As many college campuses are seeing/have seen the departure of students for the summer, the activity of student organizations also slows or comes to a complete stop. But why? This is a prime opportunity, if not already started, to get a jump on what typically gets put on the back burner during late part of the spring / most of summer: the planning and transition process for the upcoming year. A successful organization is one that is able to review the past year, transition officers easily, create/revisit their vision statement, and effectively plan for the future. Consider the following as tips to move your organization forward and ease the transition process for the 2012-13 school year.
Review and Assess
Organizations cannot move forward productively without looking back on what has been done – both positively and negatively. It is important to review the pros and cons of an activity, program, etc. to determine what worked, what didn’t, what could be done better, and so on. Assessments like this should be done closer to when the activity took place, as it will be still fresh on the minds of organization members.
We can’t remain student organization presidents, treasurers, historians, secretaries, or any other leadership position forever. This is why it is important to prep the future leaders of your organization for their future roles. Here are a few ways to help make the process easier for the new officers as well as the organization:
- Update your organization roster and officer information with your student involvement/activities office. This is typically required on most campuses at the end of the spring semester, within 30 days of the beginning of the fall semester, and/or any time there is an officer change. Here at UNCP, student organizations should direct questions about the renewal process to the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership.
- Provide any and all necessary documents pertaining to the particular position you (or another student) are leaving. An easy way to do this is to put whatever you can on an organization-owned USB Flash Drive or even use a shared Dropbox account and pass it on to the incoming officer. You could also go the tried-and-true method of creating a physical binder with any and all files pertaining to that office. Either way, just make sure the info is organized and easy to use.
- Turn over any administrator rights you have over a group Facebook, OrgSync, Twitter, or any other web-based account. It can be difficult to give up control of something like this, but keep in mind – it’s someone elses turn to run the show. Let them!
Setting/Revising a Vision Statement
When an organization is created, re-established, or just needs a jump start, the leadership will (typically) look to establish a vision. A vision statement is the primary inspiration for the mid-range and long-term planning of an organization. An example would be the vision statement of LeaderShape, which drives their curriculum and speaks to what the organization wishes to see, which is:
- “A just, caring, and thriving world where all lead with integrityTM and a healthy disregard for the impossible.”
Heed these words – there is no need to re-create the wheel here. When creating/revising your vision, remember WHY the organization was created in the first place. Your long-term, mid-range, and short-term goals will (and should) come as a result of this statement.
As previously stated, organizations cannot move forward productively without looking back on what has been done. However, the organization also needs to look forward and effectively plan out its future. This means setting dates for meetings as well as small and large-scale events well in advance, developing and implementing a marketing plan (if applicable), and staying ahead all university requirements to remain in good standing as an organization.
These are just a few things to think about as your organization works on transitioning to a new officer core or just to next year in general. Does your organization go above and beyond these tips in your transition process? What other ideas would you put out there to help other student organizations, especially the newer ones? Transitioning is not about working harder, but working smarter, and prepping your organization for future success.
Need help transitioning to next year or just want to get a jump start on the fall semester? Stop by and visit with us in the University Center, Suite 225, for some tips on how make the process a little easier, how to re-visit your organization’s vision, and how to be more effective in your planning process.