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Congratulations! You’ve been elected into a leadership position for a student organization on campus. Now what? Whether you’re the next President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer or another position, get ready for a semester of challenges, learning experiences and most importantly a ton of fun!
For some, this might be your first foray into managing a group of people, which can seem a bit daunting at first. However, with some time and practice, leading your student organization to attract new members and plan events and programs on campus will become easier.
As the Vice President of a campus organization that planned trips and events for students at Hofstra University for two years, I managed a group of 12 e-board members to successfully plan and produce multiple events each semester, from weekend movies to comedy shows and a large-scale music festival. During that time, I learned so much about what it takes to be a good leader, and I gained so much real-world experience that has helped me in internships and my current job.
Here are some of my tips and tricks to help you get started:
Train Your Executive Board
To start off the year strong, make sure that all new and returning e-board members have been trained, so that they understand their role and how to do it. Facilitate meetings between outgoing members and new e-board members to go over responsibilities and account passwords. You could even plan an official training day with your organization’s advisor to go over general club guidelines and processes. It’s important to get everyone in your organization on the same page as early as possible, so you can hit the ground running once the semester begins.
Communicate Frequently & On Different Channels
In order to successfully plan events and other programs, your e-board needs to be able to easily communicate with you and the other members. In addition to planning weekly meetings and emailing out meeting notes, create a GroupMe group or other group message that you can use to send updates, answer questions, etc. This will be especially important during events, allowing everyone to stay in contact with one another and in the loop instead of creating a bunch of single text threads.
Encourage Goal Setting
During your first e-board meeting of the semester, have each member come up with 1-2 realistic, measurable, achievable goals for the semester. For instance, your social media chair’s goal could be to increase your organization’s Facebook page likes by 200 people, or your fundraising chair’s goal could be to plan at least 2 small fundraisers throughout the semester. These goals will keep each member focused and engaged, and give them something tangible to work towards. To keep everyone on track, plan monthly or a half-way through the semester check-in with each member, the President and Vice President to go over progress and ideas, plus get feedback.
Plan Weekly Meetings
Weekly e-board meetings are really important to keep the group on track and delegate, especially if you’re planning events. Try to find a time that works for everyone on your e-board, and set the expectation at the beginning of the semester that attendance is mandatory. During meetings, make the most of your time together. Come with an agenda, and give each committee or member some time to give updates to the group. Make sure your secretary takes notes and sends them out to everyone following the meeting.
Don’t forget to have fun!
Student leadership roles are a great way to gain real-world experience for internships and jobs and build your skills, so it’s important to take it seriously and be professional. But that doesn’t mean there’s no time for fun! Planning a fun retreat or bonding activity for your e-board is a great way for everyone to get to know each other better. Whether you make a day out of it to go apple-picking or get ice cream after a meeting, it’ll help your e-board work better as a team.
After two years together – through countless events, meetings, laughs, disagreements, retreats and plenty of ups and downs – my e-board became like a mini family to me. My college experience wouldn’t have been the same without my student leadership role. With these tips you’re on your way to successfully running a student organization to have an equally transformative experience!
Have any other tips for leading your student organization to success? Let us know in the comments.