Tuesday, December 3, 2013

SLLO In Action: Wasting Time

Wasting time – I do not enjoy wasting time at all!  Waiting time in lines, waiting time at stop lights, being in meetings that have no purpose…okay you get the idea.  When I look at how I spend my time, I try to find activities that have meaning or purpose for me.  I try to find activities that do not feel as if they waste my time.  Oh sure, I have those occasional tasks that do not seem as if they have any purpose and I do them, but I try to not have my day filled with those type of tasks.  I use this idea when looking at organizations to join as well – what organizations provide meaning to me or fit with values I have?

Students getting involved may be deciding which organization to join based what provides meaning to them or fits with their values.  For some, they value feeling connected on campus and want to meet people.  Some may look for opportunities to give or help others.  Others join an organization to grow and gain new skills that will help them when they graduate. 

Texas A&M has over 900 recognized student organization plus dozens more that are connected with departments.  Do you make it easy for students to match what an organization offers with their own personal values?  Do students know what they might gain through your organization before they join?  Students selecting specific organizations based on what it can offer will look for this information.  Yet it is easy to overlook providing this during recruitment.  Here are some suggestions to help students in making decisions of what organization to join:

  •          Identify learning outcomes for your organization.  If you have differences by positions, breakdown outcomes that way to let students know what they might gain if they stay involved over time.
  •          Share learning outcomes with students and make it part of the recruitment process.
  •          Really talk with interested students and be honest with them about your organization and what you do.
  •          Be less competitive with other organizations – getting the most number of incoming members is not beneficial if it is a bad fit and they don’t participate or drop out.
  •          Don’t assume students know about your information or at least know accurate information.
  •          Be intentional with your recruitment to identify students who are a good fit for the organization and the organization is a good fit for them.
  •          If you have an interview process, ask what students are looking for in an organization.  Decide in advance what you will do if there seems to be a disconnect between what a student looking for and the purpose of your organization.

Helping students identify the right organization for them is a benefit for that individual student and for that organization.  It also helps students not “waste time” trying various organizations that really are not for them.

- Kelly Cox

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