Effective Student Organization/Leadership and Communication
This section includes solutions to problems of leadership and communication.
Activities that build leadership skills among members[edit | edit source]
An organization is nothing without its leaders. In order for the student organization to continue operation, new members must come in and take over the roles of the outgoing and graduating students. There are several traits that are seen as important to being able to lead effectively, and it is very true that there are “natural” leaders, or those who possess those traits naturally, as part of their personality, however this is not true for most people. Therefore, in order for the club to ensure survival, it is often necessary for the group to actively work at preparing new leaders for the tasks involved in taking over the organization. One solution in achieving this are events specifically designed to help bring these traits out in those who otherwise wouldn't have displayed them in order to prepare them for their future leadership roles. For example, in the Scottish Country Dance Club, during an interview with Rebecca, she said that before she was even considered a leader, she did things with new members before class to help them learn the steps. In turn, the new members grew to respect her and listen to her. As the groups respect for her grew, she naturally became a leader of the SCDC. As members and leaders come and go from these clubs, it is important that members continue to pass down their skills and attitudes to the new members. This way, the clubs will continue to grow in members, experience and knowledge.
There are many activities that groups can do to develop and prepare leaders. By organizing games and challenges where a strong leader is a necessity, people can develop their skills as leaders and become more comfortable being in charge of a group. An example of one such game is done with a large group where each person is given a number in succession. The group is then blindfolded and must organize themselves in a line by their numbers. In this activity, because one's sense of sight is removed, someone must become a leader and organize and work with the others. Simple activities such as this are very beneficial in getting people comfortable with being in charge and build camaraderie within a group. There are also texts that can help hone a leader's skills. These books discuss how leaders should interact with the people they are in charge of, how to present themselves, and how to be an effective leader. Being an effective leader is not easy, and it is more than just telling others what to do. A leader must work with others and lead by example.
Challenges of Leadership/Communication[edit | edit source]
Effective leadership is the backbone to any group or organization. The leader acts as a facilitator for the group and without it the group has little chance for success. A groups communication is only as good as its leader's. There have been many groups that couldn't make it past the first six months because the leaders were not equipped to guide them through the trials that a young club encounters. Challenges can occur when there is no definitive rules or chain of command to follow. There can be a fall out if two or more individuals cannot work together for the betterment of the club. The leadership must put aside their egos in order to fully actualize what they hope their club to be. They must follow the words of Gandhi and "be the change they want to see".
Effective communication is a necessary and difficult aspect between any clubs members and their operations within the club. With many people doing different jobs and being in charge of many different activities it is in many cases difficult to effectively and timely communicate with all members in the club because of various obligations and duties that each member is in charge of. However despite how difficult effective communication can sometimes be, it is a vital and necessary part of each successful club. Having a leader of the club who can organize activities and obligations can greatly assist in avoiding the confusion between club members and contribute to good communication in a given club.
Ways to communicate effectively[edit | edit source]
Communication is one of the most important aspects in the effective management of a club. Without communication, even poor communication, club members wouldn't know when to come to meetings or what events were being organized. There are many different ways people can communicate. Contact through student email ensures a large number of people are exposed to important information, especially as most students are required to check email frequently. Social networking sites also provide clubs free and easy ways to inform people, without having to constantly update an email list. The prevalence of cell phones provides a variety of options for communication as well. Clubs can call members, send out group text messages, send and receive email or access social networking sites via the internet depending on the phone. Posting fliers or having members pass them out in public places can be effective as well. Any one of these options can have some degree of success, however, for the greatest amount of exposure, clubs should use as many of these options as time and resources will allow.
In addition to understanding the different mediums available for communication, it is essential that club leaders (and/or members) are able to communicate effectively in terms of content. Not only must clubs reach members or potential members via posters, emails, Facebook, etc., but they must present information in a way that positively impacts the club. This may seem obvious, but clubs who are having trouble in recruitment or member involvement may need to re-assess the content of their communications - a club who sends out a weekly email that is boring, vague, too informal/formal for the clubs purposes, etc. may not see the results they would expect from providing a regular means of communication with its members. Communication within the club-meeting setting is equally, if not more, important. It is important for club leaders to use skills in communication to create dialogue with members and to tailor the club to members' wants and needs. Some clubs focus on subjects which require special attention to the way information is presented and shared among members.
Strong leadership positions are crucial to the success of an organization. Leaders not only host events and manage the logistics of a club, they help bring in members and get people excited about a club. However, the most important thing they do is communicate to group members or people interested in the club in safe and contusive ways. Sexploration, a controversial club that is focused entirely on issues that many believe to be taboo, the leaders work very hard to make sure that they are communicating in a way that makes participants feel safe and free to open and have real talks about extremely personal issues. The leaders: Grace and Ashley want to make sure that no one feels it is not okay to be open about topics such as sex, and that this club is a safe environment to have such talks. Sexploration is not the kind of club you want people attending if they do not plan to participate or take the discussions seriously so it is important to make sure that people attending meetings are not just there for mess around. Like the YES!+ club, Sexploration communicates to previous participants via Facebook, which has been effective at getting people to come to meetings.
Throughout our service learning project it is apparent that organization is a key component within clubs here at Western that can lead to effective leadership and communication. Specifically creating individual positions with each focused on a separate job or goal within the club allows for a time effective highly productive club. For example in my analysis the A.S. club, LEAD, I state “LEAD’s overall organization and promptness are due to all of the group member’s dedication and passion for the environment and to their club’s success as well as clear and concise expectations of one another.” Through dedication to specific areas of expertise and interests, effective communication towards the community and within the club can occur. A student from the Harry Potter club states, “Although the president can get meeting events organized in the beginning, everyone has a hand in leading the club.” It is evident that effective communication comes from organization that focuses on assigning club members to their specific interest areas which ensures prompt deadlines and passionate communication. Jordan Yentzer from the A’capella club states, “Organization allows a functional routine for the group to follow, which hence allows for better productivity.” By allowing club members to focus on their specific interest area, clubs are ensuring better more detailed communication between club members and the community due to club members dedication to their job or interest area.
With the constant development of technology and the overwhelming increase of its use for communication, its no wonder it has become an effective way of communicating information among group members, especially in younger generations. The leaders of the Photography club shared that they've found Facebook to be the most effective way of communicating with each other because it is so commonly used by people (especially college students), so it is checked and updated very regularly. The Photo club also uses their Flickr website to share their work with each other. The Men's Ultimate Team, which is a club sport, uses Google Groups to facilitate contact between members of the club. The variety of functions within Google Groups allows members to regularly check the specific group for new posts as well as receive an email to any desired email account whenever there is a new post to the group. These multiple ways of receiving important information allowed the Men's Ultimate team to stay in constant contact outside of meetings and practices. Students researching the Students for Renewable Energy club noted that they felt SRE "must work on updating their website to reflect their meeting changes" and that by keeping it updated it "might help in their quest for new members." Technology has become key to the way the world communicates today, and through its use, groups could greatly improve their organization, as well as recruitment, and involvement of existing group members. By being updated with the use of technology, groups can be more efficient and on top of things, enabling themselves to move forward as they learn and grow.
While technology can be a very helpful way to communicate on a broader spectrum much more efficiently, it can also cause problems. Because there are so many different ways to network, (some being, Facebook, Myspace, text messaging, or regular email) things can become confusing and information can get lost in the see of technology. As mentioned by the Croquet club, they send out information via Facebook and text messaging which could pose a problem if people do not check either of these things regularly. As for the YES! club, this club is in fact not even a club any more and has since merged in with the Meditation club. The problem with this is that through Facebook and other modes of social networking, not everyone got the memo and some people still believed there to be a YES! club in existence.
While many groups have come to rely heavily on technology as a form of communication-via e-mails, Facebook and Twitter announcements- it is important to note that these forms of communication can also be ineffective. In some cases, relying on technology alone, as opposed to other means such as word of mouth and speaking to group members in person, can lead to a breakdown of communication. Even though this new found technology can lead to the cause of misinforming of communication breakdowns, it is still much better than when things just got by via word of mouth or making home phone calls. Having a website with any at all information about a club is still better than no website at all, even if it is a little out of date. If someone isn't reliable to look at their cell phone once a day to see a text message, there is no way they would effectively communicate better via word of mouth. As ineffective as these means of communication seem to be, they are still the best possible option.
Many clubs may be too large or too spread out to effectively be able to regularly hold meetings in order to communicate. For clubs that have members that do not often see each other and operate individually or apart from the rest of the group meetings will not be efficient as well. In the busy world of today everyone has their own schedules to keep up with so the larger the number of people in a club the harder it is to keep it together. For example the WWU Bodybuilding club is so large that most members do not even know each other. In this case it is very important that the leadership communicate effectively through means such as email, a website, or a Facebook group.
Although it is crucial for groups to be able to communicate about events and gatherings it is also important to know how communicate when everyone has come together. An effective organizational strategy displayed within the Dead Parrots Society is their high level of communication with one another. They communicate beyond what is shared in a normal conversation. They play many improv games to start their meetings including eye contact, body language, and reading each other’s implication of movement and verbal comments for their humorous response. The fact that this group shares a common passion and is meant to be funny there is a relaxed vibe with the group however they can still comfortably criticize their peers’ craft. They communicate on many different levels with each other, creating a comfortable and welcoming community within their environment. This kind of communication can be related to Jilian Murdock’s report of the Scottish Country Dance Club. She speaks of how the club accepts all students, regardless of their dance experience and adjusts teaching/communication styles to challenge experienced dancers and avoid overwhelming the new dancers. Once you have created a welcoming environment and adjust your teaching for different group levels and forms of communication result in a solid and comfortable foundation for a group to succeed.
Facebook has changed the world of communication. As we can see from the examples, it can help any club. Unlike email, Facebook has the ability to create groups. When a change is made in the group section by a leader of the club, then every member of the group is notified. Leaders of any club should take advantage of Facebook groups and create a group for their student club, if they haven't done so already.
As you can see there are varied types of ways to communicate effectively. Wither it be through Facebook, in person, over the phone or even in e-mails. Bodybuilding club, Dead Parrots Society and LEAD are only several examples of clubs that use effective communication in many different ways. Depending on what kind of club it is, the communication may be differently. For example, for a smaller club communication may happen through phone conversations, however with a larger group it is much more likely that communication may happen through Facebook or through emails. The best way to use communication throughout the groups is to use many different types in order to be most effective in order to communicate to the biggest amount of people in order to spread the necessary information.
Working together[edit | edit source]
In one person's life, they will encounter many different people from many different backgrounds and they will in one way or another, talk to them, encounter them, or have to work with them. Therefore, it is very important for clubs, who represent and incorporate people from various situations to represent them properly. The following are ways for student organizations to better accomplish this task.
As the research continued with the Hui O’ Hawaii club, it was brought to the interest group’s attention that the previous year had been under the authority of someone else who had graduated that last spring. This meant new leadership at the beginning of this academic year with little guidance. During the interview one member stated that because of this situation things have been vastly different than in the years past. The strategy of leadership this year has involved the cooperation and involvement of all members, where the group appears to be less reliant of one person and more dependent on the group itself. The current welfare of Hui O’ Hawaii and its recent changes with leadership has been affected in a positive way—bringing the group closer together, creating a strong bond of friendship, and establishing a warm, affectionate atmosphere.
While attending a meeting of the Hui O' Hawaii club, the interest group noticed that when one member brought up a matter to be discussed. She asked the rest of members to be respectful and share their ideas with other members. With her the other members shared their opinions and voted on the matter. Later the interest group learned that the group does not have an actual leader of the club because everyone is effectively participating in the club related matter. No one in the club seemed to feel left out, but work together as a group.
Although the Student- Homeless Outreach Team (SHOT) has and is currently facing setbacks, they remain strong and open minded about their club. Their biggest asset is their leadership ability. They may only have four members, but they spread out the work and come to meetings with a general plan for discussion. Leadership in SHOT is pretty equally divided amongst the members. Each person contributes in some way during the week and come back the following week to report their success. Their leadership abilities lead to a more cooperative club, which has helped them increase their turn-out rates for their “Be Our Guest” event.
The Harry Potter club has found that the most effective way to communicate is to have each member of group have some say in what direction the Harry Potter choices to take. In this system, each member has some influence over what the club does or does not do. This allows everyone to communicate what they want clearly and efficiently, without one person overruling everything. They have found this to be extremely effective in making sure everyone feels free to not only participate, but also knowing that their opinion is valued. The technique is different than that of the SHOT club. The SHOT club only has four members and each of them has a ¼ of the power in the club. This club is also similar to the Harry Potter club because each member (although there is a different amount) is allowed and even encouraged to communicate. The Harry Potter does have a president to help keep order and work out the logistics, but everyone is still encouraged to speak their mind.
The Rugby Club is very effective when it comes to communicating and working together as a team. The team captains name is Jason who happens to be a senior and four year Rugby player here at Western. Leadership is mainly on his shoulders as well as the few other seniors on the team, like Rowan. Senior leadership is key in keeping this club working together and organizing functions to help the team become more profitable and more noticed by the public. The 8 students of Optional Clothing group is a very new club but already demonstrates similar leadership qualities. A member of the group quoted that their main strength was leadership. Leaders in that group, as well as the regby club, are held responsible for gathering the group and bringing everyone together at events.
The members of the Croquet Club are always working together. Once a member of the club, that person will go and spread the word to all of their friends to bring in more people to play. Ben Spencer, the leader, relies heavily on Facebook, but they still do a great job of telling people that aren't members of the Facebook page when tournaments and meetings are going to be. The members know how important word of mouth is and they don't want any of their players left out of the loop or clueless about an event, so they are always talking to one another. Because the people in the Croquet Club are all such good friends, they aren't afraid to always be chatting between each other. That may be the problem with one of the bigger clubs, lack of communication and leaving people out of important messages and updates.
The Student Coalition for Immigration Rights is a new club that started last quarter with the help of their leader and president Maria. A definite asset that SCIR possesses is that it is a very specific group with a common goal. Their focus is on undocumented youth and students furthering their education. This gives the group an advantage in that students joining have specified passions and interests hopefully giving more commitment and work to this group. Another asset is that they have is an excellent president, Maria. Although she is only a freshmen, she has not only been able to form this group but also to put it to action with the workshops they have been forming and the one they have already offered. From the meeting I attended, she showed that she is extremely organized and prepared to produce the optimal influence on this world. The issues that Maria has expressed involve delegation. A strong leader is very important in a group but the president can't be the only one taking action. It is important to make sure members are contributing actual time and work towards making a difference. In the coop club that I am a member of, we have had lots of experience with this issue. In our case we decided to have a weekly note-taker at each meeting writing down who said they will do what and then posting those notes on our group website. It is very important to have a strong leader but in order to make change the leader needs help from committed individuals and in order for this to happen members need to be held accountable for their responsibilities.
The Korean Club works together very well. Unlike groups with many members this club relies on working together with the few members it has. Members and leaders of the group alike work together to set up get togethers, group meetings, and the themes discussed. There is not much to be said about the leadership since there is no clear distinction between group leaders and members or any concrete establishment of a hierarchy. Every year the group gets a fresh start as new leaders are assigned the roles of president and vice president. This is due to the fact that most members are exchange students and leave Western after a year. This way new ideas are always able to be produced. The only set back is that themes may repeat over the years as information of pervious meetings is lost.
The Western Strong Man club has had some trouble with working together in leadership. Stephanie Singer, a founding member, is the group's only active leader. She organizes and runs the entire club on her own. Because of this one of the biggest worries of the club is continuing after she graduates from WWU. Her leadership position and hard work, however, sometimes goes unnoticed because she usually works off the grid from making countless phone calls, writing emails and organizing events. The members of the club enjoy the benefits of her hard work but sometimes don't fully realize the intense time and effort that goes into maintaining such a club.
Working together allows groups to maintain strength through the weakest times and makes progress go more smoothly. Communication is key in compromise as well as leadership. A common, effective way these groups have worked together is letting everyone have some say in what is being done and showing respect for one another. Working together isn't always the best idea because sometimes you need a leader that can take control of the group and have everyone on the same page, because if everyone is just saying their ideas then how are you going to get the best ones down.
Maintaining Member Diversity[edit | edit source]
A possible barrier in recruiting more diverse members may be an issue of where and how clubs are promoting. Widening where your club promotes its events may help get more diverse members. If your club operates mainly on a school campus, talking to the administrators in charge of on-campus promotions would be an excellent first step in expanding your options for where you can advertise your club. Such administrators are not only knowledgeable of the many locations that are available for advertising on campus, but they will also be able to inform you of any specific requirements or restrictions involved in the location or content of promotional materials. Many clubs may seem by their title to be geared towards one sex only. If this is the case, it is very important to advertise the club to other sexes. Even a simple strategy such as adding footnote on promotional materials that advertises that your club is open to all genders can act as an effective first step to expanding the diversity of your club.
The most important part of any club is its members. Devin Spencer is the leader of the Croquet Club and he has made a point to allow everyone that is interested to have the opportunity to join the club. Members sign up via Facebook or simply go to the tournaments with friends that are already part of the group. It is an extremely friendly and relaxed environment. Devin explained that the club is full many different types of people from different backgrounds. He has made a lot of really good friends through his organization because there is such a wide range of different personalities. The Hui O Hawaii Club also has a good recruitment plan as well. They have a huge event at the beginning of every year aimed towards incoming freshman. Both clubs welcome anyone that is interested to join.
Diversity is a big key to having successful clubs. Swing Kids does a great job of that, there is a wide variety of ethnicities within the club. Members are excited to join the club because they know that no matter their race or beliefs they will be welcomed into the group. For example, the girl that we interviewed that participates in Swing Kids has bonded immensely with her roommate through this club. She is white while her roommate is from the Philippines so it has brought them together by a common interest when they are from two different societies. When going to this club, everyone was very enthusiastic, making it easy to feel comfortable no matter the color of your skin. I think that is what keeps this club so diverse is the attitude and openness of the leaders.
Diversity is one of the most important components within on campus clubs. It help the groups to be well rounded and well represented. For example, in the group Swing Kids, there are various culturally diverse groups represented. The girl we interviewed (Caileen) is white while her roommate is Asian. They have been able to use this common interest of theirs, to help each other bond. It is also very similar to the Tango dance club on campus. They are also very culturally diverse. And this is especially great to see considering that Tango originated from the Latino culture.
Anytime you are participating in a group or team setting you can encounter many different problems. In order to solve these problems and develop a solution that is the best for the greater good, everyone must participate in the problem solving. Diversity through out clubs is extremely important. With a diverse group you can have many people thinking in many different ways and you can develop many different solutions to choose from or incorporate. The cycling club says it is sometimes difficult to recruit diverse members however, they realize the importance.
Leadership positions[edit | edit source]
Possibly the most important aspect of any club or organization are the leaders. Obviously the members play a crucial role in the formation of the club but with no one in a leadership position, nothing would get done. We have learned through past experiences that the most effective way to form a structured group of any kind, a leader is a necessity. There can be one leader or multiple, as long as there is a designated person to take the majority of the responsibility, the club or social group should succeed. It becomes much clearer when doing research on these clubs at Western that the ones with a dedicated and focused leader have the best results.
Throughout a group there is always varying ways of how the group is lead or who is in charge. You can either have a group of people in charge or have one specific leader. Each group has to make this decision in order to succeed. With the groups at Western, I studied how the Dead Parrots society went about running their club. It seems to me that with their club and even other clubs people studied it was usually beneficial to have a specific leader because it leaves fewer people with too much power. In the Dead Parrots society Kris was the leader and he was there to help assist in ways to improve each individuals skills. He didn't take advantage and everyone in a way looked up to him for acceptance. With Creators of Visual Arts and Literature there was definitely a leader and because the club focused on individuals art work it wasn't completely necessary to have a leader. In the end the members felt a sense of comfort when they have a leader because it kept them together and focused each day. Whether each club has lots of leaders, no leaders, or one leader its definitely necessary to experience one or the other. The impact of a leader can make huge differences within each club.
The Dead Parrots also had multiple leadership positions available. As was mentioned in the last paragraph, Kris Erickson was the "leader" of the Dead Parrots. Officially he is called the Artistic Director and everything goes through him. However, they have other jobs as well. The Dead Parrots are very good at internal organization. They have one person to handle the funds, another to handle publicity and yet another to handle anything online. Each position is respected as they are voted on at the end of the year at a barbeque. The rehearsals are required, so every member attends and each leader is respected also for pulling their weight in the group. Unlike the South Asian Students Association who seemed to have difficulty getting the leaders to attend the meetings, each leader attends each rehearsal.
Like sexploration, and the stand, women in the woods, also has two great leaders which both host and plan events that take place within the club. Being the leaders of this club comes responsibility, that responsibility is to find future leaders like the sexploration club if this is not able to happen, then the lack of involvement will also decide the future of women in the woods. The difference between women in the woods, sexploration, and the stand is that women in the woods is in need to look for more than one or two leaders, the more leaders that they have the better. the club needs strong women leaders that people look up to, and will be willing to follow.
Like the other clubs mentioned, the Harry Potter Club has a couple of defined leaders, the President of this school year and the President of next school year. Both of these people lead the club very well and make all the meetings run smoothly. In order for this club to gain campus attention, the leaders have the role of putting up posters and announcing the existence of the club at the Information Fair at the beginning of each fall quarter. Like the members of the Dead Parrots Society, that was mentioned, the members of Harry Potter Club have a sense of organization and comfort because there is a leader or leaders present. This way, the m meetings are almost guaranteed to start on time and to accomplish what needs to be accomplished during that certain meeting.
What I found to be most interesting about the leadership positions among the CCF club (Campus Christian Fellowship) was the link between student leadership and full time non student leadership. In the CCF group, there are people in leadership with a link to the AS, like the president whom I interviewed and so forth. Also there are full time members of the Bellingham community who raise their own funds to work with CCF full time on staff. Furthermore, WWU students, Skagit students, and WCC students weekly contribute money to CCF. The Hillel Jewish group and found a slightly similar situation with their leadership. Although most of the leadership is from within the student body, they report to the community director about the groups issues and status. The way these leadership roles balance together leads to a really strong organization in the group. This also leads to a very strong retention of useful strategies over time.
The Tango Club, which teaches the Argentine Tango, faces similar problems as many of the above groups in finding leaders to follow in the footsteps of current leaders. Following the trend, the Tango Club has two members who are very talented, passionate, and involved with the club's material (in this case the Argentine Tango). There is a huge gap between their skill level and the other members who might be able to take over after the current leaders have graduated. From this trend it becomes obvious that a better system of leadership is needed to keep a group running in the long run. Depending heavily on just a few individuals for leadership and meanwhile not having a system for finding new leadership will lead to problems and if not effective at all. So what is an effective way to ensure the continued quality leadership of a student organization?
A good example is the Cycling Club. They have a system where they will elect a group of active officers at the end of each season. Thanks to this system the Cycling Club does not have to face the issue of unknown leadership—hence possibly even the death of a club. By trying to even out the responsibility of the leadership it becomes more reliable. However, it is not to say that this tactic would work for every club. Some clubs, such as the Tango Club, require a special amount of expertise to teach. The two current heads of that club both studied abroad in Argentina. So it is not a quick fix for them to install a system of electing new leadership because it is not guaranteed, or even likely, that other members will be at the same skill level as them and capable of teaching the class.
It seems that most of the aforementioned groups thrive in maintaining multiple leaders, which makes sense, as organizations are wholly meant to be collaborative efforts. In order for an organization (student or otherwise) to function properly and flourish, it is absolutely necessary that said group has [an] appointed administrator(s). Otherwise, the members, regardless of how intent they may be in the given activity/common interest, are liable to lose that proverbial glue which allows them to band together and perpetuate their organization. My group generally found that WSSF has become irrelevant over the past couple of years due to lack of leadership skills that the current moderator possesses. The role of leadership has been scrutinized and universally perceived as requisite, however some would argue that the leadership role is increasingly beneficial if it is divided amongst a few particularly responsible individuals, so as to avoid unnecessary burdensome responsibility. Nina Rabins points out that the given number of members in a group should directly affect how many appointed leaders there are: “After reading through my group members' responses, I found that a common deficiency was that nearly all of the administrative/organizational work is done by only one member, Stephanie, and the majority of the knowledge about bodybuilding is held by Rory. By having so much of the responsibilities for this group concentrated in these two members, it becomes difficult for all 70+ members to become actively involved in the organization.” This, I suppose, makes sense to an extent. However, the division of work should not be all too bothersome if those responsible for coordination are truly passionate about the nature of their organization.
A'capella club is facing to lose 2 members in the end of spring quarter. Matt Bell is the leader of the club also worry and concern about get new members. This club was formed by Matt since fall quarter, due to the lack to motivations from other group members it's gradually become a big issue after 3 quarters has passed by. They sure need to be concerned about the leadership roles, and the lack of constant involved members the future of A'capella club once when Matt Bell graduate is uncertain.
Sometimes, the leadership position within a club may not be obvious, but is still vital to the structure and integrity of a club. Take KUGS radio station at WWU for example. There are many different DJ positions, but not many leadership roles. What many DJ's may not realize is that each and every one plays the part of a leader, as they influence the music scene, and inspire new recruitment's to the station. These are the roles of a leader in an organization such as a radio station that keep the station a busy and live place. University radio stations are constantly struggling to replenish the graduating, more experienced DJ's, and it is up to them to find and train DJ's adequate enough to replace them. This is yet another example of upholding the leadership role. These examples may not be apparent, or written down on a contract, but they are important and necessary for the continuation of a radio station. Despite this different leadership role, there are some more traditional roles within the radio station. There are seven positions at the radio station that students can fill. They are the Program Director (decides on programming and other similar decisions), Operations Coordinator (maintains logs on the activities going on at the radio station as well as making and receiving Public Service Announcements), News and Public Affairs Director (directs the news and public affairs portions of the programming at the station), Music Director, Specialty Music Director, Maintenance Engineer (helps maintain the technology at the radio station including the music CDs), and Marketing and Development Director (directs the marketing and promotions part of the radio station). The Music Directors make sure that music comes into the station whether it is more the Music for the Masses show or for the specialty music shows during the day. A person must apply for these positions and be a DJ at the radio station.
While the low numbers and sometimes the planning is an issue, Jewish Hillel is said to have key core member which have kept the club alive for such a long time. Their strength has been the passing down of club positions to people who will stay active and promote events and new membership. These dedicated few are what keep up with the paper work each year to keep Hillel a club on Western's campus. They are also in charge of moderating the Facebook group and finding funds for the various events held each quarter.
In a lot of clubs like the biology club having more than one leader is smart. When it comes to running meetings, if the president cannot make it, its important to have a designated person to take charge. If Taylor the president of the biology club cannot make it, Anne takes the role of running the meeting as smooth as possible. A problem comes when neither of them can make it because of other work they must complete. This results in canceling of a meeting or a very unstructured meeting ran by the members alone. This is a problem that results in losing members because they don't have a leader to run their club.
Some clubs also lack leaders, which poses a large problem amongst organizations. The Associated Students club Women in the Woods has two current leaders. Yet they are both graduating this year (Spring '09 and Fall '09). This is a large issue for many clubs because leaders of their organization ultimately graduate from Western. Whether it is this year or in the years to come leadership positions have to be passed on to other members amongst the club. Without the passing of leadership positions after graduation club statuses could be lost and the legacy will be discontinued. It is very important for that leader to choose a new director with the qualities that will benefit the club and keep the fire burning. These qualities include organization, dedication and excitement for the club. Without these qualities clubs suffer and information is lost.
One of the main ordeals of being a leader is see how the club does once you leave. How will a new leader be chosen? Will they be just as ambitious as the current leader is? Will the club survive under this new leadership? These are all questions that need to be answered with a transfer of leadership. In Western Men Against Violence the leader was worried about what would happen when he left. He just filled in the role of moderator and meeting organizer after the last leader left. Currently he does not know if he should try to hand the leadership position off to someone or just let it be taken over once he leaves. One of the largest fears that small group leaders have upon them leaving is that all the work that they put into recruiting and putting on events will go to waste as the club sinks and eventually disappears. The general feeling with the other clubs that we saw is that it generally works best to let the club decide on a new leader before the current one leaves. This way the current leader will be able to impart some experience on to the new leader before the current leader leaves.
Qualities of strong Leaders[edit | edit source]
Leadership is a position that is very crucial to the success of an organization. To host a successful event, there needs to be someone in charge that can take control of a group of people and figure things out logistically in order to have a production run smoothly. People in charge that are leading a group need to possess a variety of positive attributes and qualities in order to be a strong contributor to the group or event at hand. Leadership not only helps to organize a group, but it allows those in a group look up to someone who is committed to their interests and passions. There is much more to being a good leader then just leading a group to more money or more fame, a good leader must teach their group and leave them with something more than just a shell of a group.
Leaders are both born and made. Some people have a natural instinct to step up and be in control. Others are taught that “leader” is a respected title associated with success. This positive association often makes those who aren't natural leaders want to take on a leadership role in order to reap the benefits of the high position. By taking on extra responsibilities you gain control and power and are able to gain inside knowledge from being so closely involved. The qualities that make a truly great leader are for the most part universal, although they may be applied differently depending on the exact position in a group that a leader holds. Some characteristics that strong leaders possess include knowledge about organizing meetings, enthusiasm, a positive attitude, dedication and commitment, the ability to maintain confidentiality, the ability to adapt and function in times of uncertainty, the ability to plan and goal set effectively, trustworthiness, a high character, passion, tolerance, and logic.
One last and crucial attribute of a good leader is to know when to step down to let someone else lead. A good leader understands that others in the group will have good ideas that they would want to contribute. A good leader would step down to allow the idea to be shared by the ideas owner instead of trying it to do it themselves. This allows other group members to get their say in and also to have an experience in which they lead a group.
Organizing meetings[edit | edit source]
Of all the responsibilities that a leader of a club must have, the job of organizing meetings is among the most important. There are several different kinds of meetings that clubs utilize, including meetings with administration, group meetings, meetings with community members, and many others. Each type is important. Meetings with the administration often leads to funds being allocated to the club or getting the "ok" on a campus-wide activity or permission to use a room on campus. Meetings of the group are usually weekly, bi-weekly, or at least on some sort of schedule. These type of gatherings are essential to keeping club members invested in the club as well as a way to organize events and achieve group goals. Each meeting is has a purpose, even if its purpose is just to have fun, but the key to having a successful meeting rests in the hands of a club leader and requires time, effort, dedication, passion, and organization.
A meeting can either work very efficiently or it can be a complete waste of time. More often than not this is determined by how well the meeting is organized. Organization starts with letting the other members know when and where the meeting is being held. The people or person in charge of leading and orchestrating a meeting should come up with an agenda and a list of topics prior to the meeting. This could very well be the most important part of organizing a meeting; if there is no agenda there is no way to know which direction the meeting will go. It is important to have one or multiple people taking notes during the meetings so that the group can look back later on to see what was all said if need be.
The Student- Homeless Outreach Team meets every week, and are very organized with exactly what needs to be done in order to insure their event is a success. Each member comes to the club with ideas and things they believe need to be done within the next week to insure that they are on track for the "Be Our Guest" event. The organization has lead to a mass amount of advertisement downtown as well; the club is constantly trying to find new and better ways of getting their event publicized so the community can get involved as well. Their meetings are always focused with each member contributing to the next actions the club must take in order for the word to be spread about their event.
An effective organizational strategy this club or group excels at is advertising when and where there are events like guest speakers or fundraisers. They advertise this through fliers around campus or by having members of the group stand around populated areas like red square and hand out info booklets or fliers. The ‘Student Coalition for Immigration Rights’ group puts on workshops to host information about their cause, while Students for Disability Awareness hosts guest speakers and events of that nature. Both of these groups use effective organizational strategies like clearly advertising when and where an event or fundraiser will take place. This is essential to have a clear organized strategy like spreading awareness of the group’s event so that people will know when and where to come support the group. Both groups put on an awareness week in which events, fund raising and education about their specific group or cause is established and promoted.
And if someone does something great in your club promote them, because then if people don't try. Then they won't be able to ever be a leader. Stated from Magnum Stewart the leader. In the Bully Blockers Club. Magnum is the most famous human ever!
The A'capella Club, since just recently being created in 2008, they are finding themselves in turmoil when it comes to scheduling and also some problems with leadership in that they find it difficult to manage when to schedule meetings. As college students, every member has a life outside of the club with work, homework, etc. so finding times that everyone in the club can meet is a challenge. Especially in a club that requires the participation of every member for it to work, it is important to have a steady meeting time. The best the club can do is to find out every member's daily schedule and find times that work best for the majority of the club. From there it's left up to the members to both show up and keep the leaders informed if they are not able to make it.
Another group that has exceptional organizational skill is the Dead parrots Society. As seen an interview the dead parrots say “We have an artistic director, a business director, a person to handle our money, a person to handle our online website/face book, and a person to handle our publicity”. I also found that everything is always organized and the artistic director is very good at making sure things get done and separating the work throughout the different jobs. Through looking at other groups on the discussion board I found that other groups throughout campus have acknowledged the DPS’s organizational skills. In an interview with the Homeless outreach group conducted a group member said that “What I've learned so far from observing the Dead Parrots is that they are very organized. They meet every week for open rehearsals and they have created an environment that is comfortable for newcomers. They have official rehearsals every week that are focused and they work on skills useful during performances.” This shows that even other groups are recognizing the dead parrot’s society’s ability to stay organized and it is definitely a huge asset to the group as well as to other groups looking to follow suit and be more organized as well.
As seen through the 'Student-Homeless Outreach Team,' the 'Student Coalition for Immigration Rights,' the 'A'capella Club,' and the 'Dead Parrots Society,' effective organization is essential to the success of a club. Holding club meeting allows members to discuss club fundraising, leadership, future events, and everyday club business. Effective organization for clubs has led to increased popularity and overall membership, a lowered stress among those in leadership positions due to the equal distribution of work and overall a much smoother running system. As seen in the A'capella club, issues with holding organized meeting can lead to several major problems within clubs. But with the resources and information found in this Wikibook, future clubs will be able to benefit and organize into successful efficient groups.
Enthusiasm[edit | edit source]
Enthusiasm is essential in a club or organization. Without enthusiasm very little would be accomplished; the club would not be able to recruit members because if it looks like the current members aren't interested in what they are doing. Getting members of the club enthused about the clubs activities makes it easier on the leader as well because the members of the club will be more inclined to help out with club activities. The more help a leader can get, the better it is for the club. This takes pressure off of the leaders shoulders and increases the members feelings of helping and belonging. Enthusiasm is not only important to members, it is very important that the leaders themselves be excited about what they are doing. Having a leader who is not committed fully to the cause hurts the whole organization. Enthusiasm is vital to keeping an organization going and for it to be successful.
One of the most valuable traits in the leadership of any organization is a passion, and enthusiasm for the group. Leaders should be chosen who have a passion for the actions of the club, not just for the pleasure of being part of a group. The Dead Parrot Society votes their leaders into place based on who is good at what, and who wants to do it. A member of the Dead Parrot Society, Jessica Young, pointed out that "usually it's pretty obvious [who should do what] so it's not difficult to choose the positions." This natural assumption of leadership roles contributes to the general success of this group's organization. Tom and Rosemary Read who organize the Scottish Country Dance Club, are very dedicated to carrying on this traditional style of Scottish dance. Their passion and concern for maintaining this valued tradition gives the club a welcoming feel and really allows new members to feel that they are part of a great tradition. Without a passionate leadership, any organization is unlikely to have a passionate membership; members begin to feel that there is no reason for them to care, because the leaders don't even care. Without the members passion, the organization is unlikely to last long.
It is only when the leaders of a group are passionate about the goals of a club that the other members will be able to share that enthusiasm. No matter how passionate a person is about a subject, without a leadership team who is outwardly excited and encouraging, that passion cannot come through. Campus Christian Fellowship has a diverse team not only of student leaders, but also older leaders who know more and have had more time to develop their knowledge on the focus of the group, which in one word is Jesus. One of CCF's student leaders attributes the success of CCF's ministry as a Club, to the members, who she claims are "flat out passionate for people." From being in contact with these leaders, the passion spreads throughout the community of the club, which for CCF, consists of between 300-400 people. The Students for Disability Awareness Club also must keep their people passionate through the leadership of the group because they are dealing with people's lives and the struggles they face. Their goal is to empower the people in their group about things they are passionate for and teach them the skills to be successful in addressing those things. But it is only through an enthusiastic leadership team that these goals can be achieved.
In order for a student club to be successful, there is a strong need for enthusiastic and spirited leadership. The Croquet Club has Devin Spencer who is the driving force behind organizing the events, founded the club and is the long-time president. He encourages the rest of the club to participate in the activities and brings them together. Everyone in the Croquet Club is welcoming, warm and hospitable which makes it so easy for outsiders to participate in the club's activities and encourages future members. Zoë Moore and Nathan Juarex, who studied the A'capella Club, agreed that the spirit and energy of club's is the greatest aspect. To have an effective organization everyone in the group, especially the leader, must have a passion and vigor for the club.
A successful leader of any organization must contain passion to achieve the goals that they and their group are striving for. Passion gives the leader enthusiasm and motivation they need to keep the club going. In Photography Club, the enthusiasm for photography is what brings the leaders and the club members together each week. Even though they have a small amount of people attending the meetings, the leaders do not let that hinder the amount of fun they have with the few committed members who share the same interests as they do. Without a devoted and excited leader, it would be difficult to maintain a consistent group of people to attend the meetings. The Dead Parrot Society understands the importance of a passionate leader because they vote in the leader who they see best fits the position. Therefore they can choose a person in the group that has the natural zest a leader must contain in order to make the group successful. If the leader is not passionate at what they are doing then most likely the members of the club will lose interest because they are not enjoying themselves. That is why enthusiasm and passion in a leader is crucial to a club's existence.
Just like in the Photography Club, the Croquet club's main reason for success is the enthusiasm that all of the members and leaders have for the game. The members of the club are so enthused that many dress up for the tournaments based on what the theme of each tournament. The enthusiasm of the group needs to start with the president and the Croquet Club's president does a great job of getting everyone excited for all of the croquet tourneys. If the leader of the club is not enthused then it would be very hard for the members to become enthused, thus destroying the whole mood of the tournaments. Without enthusiasm there is a very little chance that the club will be able to stick together and succeed in the long run.
In most clubs and organizations an enthusiastic leader is the key for success. However, in the Harry Potter club, not only are the leaders very passionate about their organization, the members are as well. When they plan events, they make sure it is something all of the members along with any guests will be interested in, thus creating enthusiasm throughout. For example, we were able to observe Jeopardy night, where all of the questions were from a certain Harry Potter book. All of the members decided together to have this event, so no one would feel left out and it would be something they all would enjoy. The way the Harry Potter club is run causes enthusiasm without much effort. They all love the subject of their club with a passion, and they all are able to agree on events or activities in which they are excited for.
Enthusiasm thrives from inspiration. AS Pop music needs a lot of it in order to reach out to the whole community. Without a certain amount of enthusiasm or inspiration, success will not fall into their path. One of the biggest challenges AS Pop music runs into is training all the new-comers from the summer and eventually hitting something called "the Wall." The Wall is mental road block where thinking of greater ideas no longer occur. They get through this by being positive and keeping each other inspired. When a group lacks enthusiasm, the best outcome does not show and strength is weakened. The submarine team lacks this enthusiasm with building their sub for the next race. Half their sub is built, letting them slack off, resulting attitude that does not give much hope for this sub. Enthusiasm, attitude and hope are some things that help keep a group organized and very alive.
In the Croquet Club, enthusiasm is probably their best quality. On the day of the Alice in Wonderland tournament it was raining out, and it seemed that there were not really any new members in attendance. Honestly, I would not have been surprised if the group would have decided to just reschedule the tournament to a later date. But, not only did the Croquet Club decide to go on with the tournament anyways, they were still really excited about it. This definitely surprised me, as I do not think most clubs would have made this same decision. This is what keeps their club from falling apart or not happening. The Cycling Club also seems to share this passion. The Cycling Club seems to be under similar circumstances, as their club is pretty small, but the people that are members are die hard cyclists. This is important, because as long as there is a small group of people are dedicated to a club it is will stay together, and maintain a strong foundation even as it may grow.
For Hillel, the way we organize events is a very modern way to organize events. Besides going out and gathering all the items necessary for the events such as food, arts and crafts or activities, we advertise our events on Facebook. Hillel has created a Facebook group to explain and advertise our events. Before each quarter, the board meets to plan all events. We sit down with a master calendar and plan out all our Tuesday night events and our Shabbat and special events. Next year we will be adding more to our calendar, adding in Thursday and Friday night events. After the events have been put on the calendar, we plan what items we would like at the events including food and activities. Some of the events include movie nights and arts and craft night. Hillel has a very organized way of organizing the events.
Without enthusiasm and genuine passion for the cause or activity a club has little chance of survival. As you can see from the entries above enthusiasm plays a crucial role in the success of clubs across Western Washington University's campus. Enthusiasm and excitement is the driving force behind getting a club off the ground and without it no organization will ever get off the ground because enthusiasm is the fuel for the determination and hard work required to turn an idea into a reality.
With some clubs, like the South Asian Student Association, enthusiasm is one of the few things holding the group together. When the leaders remain determined and enthusiastic about their groups it becomes easier for the current members to remain strong and passionate. If there are any issues with membership or anything else with the club then a strong and enthusiastic leader can help pull the club through the rough patches. Enthusiasm can help do this because it helps show the members that it is still a functioning group. If the members believe that any problem is a little problem, then they will feel more confident of the groups success and that in its self will help the group succeed.
Attitude[edit | edit source]
Effective leaders must have an optimistic attitude when running their club. People tend to feed off of other's attitude. If people see the person who is in charge very excited about the club and its intentions, that will naturally draw people in. Even if the club is struggling at the moment or enduring a hardship, the captains/presidents/co-presidents/coordinators must be optimistic about getting past the hard time, or else it will be difficult for the members to also. If the leaders of the club have a pessimistic attitude, then it will influence the attitudes of their members negatively, and the club will not survive. Having an optimistic attitude shows the members that their leader believes in the club's success and its members' success. It also makes recruiting more successful because it shows the potential members that the club and its leaders have something beneficial to offer. Having a negative attitude will automatically cause people do not want to attend because students in college already have a challenging time balancing attendance and academics. Along with holding a positive attitude for the goals of the group and its members, it is also important that the leader is very willing to work with and as a team. Oftentimes, the leader takes on too much responsibility and acts more as a dictator than a leader and it is important for that not to transpire. The leader cannot have a 'boss' attitude otherwise nothing will be accomplished and the club members will feel intimidated and inferior. Overall, it is important to keep in mind what kind of attitude not only your leaders give off, but also your club.
Although one's attitude is very crucial, I disagree with the fact that an optimistic attitude is the best one. Sure, being optimistic is very helpful at times, especially when thinking about the goals the group wants to achieve or looking at the overall picture, but I think that being overly optimistic is often where groups can fail. When it comes down to the technical stuff like money and time and scheduling, these are the times when group leaders and participants need to crack down and be realistic without setting their standards too high. Being realistic does not necessarily mean negative, I just think it is a much more beneficial technique to approach the group with. Many time if a group is to positive they might miss on what they have to improve on or make changes in the communication within the group.
Even though the Rugby Club has a difficult time keeping their members for long periods of time, their attitude toward this sport and club is what carries them on to make Rugby noticeable even more. This club is very team oriented is always looking for new recruits. Friendships are made between the teammates, and that shouldn't stop others from joining in because the Rugby team offers a friendly attitude too towards the recruitment of any and all new players. Their attitude towards the future of this sport is positive seeing as in an interview with one of their members said, “We think that rugby is a sport that is building on a successful club based on commitment and success. And we are determined to see more players in the fall”. This year especially has turned around for them, in regards to new recruits. Overall, the Rugby Club’s attitude towards this club is strong and they are not going to give up when keeping new members fail. They are committed to make this club successful and also to make it better known. Another club such as the Making Western Diverse club also has the strong outlook that next year and the years to come will have an increase in new members. These attitudes can be the direct result in the success of clubs.
Another example is that even though the photography club had very few people attend the meetings every Monday, all members still have a positive attitude. It takes a special kind of person to keep up the enthusiasm and passion for the club even when numbers are small and money is low. The leaders of the Photography club were able to stay positive and keep it enjoyable for the rest of the members. This clearly shows how attitude is one of the most important things that keep a club alive. Devin Spencer is the leader of the Croquet Club and he tries very hard to make sure everyone has a good attitude. Sometimes tempers will flare when they have a heated game of Croquet but if it gets too out of control he always asks the members of the club to apologize and say something nice about each other. This keeps everyone happy. The club is a new club that just got brought back to Western Washington University. So it is up to the leaders to try and keep it going and to get more people involved. I think they know that they have to stay positive and have a great attitude in order to do so. Attitude is a very important issue, especially in a club like environment. Negative attitudes could bring the group down and ruin it, but with positive attitudes the club is able to proceed forward and hopefully improve problems later on in the future. Another club that has a leader with a great attitude is the croquet club, because they are short on supplies but the leader keeps positive and they try to work and do the best that they can.
Even though the Harry Potter Club only has a few members like the Photography Club, everyone there still has a great attitude. The leaders of the club all do there best to make the club fun and enjoyable, which then causes the members to be happy and they continue to come to the meetings. It is always hard to keep a good attitude when your club is small. The Harry Potter Club is no stranger to this. Following its first year dropped from around 30 members to about 10 to 15, a very easy situation to have sour attitudes that could cause the club to fall apart completely. However CCF has up to 400 students who attend which is why they have a staff to plan for Friday nights and all of the other events. Most western students would not be able to find the time to plan for 400 people every week. But despite that, they all still have a very positive attitude about the club, which helps keep it together. Like the Rugby Club, they are very team oriented in the sense that the leaders care what everyone is thinking. Leaders want and encourage members to express there opinions about what they want to do at upcoming meetings. Harry Potter is also always looking for new members, like most other clubs on campus. Their main goal is to just have a fun time.
For most of groups to survive on campus they're in need for more funding. That led all these group members either to create a showcase, art gallery or producing CDs as part of the fund raise. These groups have to be exposure more in public for other WWU students to recognize them. Without knowing their talent it is hard for others to join them either financially or even people have the same interest. By compare with the Visual Art and Literature Society they are facing the same financial problem as the A’capella club on WWU campus. The lack of motivation need to be more active in actions to create fund raises. Every club were created as a group of people with common interest, but not every will be able to survive in the end. Therefore they need a leader to motivate other group members, but if the leader is not spending his or her time on their group then there isn't much to talk about it. As the leader of A’capella club, Matt Bell ha contributes hours and hours to practice with others and also looking for all chances to perform as much as they could.
Dedication[edit | edit source]
Dedication is very important for any club member including club leaders. If you are going to commit to being in a club you need dedication to participate in events, outings, fundraising, and advertising. If you are a leader you need to be dedicated to plan events and show up for your fellow members. For the women in the woods group although membership is small when meetings are planned they depend on the leaders to be there and take them through the planned event. If you show a lot of dedication as a member you could one day become a leader for a group and show the new members how hard work and dedication paid off.
What seems to be the driving success of a lot of organizations is a group of dedicated people. When you attend the Student Homeless Outreach Team’s meetings, and read their interview transcripts it is clear how passionate all of the members are. They are putting a lot of time and effort into their ‘Be Our Guest’ event, because they truly believe in what they are doing. There are a few other clubs that claim to have some passionate members. An interviewer of the Strong Men’s club said, “I believe that their success here is due to the passion that they show”. It seems apparent that passion and dedication are what make the strongest clubs. Other groups, such as the A’capella group say, “it's important to us to keep our passion going and share it with others”. Many groups are full of members that are not just in their club for their own enjoyment, but to share what they are doing with others. From the SASA interviews it seems that their club is struggling a little but is holding on thanks to “a few dedicated members”. When clubs can increase their foundation of dedicated members it will increase their success.
Sexploration's creators are highly dedicated to the continuation and success of their brainchild. Created nearly four years ago, Sexploration has advanced as a direct result of its leaders. Sexploration reportedly started as a small group of girlfriends eating ice-cream and discussing sex on leader Grace's bedroom floor. Because of her dedication she was able to create a wonderful safe space for Western students to discuss sex. She plans to continue (and hopefully expand) Sexploration upon graduation; thanks to a huge amount of dedication, Sexploration has been made available to all students at Western.
The leaders of the Tango Club are very experienced and dedicated to the art of the Argentinean Tango. They both studied abroad in Argentina and said that they danced almost every night, spending long hours in learning the Argentinean Tango while they were there. They said that they're no experts on the dance but feel confident in teaching it to other students to inspire them to learn more and possibly travel to Argentina one day. They want to instill their dedication onto their group members because it is hard work and takes time to become skilled in the dance. They always welcome new people to their meetings and this keeps their enthusiasm up because they are teaching new people to dance every week. They want their members to have the basics of the dance down first which is mainly what they teach at the meetings to inexperienced dancers. The leaders of Swing Kids are also very similar to the Tango Club leaders because they also have to be dedicated enough to make sure they teach their members the dance from their own experience.
Some organizational strategies are not always having dedication because if a club demands too much time it will eventually lead to being stressful. The needs of the biology club included an officers duties being a little time consuming. Some of the members cannot make it to all the meetings. This is more of a laid back club. The members come and go as they please because it is just a casual thing so its lacking on the organization. Yet this is not neccrssary a bad thing because although the dedication is not there the passion for learning is. This is in the end what keeps the club going. Women in the woods club suffers also from members coming and going as they please and not taking the club seriously, yet it was said that the club is very important to the members.
Dedication is an important aspect of the Harry Potter club because they do not have a high enrollment. Dedication is what makes it possible for them to put on and attend events. They spend their time and effort working extra hard. Without the dedication of the members school, homework, and other activities would take priority over their club. It is purely dedication that keeps them together and active as an AS Club.
The homeless outreach team only has four members but each one is incredibly passionate about the social issues, seeing communication between groups of people, and empowering students to break down walls, that prevent communication. There is a lot of work that goes into the Be Our Guest event each quarter. If the members are passionate, they are equally dedicated. Each member is assigned a task to be completed by the next week in order for the event to be a success; tasks such as, designing a shirt, space reservation for tabling, publicity on campus, publicity downtown, getting students and guests to sign up, going to the AS for funding, and security. Another club I saw with a similar dedication was the disabilities awareness club. This club is also new, but stepped up to fill an entire week of events and recruited 60 volunteers to accomplish this. This club shows great promise just as the homeless outreach team does, both driven with their passion for what they are working towards. Dedication from club members is a powerful tool that can be used in lots of areas such as fundraising, recruitment, and events.
Western Men Against Violence (WMAV) is able to create an open environment for students to talk openly about sensitive issues and they encourage group members to be committed role models of the club’s values to others in the community. This is similar to the bodybuilding club in the WWU Rec Center. In an interview with a young bodybuilder, David McDonald, Laura Heydrich uncovered that David “was asked to join the club because some body builders saw my strong work ethic.” Now he feels that he is “inspirational and someone to look up to because [he's] so young.” The WMAV has similar group members who join the club as freshman and promote the values as role models in the community. David also said that his club is dedicated to being “a supportive group that teaches others how to lift weight properly and reach goals.” In this way, the bodybuilding club has created an open environment for people to learn new things about lifting. It's good to see that other clubs are taking the time to create an inviting atmosphere like the one found in WMAV meetings.
STAND does not have a leadership voting system within their club, just like in the club Men Against Violence, Cameron who is just a facilitator of the club for three years believes that when he graduates and leaves the club they will have someone fill in the position as needed. He is not too worried about a president position because all their members are strong and dedicated. STAND is similar in this way “We do not have a president; the club was co founded by two anthropology majors in the fall of 2006- Kathryn Young who is the advisor, and Karena Rounsaville who is the main contact for questions or issues. Our club shares ideas among everyone.” Both clubs have few, but very passionate and dedicated members and both rely on strong members to step up in the following years.
SRE (Students for Sustainable Energy)
The clubs members are incredibly dedicated to the cause. Even though the club was not able to reserve a room for this year, 2008–09, they still meet every week. Not every project that the members work on get approved by the Western Washington University Administration, however, they keep moving forward. They are aware of the way the administration works and the hard work that is takes to get projects approved. For example, most of the projects involve research, detailed proposals, and working with people outside of the club. Their passion is evident. Another group that shows passion for their work is the club, "Be Our Guest," which is essential for the type of work that both club do.
Maintaining Confidentiality[edit | edit source]
We strive to feel safe, confident, and relaxed in our everyday lives. So in order for members of an organization to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, experiences, and stories a safe environment is necessary. Confidentiality is essential for a student organization to be effective. The club is a way to meet people that share the same interests as you so do not stray away because of being uncomfortable, the clubs are welcoming.
When asked about one of Sexploration’s greatest strengths, the club coordinator responded with the clubs confidentiality. Because Sexploration discusses topics on sex, it is very important that the members feel comfortable and therefore feel that what they share at meetings will be kept secret. Sexploration’s effective strategies in keeping their members secrets confidential include not giving out any names of their members. Also, they encourage everyone at the meeting to speak as well as participating themselves because the more members that speak up the more comfortable other members will be to tell their secrets. I found this pattern as well during another interview conducted with Sexploration’s co-coordinator. The co-coordinator was sure to not let out any member information. She also said that the club leader’s main job is to begin dialog and make their meetings and events feel like a safe place to tell their stories. As for other AS clubs, not many seemed focused on confidentiality being an important strength or an important thing to improve on.
Adaptability[edit | edit source]
If you want a lot of people to join your club, it is important that the group and leaders can adapt. Whether it is adapting to a time to meet or altering club goals and events, it is important to be flexible so everyone in the group has a say in what the club does. As time goes on everything changes and evolves including clubs so when leaders recognize this, it allows their clubs to grow and expand. By taking in new ideas and making small changes everyone will feel involved in the group and make your club more efficient in general. And besides it is a club, so people should be open to new ideas because who knows, they could be better than the old ones.
A great aspect of leadership along with the others listed is adaptability. Leaders should incorporate being flexible within their strategies because as students graduate and take their experience with them. It is essential for the remaining and new leadership to embrace the change and be able to adapt to the new changes. Campus Christian Fellowship has established a strong leadership community. This community has allowed it to keep CCF running over the years and has worked hard to overcome past obstacles. A member of the staff said that flexibility and adaptability were aspects of the staff that allowed it to run smoothly and effectively. He said that the CCF staff was able to accept change and change for the better, whether it was regarding a new idea or a new staff member. For example, the meetings had a democratic system and he explained their approach as coming into meetings with their ideas as pens on the back of their hands instead of clutched in their palms. Thus, each member of the leadership team comes prepared to change their ideas and accept new challenges and ideas. Members of the other organizations such as Hui o Hawaii Club expressed frustration pertaining to leadership. A member stated, “It's kind of whoever is brave enough to take it on. We try really hard to get people involved who are juniors and sophomores so they can have some experiences for the next year, but our club is kind of relaxed so it's just whoever has the initiative to do it. The hard part was in years past one person did most of it, and when she left she didn't give us much direction so we kind of had to remake the club. But we’re in the process of getting more organized. Next year should be better.” The response shows how there are still issues with establishing key leaders within the club and when those leaders are found it is hard to replace them. It seems that the leadership of CCF has learned to deal with change and these types of changes because adaptability is a key part in their approach to running the organization. It is important to try and make the best of the situation even if that means changing and adapting a new way of operating.
Goal Setting and Planning[edit | edit source]
It is important for a group to create different goals to achieve. Goals are what unite a group and provide something for everyone in that group to strive towards. Groups that succeed in achieving substantive goals first collaborate in defining those goals as well as the method they will use to achieve them. A club flows better when all its members are in agreement with the set goals, so planning them out as an entire group is crucial. Effective leaders must be role models for the rest of the organization but also balance their responsibilities by delegating responsibilities to others.
However, setting goals is only the first step. Any club can set a goal but it is planning out ways to achieve that goal and ultimately completing it that is of importance. For example, a club could decide that their goal for the year is to put on 3 big events for the year. The fact that they are setting a goal is great. However, what they do with that goal after they set it that is what's important. They would need to make a list of what events they want to put on and set dates and assign group members to certain tasks regarding each event. They would need to set deadlines so that each step will be met and each group member will have completed their specific task. By the end of the year they will have met their goal. Conclusively, goals are important for groups but following through with them is even more important.
Leadership Positions[edit | edit source]
Leadership positions are important for any organization to be effective. However, there are a variety of ways in which leadership positions are filled as well as a myriad of types of people that may fill those leadership positions. A leader is not only limited to the main person in charge but everyone in the club has their role as a leader whether it be by organizing the group, keeping the group motivated or just being a dedicated member. The AS clubs would not be able to run without leadership from its appointed officers but also the members of the club as well. To become a successful club everyone involved must do their part to contribute to the growth of the club.
Three main types of leadership strategies are used by these student organizations, having a single strong leader, having a hierarchy of several leaders potentially tied to the civic or university community or having decentralized leadership where all or much the membership shares leadership tasks. Each student organization is unique in what requirements they have for their leader(s) as well as the expectations of the role the leader(s) are expected to lead.
Types of Leadership Positions[edit | edit source]
One of the WWU Cycling clubs greatest qualities is their well defined leadership system. Within the interview we conducted with two of the leaders of the club they said, “We have a very active group of officers (President, VP, Treasurer, and Asst. Treasurer) that we elect at the end of the race season.” A well organized system of electing people for certain leadership positions within a club insures that the club will have people who know what they are doing and are in the best interest of the club. The leaders this year are working on some other issues the club has had in the past such as, “working to get a better relationship with WWU.” I found that a well defined selection process for clubs and effective leadership is really what makes a club run smoothly. In the Dead Parrots Society, Kyle Blodgett reported that , “The interview transcripts also indicate that the DPS has a relatively natural leadership system.” Another club that showed strong leadership was FAFSA and Geraldine Massengale reported that. “I believe leadership only gets better every year. The need for leadership in FASA is essential because of the amount of members we obtain every year.” Strong leadership looks like it is a very essential part of having an effective and lasting club.
Some groups, such as the Students Against Civilization, are able to function with little to no leadership. They structure their meetings in a way that is probably unique only to them. Their meetings consist mainly of discussion coming from each of the groups members. The only leadership that is conducted is at the beginning, where one of the two members who formed the group writes the definition of civilization up on a chalkboard and reads an article that they have chosen as a discussion starter. From there, ideas get bounced off members and different concepts of civilization and the world we live in today are spoken in a healthy environment. This brings the dialogue down to a personal level, where each member can relate to what is being said.
Stephanie is the leader of the WWU Body Building club. She created the Facebook group, hosted the Stongman competition and planned various other activities. Although Stephanie puts the most effort into keeping the club running, Alex, David and Rory set the standards for aspiring body builders. The three are always in the weight room ready to answer questions one may have. Together, the four leaders are well representatives of the WWU Body Building club. Thanks to these leaders the group is unified and function well despite their lack of regular meetings.
Besides the more common leaderships in clubs (ex. president, vice-president, and secretary), clubs, such as Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX), may only have one main leader within the club. In the case of VOX, they have one organizer for the entire club. The other members are all equal in terms of leadership. This position is called Coordinator. The Coordinator is a student and an employee of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood also provides many of the physical materials, etc. The person in this position is actually hired and serves as a link between the club and the organization in order to fill in both sides on the needs and requirements of both groups. It allows for VOX to be well supported monetarily and otherwise. Sometimes people from the organization go to club meetings and help out. According to my interview because of being aligned with an organization and an immediate point of contact with the organization, they have to worry less about fundraising and have more time for event planning. Other clubs on campus, such as the World Justice Awareness club, also has outside support but not as much. Since the VOX is funded and has an employee who is part of the club, there is also no need for a position such as treasurer that other clubs, such as the Dead Parrot Society, need.
Another organization that doesn't have the common leadership positions is CCF (Campus Christian Fellowship). In this organization they have campus pastors, interns, and core facilitators (corefas). Campus Pastors are the head leaders, along with the interns that help them accomplish the many tasks and events that they run for the current members and to reach out to others. Core facilitators are members that lead small groups. They are a key part to recruiting members, but overall bringing people to Jesus. They lead cores, which make CCF a more personal club for people to grow in their relationship with God and with other members. This club is one that needs many leaders, not just a few in order to better accomplish their goals and grow as an organization.
Like many other clubs on campus, the Harry Potter club has the traditional leaders. They have a president (which they call the "Minister of Magic"), officers ("house prefects"), and a treasurer. The incoming Minister of Magic is the current treasurer, events coordinator, and Hufflepuff prefect. He was nominated to be Minister of Magic, and voted in by the rest of the club. Since membership is on the low side, members often are asked to take on more than one role, something they have no problem doing since it will keep the club running. The other members in the club are asked for their input and it is valued, something that keeps them coming back each week.
Length of Leadership Positions[edit | edit source]
Leadership positions shouldn't be held by one person for too long. It is necessary for each position to have someone different about every year so that the club doesn't fail because people don't know how to run positions held by students that have left. It is also important for the current position holder to train the new position holder in all the tasks of that position. If positions are held for too long, then there is a big chance for there to be not enough innovation in the club and no new ideas. Although one student shouldn't hold the same position two years in a row, it would be a good idea for the student to choose another position so that there is someone with a years' experience within the leadership group.
In the case of some clubs, length of leadership positions can pose a problem. In smaller clubs like Women in the Woods, there are only two leaders who will shortly be graduating, and once they have left the club there is no one lined up to fill in for them. Because of this it is important for current leaders to help make a system for the extension of the club's sake because without a leader a club will fall apart. It is important for each club to have a leader, and it is important for that leader to know the length of their leadership and be able to have someone follow up when it is their time to step down. It is important for a leader to not have their position for too long, but it is also important for leadership to continue after the original leaders are through.
Like previously mentioned, the length of leadership positions should be monitored as to avoid domination of the club by one or a few certain individuals. However, in some situations, clubs are growing each year and more leadership positions are required to sustain the growing numbers. An example of this is seen in CCF. Each year the membership count for this club increases and the need for small group leaders, also known as Core Facilitators, in dorms increases as well. In this club, many Core Facilitators only tend to hold their position for one school year, but they are currently being encouraged to remain in this leadership position for at least two years, sometimes even three. The intent of these prolonged leadership positions is to provide a more in-depth experience for the Facilitator and give new Facilitators the chance to work with and learn from the more experienced leaders.
Passing Down Information and Tasks to New Leaders[edit | edit source]
In order to completely understand the effectiveness the that a club has on the community a deeper observation will need to take place with the club itself. I believe that in order to fully understand what a club has to offer, one must participate in the club and actively take part in the events. This participant observation will allow for a more thorough analysis of what is really taking place; as well as seeing how their hard work and organization throughout the quarter is coming together. By having potential new leaders observe the clubs organization and goals, information and the overall tasks of the club can effectively be passed down. We, as observers, should continue to monitor the success of the clubs and note how their planning is helping or hindering the publicity of the club. New leaders should step back from time to time and allow themselves to observe what is working and what is not for the club. Other questions can also be addressed to the club members about what has worked in the past and what has not. By asking specific questions about the organization of the club we can acquire a more detailed insight into whether or not their organization and leadership are truly effective in the overall performance of the club. With this new acquired insight information from previous years can help new leaders build a stronger and more effective club, while at the same time maintaining the original goals the club established.
Information regarding the club, organization and development of club protocol is important in order to maintain consistency in club effectiveness. One effective means of creating this consistency is through the development of a club binder. The club binder should be similar to a scrapbook, and also contain information regarding set up and development of club activities. The Students for Disabilities Awareness club has an effective strategy in regards to the club binder. A binder has been developed that contains names and phone numbers of past and present members, information about specific club events, and details regarding funding and monetary information.
One of the biggest problems that can arise in the area of club leadership is when a club runs into a situation where a large majority of their club officers end up graduating within a single year. Situations such as this lead to more than just a few problems as the club will then have to transition to a completely new set of leaders the next year. Luckily, there exist a few very effective strategies that will help ease the difficulties of the changeover. The first strategy was not found through formal interviews, but in casual conversation with a couple of senior club members from the Ritmo Salsa club. Apparently, the more senior club members have gained enough knowledge and experience about how the club is run to act as unofficial sub-leaders. With this strong, broad framework of leadership, the club, which is facing the graduation of both of its presidents this year, should have no problem with a change in leadership as the senior members seem more than capable of stepping forward to aid the new presidents in running the club.
Looking into the interviews of other people researching the topic of club leadership a quote from an interview with a member of the Associated Students Productions club seemed to highlight the importance of having a strong framework of individual leadership. According to the interview, “[the Associated Students Productions] have a hard time trying to find people to step up and take charge of certain events and have them stick to it”. Since the Salsa club has strong support from its senior club members to help run the club underneath the presidents, the group doesn't seem to experience many problems with people dropping the ball or failing to pick up the slack. This same focus on student leadership outside of the leadership provided by the club officials can also be seen in the Campus Christian Fellowship. The president of the Campus Christian Fellowship addressed this topic in an interview, saying, “the leadership body of CCF is made up of full time missionaries to make every effort to incorporate student leadership”. From personal observation as a former member of this club, I can attest that the emphasis on leadership from regular club members is part of what makes a large club like CCF so successful in executing its day-to-day activities and ensuring attendance to its events. When clubs such as these, who possess well-organized frameworks of leadership, transition between club officials the impact of the change in government is dramatically reduced because these clubs are not solely reliant on the management provided by a few key leaders in order to operate effectively.
Another very effective strategy for dealing with the loss of key club officials is to have more than one official of that office at any given time. The reason why it might be an asset to have at least two club leaders was found in an interview with the LEAD club. When asking about the protocol for selecting new leaders for the club, it was explained that, “each director [of the club] serves for two years. When a new one comes in, it is always on the second year of the veteran director so that someone familiar with the system can train the next wave”. An asset of having two different leaders in a club is that it can lead to this effective staggering method of leadership, which can considerably ease the burden of transferring leadership from one year to the next. Granted, the newer leader would have to be someone who is not the same grade as the older leader, which can possibly lead to issues based on choosing who can be eligible for leadership based on grade rather than skill. Other than that, though, the method of having more than one club leader seems to generally be an asset for clubs.
Passing down leadership has also been an issue with the Western Washington University club Women in the Woods. The two women that are leading the club this year were both appointed the club leaders in an impromptu manner. They were not elected or chosen to be a leader; they just simply took over the leader position wholeheartedly. Now that they are both seniors and graduating this year, they have recognized that passing the torch to another member of Women in the Woods has proven to be a difficult task. Currently they have been observing younger women in the club that have the qualities of a leader. They seek a leader with a great interest in being active outdoors and furthering the Women in the Woods legacy. While Women in the Woods will definitely have a new leader next year the passing of leadership to another member is a difficult task because they want to maintain a large amount of membership with women at Western that are interested in being outdoors. With the exit of the current club leaders Women in the Woods aspires to choose new leaders with the high amount of enthusiasm that they do now. They also hope to pass down the successes that they have had as leaders of Women in the Woods so that the club will continue at WWU.
Distributing Responsibilities and Jobs[edit | edit source]
One trait that will ensure a club’s success is its ability to delegate leadership. This not only promotes efficiency in the club, but also keeps members interested in the success and current happenings of the club. “We have found that by trying to focus on getting leadership positions filled, and keeping projects that pertain to each individual’s interest, we are able to keep people interested in staying with the club,” stated vice president of the Students for Renewable Energy club (SRE). The current leadership of SRE attributes the fact that they have the club broken into committees (solar, education, conservation, and wind) as being one of the major reasons why the club has been able to accomplish as much as it has over the past six years. The current vice president of SRE stated, “We went from one meeting each week, to dividing up the members into committees that met at different times throughout the week. This made it so that people had leadership and investment in the club. This allows for members to break up into different committees for which ever projects they are interested in.” It is this act of breaking the club into smaller interest groups that allows for members to feel personally involved in the club. Numerous other clubs, such as Harry Potter Club and Campus Christian Fellowship (CCF), also utilize delegated leadership to better run their club and maintain interest in the club. One anthropology student observed that in Harry Potter Club, “Although the president can get meeting events organized in the beginning, everyone has a hand in leading the club. Opinions are openly expressed and everyone has the club’s best interests in mind.” This was also expressed by an anthropology student who observed CCF, “One more thing that is strength to CCF is the small group divisions called Core. What this does is help students get closer together as friends since CCF is such a large organization.” Regardless of the goals of the club or organization, it is helpful to delegate leadership and break larger groups into smaller groups. This not only allows for each individual to feel a personal commitment to the club, but can allow for more efficient meetings and completion of projects.
KUGS is very organized. Each member of their team has specific tasks that they carry out and certain positions they hold. Being in a leadership position at KUGS holds many responsibilities, but they are very clearly defined for each individual. The KUGS team works together very efficiently to complete their goals, and this is due to each person contributing exactly what is asked and expected of them. It is also helpful to them that one member also puts out a daily schedule, which helps them to stay on track. A daily schedule is a great idea, because completing daily goals and tasks is easier to manage at the station since there is always so much going on.
One of the strengths that the Student Homeless Outreach Team has is its leadership. The group is currently led by Anna. Though Anna is considered the President or leader of the club, the club runs more like a collaboration much like how the Harry Potter Club is run. Each group member is given a task to accomplish during the week after each meeting and to report the progress of their task at the next meeting. Joe said during his interview that this way works well. If the group did increase back up to the original number of 12, this method would still work.
Sharing Leadership[edit | edit source]
In situations involving groups, the role of a leader is often shared between members of the group. With effective leaders, this can greatly reduce the amount of work each leader does. There are groups that share leadership equally and there are those that have a type of hierarchy of power over the group. Both of these types can be effective depending on the type of club and how you organize it. The leaders must also make sure that once they step down from that position, that it will be filled the following year by someone who is capable and knows the inner workings of the club. This is often someone who has been attending the club regularly, and has an interest in becoming a leader
An important part of working with a group of people, is providing the most effective mode of leadership possible. In many cases this involves sharing the power of leadership amongst other members of the group. In the A'capella club, Matt Bell discussed in an interview that though he is considered the leader of the group, the power is shared fairly equally among the members." Well, as far as the men's group goes, I lead rehearsal and choose music, Ben and Chris have done most of the arranging that has been done, and Chris heads up the business side. But we always discuss everything as a group before it becomes definite"-Matt Bell. There are no set offices in the group yet, but this informal democratic ruling appears to work most effectively for them. However, the Dead Parrots Society does have running officers that change from year to year and this system works extremely efficiently for them. So in conclusion it really depends on the type of club and scenario that depicts the most ideal club leadership. But in any case, the leadership roles must be shared to be successful.
One way to keep a club going through time is to ensure that when one president leaves that the person that steps up to take their place is fully prepared. One way to ensure this is to share leadership between members. One club that does this very efficiently is Ritmo Salsa. The way the club meetings are designed actually promotes this idea of shared leadership. At meetings, the club members separate into a three-tiered system consisting of beginners, intermediate, and advanced dancers. Each tier then, has its own individual leaders. The leader of the beginner tier is the person that I interviewed, Rose Brockmeyer. She thinks the separation of the skills is great for the club because it ensures that each person in the group gets more attention than they would if the entire club learned together. There is two leaders to each group, and the co-presidents of the club are the leaders of the advanced group. By letting other members in the club teach in the beginning and intermediate groups, it ensures that there is always somebody that has teaching experience in the club. Though this is not exactly the same as A'capella club, the ideas are similar. Both clubs share power between the members, which ensures that the club will not fail if one of those people leaves because there is other people with experience to take their place. I would compare the two co-presidents, Rachel and Sarah, to Ben and Chris, who chose the arrangements for the club and then allow the club to figure out how they are going to run them. Rachel and Sarah teach the moves that the members should know and give helpful tips to guide, but they allow members to choose how they wish to perform. This makes everybody feel like they have more power and more influence because they have total control over all of their routines. Sharing power is a very effective strategy that many successful clubs implement. This is similar to the Photography Club. Carmen Daneshmandi, the current leader of the club, not only had her position passed on to her from an older student, as a freshman, she had relatively little experience with the club. This is where the current, older members of the club came into the picture so to speak, to offer advice and help her lead. Carmen feels not like a leader, but an organizer and point person for the club. She no doubt will hone her skill very quickly and be an excellent leader.