Thursday, April 14, 2011
SLW Chapter Management Breakout Session
Recruiting members is a challenge for any club on college campuses world-wide. However, there are several advantages when it comes to recruiting for Sigma Tau Delta. This workshop will identify the positives of recruiting for Sigma Tau Delta, possible target audiences, and developing a further recruiting plan to bring in more members.
There is clearly a place where possible club members can be found for an English honor society. The English and Communication classrooms are a good place to start. Talk to English Professors about making announcements about events being run by Sigma Tau Delta (and the upcoming convention) while in the classroom. This is a realm where any person that would be interested in joining Sigma Tau Delta can be found.
In order to further recruit for Sigma Tau it is important to shed the stigma now. When some hear the words “Sigma Tau Delta” they will think of a Fraternity or a Sorority. When others hear “International English Honor Society” they think of snobs with white hair that smoke pipes and wear tweed. It is vital that we are clear on what this organization is and truly stands for. Run programs with mass appeal, and be sure to have an area where photographs from the events can be seen.
Sustaining Active Participation
Sustaining active participation is among the most difficult aspects of chapter management. But anyone who’s tried to motivate any group of people to do anything knows two things – 1) how difficult it can be to get a group of people to get involved and stay involved, and 2) how exciting it is when it happens. This section of the workshop will discuss keys to getting or keeping your chapter members active in Sigma Tau Delta such as the following: Take notes on what has worked and what hasn’t – and don’t repeat what hasn’t. Make becoming a member a big deal, and if you need help with ideas, check out www.english.org; under the “Chapters” tab, there are resources and even scripts for induction and new officer ceremonies as well as a host of other ideas for chapter activities. Get new membership involved right away. Start the year off by assigning positions and establishing a clear chain of command. Delegate responsibilities for each activity, and don’t be afraid to rely on those people who do want to participate. Set short-term and long-term goals for your chapter – and then do them. It is critical, however, to listen to your chapter membership; try to get feedback from them, see what they get excited about, and then reassess your short-term goals if you need to. Keep your activities a mixture of the fun and the purposeful. Finally, nothing beats face-to-face interaction and word-of-mouth communication.
Raising Your Campus Profile
How you decide to raise the campus profile will depend on what you want to accomplish. If you want name recognition, then name drop! Write articles with other chapter members under your chapter’s name, about chapter or society-related ideas and events, and get them published in your campus newspaper. Create a chapter Facebook, invite all your college Facebook friends to join it and be creative with how you present the news – get quirky! Write creatively! Look for ways your chapter could join other campus organizations on projects already in the works that you could contribute an English-y edge to. If your goal is funding, then you probably want to focus on getting involved in the sorts of activities that seem to get funding already. What sort of things do you think your department, your university, your student body would be willing to give their money to support? Show your campus you can do things seriously and that you can do them well. If your goal is increased chapter participation or membership you’ll want to play toward the things that would draw a larger group to membership. One key to remember, if this is your goal, is that you do not have to be an English major to be a member of Sigma Tau Delta – so create activities and publicity that emphasize this! Most importantly, listen and observe – what things seem to matter to your campus most? Recycling? Social justice? Stamp collecting? Is there a big artsy populace on campus? Video game-y? Outdoors-y? Figure out how broad – or limited – an audience you want to reach, and come up with ways to interest that audience. And finally, don’t participate halfheartedly – nothing sells like enthusiasm!
It is no secret that getting involved in the community can have a huge impact on the success and fulfillment felt while being a member of a club. The positives of having community involvement can be seen as a way for the club to raise awareness, funds, and do genuine good for the world. This workshop will identify the need for developing a community profile, pointers, and a general discussion about how to establish your club outside of your proverbial campus gates.
Getting involved could be as simple as asking. Better World Book Drives have yielded better results any time that Sigma Tau Delta clubs reach out for help from the community. This has given people a place to recycle unwanted books, raised funds for literacy and libraries, and also raised funds for your club. The same can be found with advertising for other events sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta.
As an English Honor Society it is important to give back to the community. Contacting schools and libraries could open an array of options to benefit the community. There are often areas where student need to be helped, or encouraged in order to further succeed in English classes. Offering a writing contest, or even participating in Read Across America can help do good in your community while helping to develop a positive community profile for the club.