Student Organization Resources
The Office of Student Activities has created resources to best help you lead your student organization. You will find helpful tools and resources below. If you have additional questions, please contact our office at email@example.com.
- Event Planning
- Organization Leaders
- Campus Resources
- Organization Conduct
- OSA Org Blog
Event Planning Resources
Marketing and PR Resources
Risk Management Resources
- Applying for Funding from SGA
- Off-Campus Bank Accounts for Student Orgs
- On-Campus Bank Accounts for Student Orgs
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Fundraising for Student Orgs
- Creating a Budget
- Student Organization Fundraising Form (Raffles can only legally be held by non-profit, 501(c), tax-exempt organizations.)
Organization Leaders Resources
- Academic Success Center
- Alcohol & Other Drugs
- Campus Recreation & Intramurals
- Career Services
- Counseling Center
- Dean of Students
- Educational Opportunity Programs
- Financial Aid
- Fraternity & Sorority Life
- Health Services
- Multicultural Affairs
- Russell Union Facility & Event Services
- Southern Adventures
- Strategic Research & Analysis
- Student Conduct
- Student Accessibility Resource Center
- Leadership and Community Engagement
- Student Media
Student organizations are collectively responsible for any actions committed by members that serve to reflect upon the organization as a whole or upon the University community.
The Office of Student Activities (OSA) will meet with student organization presidents regarding incidents which may violate the Student Organizations Handbook. If deemed necessary, OSA can refer incidents to the Office of Student Conduct for a hearing. To read more about Student Organization Conduct please visit the Student Organization Handbook.
OSA Org Resource Blog
Communication is an essential tool for everything we do in life. Ensuring we are communicating to the best of our ability, we have to continuously practice our communication skills and learn best practices for certain situations we may find ourselves.
Currently, virtual communication is and will be important as we move forward. Below are some tips for ensuring your virtual communication is strong and effective!
- Think about what info you are communicating is asynchronous or synchronous.
- Asynchronous would be items that are not time sensitive or can wait to be discussed. Ex. color of t-shirts 3 months before needed to order.
- Synchronous are items that are time sensitive and should be communicated as fast as possible. Ex. paying for org t-shirts 3 weeks before needing them.
- Assign a purpose to your communication tool
- Ex. GroupMe – casual, non business information; email – business information, etc.
- Use chats for real time planning and discussion – faster than email and allows you to break up the content/info
- Be sure to send an email follow-up on the points discussed and to ensure everyone is on the same page. If you need to clarify any points from the email, you can.
- Use video functions to see peoples’ facial reactions/body language
- Watch your tone in virtual meetings, emails, messages, comments, etc. Ensure your tone matches the situation of your communication.
- Tone – the character or attitude of your communication. Is it professional, passive, aggressive, friendly, etc.?
- Use digital calendars and task management tools
- Create an org calendar with your email, and share with your members so important dates/times are shared with members.
- Want a GS email for your organization? As a registered, active student org, your Primary Advisor can request a GS email for your organization. Click here for more info.
- Look into the following project management tools: Monday.com, Slack, Trello, Asana
- Find ways to practice your virtual communication with fellow org leaders and members; use communication games/team builders.
Engaging your members digitally will look a lot different than being able to engage them in person. This ime will allow you to be creative and find new ways to engage your student org members. Using social media, apps, and virtual event ideas will be a big help in engaging your members. Below are a few ideas that you can use to engage your members
- Social Media
- Create Member Shout-outs and highlight members of your organization. This is also a great way to highlight and thank your senior members!
- Engage members and create dance challenges or host contests for your members to earn org swag. Have members submit and have all members vote on their favorite ones.
- Virtual Events
- Do a virtual tour of a zoo, aquarium or museum with your members.
- Host a virtual org game night using an app like House Party or online Cards Against Humanity.
- Use Netflix Party to stream a movie or series with your org members.
Remember that engaging your members is all about building community and a place for your members to feel accepted and welcome. When you plan ways to engage members, think of the following things to help you come up with ideas and implement those ideas for your organization:
- Be inclusive
- Do your scheduled times fit for all your members, or just a specific group? Are some members in different time zones, or has less access to phone/internet or technology?
- Do your members feel comfortable participating in the events you have planned? Asking members for ideas and allowing members to vote on ideas can be helpful for creating meaningful engaging opportunities for your members.
- Does your event/plan allow all members to participate to the same degree? Can all members relate?
- Use committees to help engage members in your organization more. Assign all members to committees that will help plan and execute different aspects of your organization. Allowing members to help make decisions and be a part of committees can help them feel more tied to your organization and invested in your organization.
- Support members within their individual experiences. Allow members time to share what is going on in their lives and their perspective of different topics. Creating a space in your organization for members to feel listened to and supported can greatly increase your organization’s community and culture.
Although it may seem hard to continue your organization operations, there are many ways to engage your members and build your organization community remotely! Get creative and fun with how you communicate digitally with your members and the events you plan for them!
What is a community?
- A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
- A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
You may have noticed that you have a sense of community and belonging on campus with the student organizations you participate in or with fellow students in your major or program. We tend to find it easier to have a feeling of community with those around us who share similar characteristics or interests, and those who we come in contact with most frequently.
How do you then build a community with individuals who have different attitudes, interests, etc.? Maybe you want to build a stronger community within your organization or you want to develop a new relationship with others. Check out the below tips to help you build stronger connections and communities.
What is your mission? What drives you to work together towards a common goal or purpose?
- Ideally your mission has a sense of urgency, promoting those involved to take action.
- Must be meaningful for commitment and buy-in. The “why” factor.
- Aligns with each person or groups’ interests.
Things to think about:
- When new members join your community, how do you teach them the collective intention?
- Do you share your organization’s mission, vision and values with new members, peers and constituents?
- How do you hold community members accountable for upholding your collective intention?
What separates your community from the rest of the world?
- Could be a shared passion and purpose, the same qualities, or the same values. Acknowledging and celebrating shared experiences creates a deeper trust and connection among members.
- Each group may have multiple characteristics that align with the overall community.
Things to think about:
- What ways do your organization and members’ actions help share and maintain your identity?
- Celebrate your community identity and educate others about the importance of your collective identity.
Communities come together and grow over time through creating connections with each other, the leaders who organize them, and the ideas they share.
- Stay connected even when apart with regular phone calls or video conferencing.
- Create events where prospective members or groups can come and see what you’re all about.
- Encourage a safe space environment where everyone feels comfortable opening up.
Things to think about:
- What guidelines do you have in your community for creating and maintaining a safe space for all?
- How do you build connections with other communities/groups?
- What organizations or local businesses could you connect with that have similar missions or interests?
Everyone within a community has a part to play, and every role is important in the success and strength of that community. Make sure all those involved have a clear role and understanding of what they can contribute to the overall mission of your community.
- Have clear and concise communication about what each team member will accomplish.
- Ensure each group or member has a balanced workload or a set of tasks that aligns with their level of support. Below are some community roles that members may hold:
- Connectors: Determine relationships that may benefit the community and seek to establish them. The networkers within the community: your recruitment team or membership committee!
- Instigators: Determine ideas and projects the community wants to accomplish and works to develop plans to pursue them. These are the leaders of the community or your organizations’ leadership team!
- Collaborators: Find other communities with similar interests who may want to partner together. Utilize your membership or outreach team to determine which groups you would like to collaborate with.
- Creators: Use their talents to create items needed for projects. Utilize each of your members’ unique talents.
- Sharers: The news outlet of the community, these individuals share new developments or ideas with everyone. The sharers could be your leaders of membership or your organization secretary, tasked with distributing information to the overall organization. This could also be your organization marketing team!
Things to think about:
- How do you ensure all members of your community are engaged and active?
- What are the specific roles your community has? How do you play your part in your community?
- What happens when one or more roles of your community does not pull its weight? How do you ensure that doesn’t happen?
Keep up the Momentum
Stay engaged! Just do something – any small actions towards furthering your goals or building relationships will keep the momentum going. At the same time, know that some communities are bound to have ‘expiration dates’ or be cyclical in nature if they revolve around an annual event or once the main goal is accomplished.
Leading a team can be difficult in person, and even more so for a newly virtual team. During this time, you may need to adjust your leadership style to help your team work more efficiently. Below are some tips to help you lead your team and grow closer together!
- Talk it out!
- It can be easy to rely on text communication through text messaging, emails, and social media. However, text communication can be easy to misinterpret. Read your message aloud to make sure the tone of your message is clear.
- Check in on your team over the phone or video chat to improve clear communication.
- Check in often.
- Think about how much you appreciate when you feel included and heard.
- Frequently ask your team, how are you doing? Is there anything you need assistance with?
- Encourage your team to connect with each other and celebrate virtually!
- Whether it’s a virtual coffee break or a coworkers’ birthday, create spaces for your team to connect and build relationships.
- Taking small breaks will overall help improve productivity!
- Celebrate small victories to build team spirit! Encourage your team to join in a video chat with their favorite drink and snack and *cheers* to another goal accomplished.
- Allow your team to be involved in developing their own deadlines and goals.
- Share calendars and action plans with the entire team so everyone is aware of each other’s goals and progress.
- Encourage your team to find work-life balance.
- It can be difficult to separate work and personal life when your team may be working in the same space that they live.
- Encourage your team to have a designated work space and prioritize their mental health.
- Be a flexible leader. Be understanding when situations arise out of their control.
- Use technology to your advantage.
- Use platforms that are easily accessible.
- Provide resources to team members to help them succeed.
Conflict can be uncomfortable. However, it’s a part of any relationship. No matter what conflict comes your way, use these tips to resolve them with ease!
Accept that conflict happens.
- Even the strongest of relationships will occasionally have conflict.
- Conflict can occur and foster growth of your relationship as you learn more about each other.
Take action sooner rather than later.
- Don’t let conflict fester and build.
- Also, don’t go to someone else to have them assist you in resolving the conflict. This typically will only make the conflict worse as more people become involved.
Come into the conversation wanting to listen and resolve the issue.
- Use active listening. Don’t listen in order to respond, instead listen to understand.
- Stay calm and don’t get defensive.
- Use the O.I.I.R. Method to guide the conversation.
- Observation: Using “I” statements, share how each person feels about the conflict and situation.
- Impact: Try to remain neutral while you share and listen to the other person’s perceptions. Be aware of your body language and don’t place blame when you share how you feel.
- Interpretation: Take in the observation and impact phases. Interpret how the other person is feeling and the situation overall.
- Request: Request your proposed solution to the conflict in a respectful way.
Separate the person from the problem.
- Recognizing your negative feelings are due to a specific situation or behavior, not the person as a whole.
- Reflect on outside considerations which may have impacted the conflict and your feelings.
Focus on the future.
- When we’re upset, it can be easy to bring up every past conflict with the person.
- Think about the ways you can resolve the conflict and improve together to ensure you don’t have a repetitive occurrence.
Summer time is a great opportunity to relax and recharge. As a student organization officer, summer break can be the perfect time to get a head start on planning for the upcoming semester and year. Planning can ensure your organization is on the right path to having a successful semester and year, as well as take some of the planning and behind the scenes work off your plate when school starts back. Now more than ever, planning will help ensure that your organization is prepared for the fall semester when we return to campus.
Below are helpful tips and tricks to ensure your planning propels your organization forward through the upcoming year!
Budget: finalizing your budget and ensuring your funds will cover your organization’s plans is important. A solidified budget will help you stay on track and use your funds where they most count for your organization. If you find that you may need more funds, you can plan for fundraisers or apply for SGA funds once the semester starts! For helpful financial resources for your organization, click on the “Financial” tab at the top of this page!
Events: officers or committee chairs in charge of planning events can get a lot of the pre-planning work for their events completed over the summer. The below items can easily be planned during the summer to make events run smoother. For more event planning resources, click on the “Event Planning” tab at the top of this page!
- Date, time, location of event, campus.
- Event budget
- Event supply list
- Marketing ideas, flyers, plan, etc.
- Member duties for event
- Plan for events to be virtual or include social distancing measures
- As you look towards the fall semester, be sure to plan for virtual events and ways to encourage social distancing measures.
- Think of events/meetings that can be held virtually – exec board meetings and member meetings may need to continue to be virtual in the fall semester. What will those meetings look like?
- How will officers encourage and maintain social distancing at organization functions?
- Create plans for how traffic should flow at your events
- Make maps of how far away individuals should stand or sit from one another at meetings/events.
- Do you need signage at your event for participants to be reminded of social distancing measures?
Items to Order: are there any supplies your organization needs for the year, or swag for members? Getting these ordered before the summer ends helps ensure you have swag before marketing events and alleviates rushing to order materials once the semester starts!
Recruitment Plan: creating and finalizing a plan for how your organization will recruit members over the summer helps you jump right into recruiting members when the semester starts. Ensure your recruitment measures follow social distancing guidelines and look for alternative ways to recruit, such as IG Live recruitment sessions or using Flipgrid to introduce your org!
*Your planning may vary depending on the needs of your organization. Work with your other officers and you Advisor to ensure you all are planning accordingly over the weeks leading up to the fall semester.
Last updated: 7/31/2020