A simple formula of “Inform -> Discuss -> Apply” can help your student leaders emerge and prosper. Unless you have an abundance of time, resources and funds, the format below can serve as a mini-retreat for any group. You can host it in a study lounge, common area or on campus.
With this format, each section builds off of the previous section(s). In the process, the Hall Council group also planned multiple events for the semester, start to finish.
An assignment page was handed out a week prior. The group was expected to complete each section so that they “could get the most out of each section.” Sections included: creating/updating individual schedules (so could know schedule in advance and plan ahead for committees); getting with their RA to learn about how the RAs advertise; brainstorming 3-5 activities they’d like to participate in or lead. In this instance, making the attendees ‘work for it’ also helped them appreciate the efforts of the presenters a little bit more.
I recommend having your RA Leaders (formal, informal, up-and-coming) lead most of the sessions. This gives them a great opportunity, keeps the learning interesting, and may lighten your work load a bit (although helping each prepare their section will reallocate much of that time). You’re likely to find that the presented material is more at the level of the audience and this sets the stage for the RHA or Hall Government/Council to get to know the RAs better.
The example below was used for a 3-hour event with breaks. Each session was planned for 10-12 minutes. A modified approach could make this format viable for various types of groups.
Sample Format/Presenters Topics:
Focus = INFORM…DISCUSS…APPLY
- RD Introduction
- Sr. RA Ice Breaker: Each One, Teach One (learn skills and interests of each other)
RA Your School’s Hierarchy & Events for registered groups and organizations
- RA The processes associated with your school’s registered groups/organizations
- RD Group Decision Making (at end, decide projects for semester)
RA Group Mission Statement & Organizational Goal Setting (create both)
- RA Brainstorm Position Descriptions (reinforced who would do what)
- RA Committees – setting up, using effectively, etc. (Get into project groups)
- RA Planning Events – start to finish (inform ‡ groups/committees plan out)
- SRA How To’s at Your School (newspapers, $, facility use/reservation, equipment, etc)
- RA Effective Advertising (interactive ‡ recap… create ads for projects)
- RD Working with RAs and your Advisor
- Sr. RA Reviewing and Writing your organization’s Constitution (& registering)
- RD Wrap up, Review and Closing
Submitted by Jason Hanson, Senior Resident Director, CCHM at the University of Texas at San Antonio