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SOLO org leader training shortened, rebranded as Involvement Week

Riding on the heels of the Org Fair, this past week, September 12 – 16, was the first ever Involvement Week: a week of events centered around effectively starting and leading a student org.

It kicked off on Saturday with the mandatory Student Organization Leadership Orientation (SOLO) followed by five additional workshops. In previous years, SOLO was a mandatory, four-hour, lecture-style workshop. This year it has been broken up into six different events, still including the mandatory SOLO event, but shortened to under two hours. Of the five other topics covered, two are brand new (‘So, You Want to Start an Org?’ and ‘How to Get Involved at Mac’), and the remaining three are only required for select student orgs (‘Student Org Budgeting Workshop,’ ‘Programming Tips & Tricks’ and ‘Managing Risks for Student Orgs’).

The new structure of SOLO, or what is now Involvement Week, is in response to feedback from org leaders who have attended SOLO in previous years. According to them, the long, four-hour training was ineffective because it was difficult to keep focus. Laurie Adamson, Associate Director of Campus Activities and Operations (CAO), and Johannes Davies, Chair of the Student Organizations Committee (SOC), listened to the feedback and worked together to pull out the information not applicable to all orgs in an effort to keep the students engaged and not waste anyone’s time.

In addition to Adamson and Davies, many people worked to make Involvement Week happen. Joan Maze, Director of CAO and advisor of the Financial Affairs Committee (FAC), Sydney Keiler, Chair of the FAC, Logan Schrader, Graduate Assistant in CAO, and Lerren Tyler, Student Activities Coordinator, all led events throughout the week.
With posters and a Facebook event publicizing it as “different involvement workshops to help you get the most out of your college career,” Involvement Week aimed to reach a broader audience than in past years. Rebranding it from SOLO opened it up to people in the community who are not already involved to make them feel like it is still possible for them to become involved.

The purpose of MCSG and SOC is to listen to students’ ideas and concerns, and to serve them to the best of their ability. Involvement Week is intended to help make orgs run smoothly. Heather MacDougall ’19, Vice President of Mac Swing, attended the new SOLO and Involvement Week this year and noted that “the tone was not reprimanding at all. They were trying to make it fun while still going through all the rules and regulations, particularly emphasizing deadlines.”

Involvement Week is a pilot program and could go through changes in the coming years. There were aspects of Involvement Week that were a success, such as splitting up the information to make it digestible and more personalized. Changes that may be considered for next year are the time of day for the events.

This year all of the events took place during the lunch hour, and the non-mandatory events were not as well attended. Adamson is always looking for ways to improve and is planning on soliciting feedback to ensure this program allows students to get all the information they need for their orgs to be successful.

September 23, 2016

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