Hall Council elections are finished and your candidates now fall into one of two categories: the winners or the losers. The winners are often congratulated and rushed right into training for their new positions while the losers are often pushed to the side and forgotten. We must not forget that the “losers” have already stood up and said that they want to be involved on campus. It is imperative that we not lose sight of these students. Rather than forget about them and allow them to fade away because they did not win a position on the Hall Council executive board, find a way to get the “losers” involved and your hall will be much stronger because of it.
The students who are not elected to serve on the Hall Council executive board often disappear, never to be heard from again. They may see this one opportunity to get involved in the hall as the only opportunity. As you are posting election results and following up with the winners, touch base with the losers as well. Let them know that you appreciated that they ran for a position and that there are other ways in which they can get involved with Hall Council. Invite them to the first Hall Council meeting. If your floor representative positions have not yet been filled, encourage these students to run for floor positions. You can also talk with your newly elected executive board about creating positions within Hall Council for these students.
Your Hall Council doesn’t have to consist of just the positions for which you held hall elections. Executive boards typically have room to create additional positions, and should not feel constrained by the “typical” executive board positions. Possible additional positions could include:
Birthday Coordinators – The people in these positions would be responsible for recognizing the birthdays of floor members. Birthday coordinators could plan monthly birthday parties, decorate resident doors, and organize other floor members to sign birthday cards.
Executive Birthday Coordinator – This person would coordinate the floor birthday coordinators. He/She could facilitate the sharing of decoration and celebration ideas among floor coordinators and organize shopping trips to buy cake mix, decorating supplies, etc.
Bulletin Board Coordinators – The students in these floor-level positions would work with the residence life student staff members to gather information for educational bulletin boards.
Executive Bulletin Board Coordinator – Similar to the executive birthday coordinator, the person in this position would meet regularly with floor bulletin board coordinators to facilitate the sharing of ideas. He/She could also coordinate the purchase of supplies and serve as a resource for floor coordinators.
Food Service Chair – This person could meet regularly with representatives from dining services to discuss the quality of food service on campus. He/she could also organize dinner meetings with groups of residents to gather their feedback to pass along to the dining services staff.
There are no limits to the positions that can be created within a Hall Council. Use your imagination and encourage your executive board to also think creatively about how they can encourage resident participation. Don’t lose out on getting students involved just because they did not win the election. Find a place for them within your hall council.
Submitted by Carolyn Golz, Area Coordinator for Leadership Programs, University of Illinois at Chicago