Staff responsibilities for Student Organisations

3 Replies

Staff responsibilities for Student Organisations

Posted by Hannah Reilly on Mar 12, 2019 9:43 am

Hi All,
I'm working in the UK in a Students' Union and am also studying a Postgraduate course in Student Engagement in Higher Education. I am working on a project looking at the challenges to building a sense of belonging through student organisations/societies and am interested to hear how much involvement and what responsibilities staff have in supporting organisations.
We tend to have a light touch approach where we as staff offer frameworks and guidelines, the organisations are then student-led. Whilst this has its benefits there are challenges of time, continuity and resource and I would be interested to see other approaches to supporting student organisations. Looking forward to hearing from you :)
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Re: Staff responsibilities for Student Organisations

Posted by Jennifer Pelletier on Mar 14, 2019 10:28 am

Hi Hannah - At Ohio State University we have a similarly light touch with our student orgs. They're not legal entities of the university, so there are many aspects of their operations where we don't (and can't) have oversight and involvement. Even with that, we have tried to maximize the touch-points we do have. Over the past two years we've been very conscious to strike a better balance between the transactional and transformational. We're very good at the transactional aspects, and are continuing to build the more transformational elements.
For example, we require presidents, treasurers, and advisors to attend trainings. So in those sessions we balance providing the necessary/ required information with relationship building and self-reflection. We've also introduced a new Student Org Success Framework (activities.osu.edu/involvement/student_organizations/framework) and peer Coaches to allow our team to connect more directly with org leaders, and to help org leaders connect more directly with university resources. We assign coaches to all brand new orgs, and to any other org who requests that support. We will also pilot student org roundtables this semester, with the hopes that org leaders will find benefit in connecting with one another around topics that we regularly hear about (leadership transitions, member recruitment, fundraising, etc.). While this kind of programming is not revolutionary, it will be new for our community and we're hoping it begins to foster connections and potential collaborations across our student org community.
Good luck with your efforts, and if you'd like to connect directly, please don't hesitate to reach out!
Jen Pelletier (pelletier.17@osu.edu)

Re: Staff responsibilities for Student Organisations

Posted by Hannah Reilly on Mar 14, 2019 11:35 am

Thank you Jen,
That's so helpful and your resources look great. I may well be in touch as I explore ideas further if that's ok.
Best of luck with the roundtables they sound really useful :)

Re: Staff responsibilities for Student Organisations

Posted by Jennifer Grossman Leopard on Mar 15, 2019 9:32 am

Hi Hannah,
We at Penn State University also take an arm's length approach to our recognized student organizations.  They are not technically part of the university.  We recognize them and afford them certain prvileges however when it comes down to it, they are separate entities.  Their rights with recognizition are reserving space, programming support, requesting student fee dollars, chance to get office space, use the university name and RSO logos, etc.  However they are covered under a separate insurance policy from the university.  The Student Activities office provides recognition support, developmental support and programming, consulting services, and administrative help.

You can take a look at our website (https://studentaffairs.psu.edu/involvement-student-life/student-organizations) to see what we offer and if you have further questions, please feel free to reach out (jbg165@psu.edu)