the same page and has up to date correct information. You could also have a list of conversation starters for members working the table, so no matter who is at the table there will always be something to talk about! Make sure all members know what your clubs mission is, the events you plan, the work you do around the school, and in the community.

The involvement fair is the perfect opportunity for all clubs and organizations to really show students everything you have to offer, not to mention there will be chances to win 200$ in fundraising money for your organization! This year’s involvement fair theme is a birthday party in honor of the campus centers 40th year of being open! For more information on the involvement fair stop by OSIL!

Hope to see you there!

Passing the Torch: Officer Transition

by  Max Quinn, Program Advisor

Taking on a brand new leadership position can pose a lot of challenges to the average student leader. But, imagine being that student leader, having to relinquish your “power” to your successor… now, that is some scary stuff!

As leaders, we all work extremely hard to ensure that we are pursuing the best of our potential, making sure that our positions and our organization is always making progress towards our mission and goals.

So, in a world where multi-tasking and Facebook have become habit, how can you guarantee that your successor will pick up where you left off? How can you be sure that all your hard work and determination to succeed will be carried forward?

The answer is simple; Follow my tips on New Officer Transitions and be surprised at how easy it is to transition your new successor(s) to be better than you!

First, it is important that you set up an officer transition meeting as soon as new officers are elected. At this meeting, each officer should be present, new and old, and all materials that each position needs should accompany the officer who is transitioning out.

A sample agenda for this meeting could look similar to this:

Session 1: Overview and Purpose – ALL Officers

  1. Review the purpose of the organization
  2. General discussion of officer roles and team approach to leadership
  3. Group’s relations to other groups, the University, the community, and others

Session 2: Individual Officer Exchange – ALL Officers

  1. Outgoing and Incoming officers meet to discuss specifics of their office
  2. Particular duties and responsibilities are discussed
  3. Materials are turned over to the new officer and reviewed together
  4. Goals of the previous year for that office are discussed along with new goals for the new term
  5. Nuances of the office are disused (the “real deal”…what is the position truly like)
  6. National and Universities policies are reviewed
  7. Budgetary issues are discussed
  8. Leadership skills and competencies are introduced as necessary/appropriate

Session 3: New Officer Planning Session – New Officers Only

  1. General Goal-Setting session is conducted to identify organizational goals for the coming year
    1. a. Answer the following questions: Where are we? Where are we going? How do we get there?
  2. Individual officers are given the opportunity to develop and share their individual goals and explain how they relate to the group’s goals
  3. Team-Building activities occur – Ice Breakers!!!!
  4. Goals are put into writing with specific dates and acceptable achievement levels
  5. Discussion occurs about lateral accountability and team decision-making

Session 4: Goal Review & Wrap up – ALL Officers

  1. New Officers present their proposed goals to outgoing officers for feedback
  2. Goals are refined and modified at the choice of the new officers
  3. Remaining information is shared

Session 5: Organizational Update – Entire Organization – Separate meeting if needed

  1. New Officers present ideas to group for feedback and review – Establish Buy-In
  2. Group Modifies goals and then accepts these for coming year – Group “buys-in” to goals and is “on-board”

Session 6: Continuous Development – New Officers

  1. Officers meet weekly to discuss and plan goal implementation
  2. At least twice a semester officers meet to review and update goals

As one can see, it takes a lot of work to ensure a smooth transition, but if done well, this can be a very rewarding process. As an outgoing officer, you will get to see the impact you and your office had on your organization while assisting the new officers and providing them with all the information and tools needed to be the best officers they can be!

A few other tips:

  • Meet with your Advisor regularly – Invite them to this transition meeting and have them present on topics that will benefit the organization as a whole.
  • Have each outgoing officer write a letter to the new officer summarizing their position. Make sure they talk about things they did well, things they struggled with, and how they went about solving those issues. Also, what are things the officer wished they could have done if they had enough time/resources.
  • Make each officer keeps a binder for their position and that they constantly update it.

Check out my Officer Transition Prezi for more tips!         

Best of luck!

Spotlight on Leadership: Joe Bogle

By Victoria Wallant, Marketing Coordinator

Name: Joe Bogle

Class Year: Junior

What are three interesting things about you that people might not expect?

  • I enjoy riding my bike
  • I like to cut hair
  • Panda Express is my favorite place to eat

What are you involved in on the Bridgewater State University Campus?

  • President of Men Integrated in Brotherhood (M.I.B.)
  • Friends and Mentors for Change Mentor (FAM)
  • L.I.N.K.S. Mentor

Have you been an involved student you’re entire life, or is this new to you?

I was involved in high school a little bit. I am a lot more involved now because this school has a lot more to offer and encourages student leadership.

How did you get involved at Bridgewater?

I got involved through MIB and LINKS my freshman year and it continued from there.

Do you have any advice for those students who have a hard time getting involved?

I would say to start with something you like and then branch off of that. If you are still having a hard time getting involved, maybe consider making a club or group on campus.

Check back next week for another Spotlight on Leadership!