The Office of Student Activities recently changed the requirements for student-run organizations and clubs that are both approved by the Student Senate and affiliated with Lehigh University in an effort to help each club reach its fullest potential.
Part of the process includes maximizing club efficiency by providing more officer training. In the past, training for club officers was an hour long and did not formulate a strong bond between each club and the Office of Student Activities. Assistant Director of Student Activities Aarsenio Perry said the Office of Student Activities is currently trying to offer support so students may feel better prepared to take on the important role of leading a club.
“This year, the training focused on helping clubs and organizations understand financial accounts; funding opportunities; blueprint; maximizing their executive boards and general memberships; and programming and utilizing the HUB,” Perry said.
Instead of allowing student-run organizations and clubs to start the event-planning process at random times, the office is requiring every club and organization to complete the event-planning process on the HUB at the beginning of the school year. Once the form is completed, it is sent to the Office of Student Activities and reviewed by Matt Kitchie, senior assistant dean of students and director of student activities, and his associates at the Office of Student Activities.
Perry said this is not a big change for the executive boards of clubs and student organizations, however, as student groups were required to complete the form in previous years. Now, the process of approving events is expedited for the Office of Student Activities and the Student Senate so that all mandatory forms are completed before the initial planning of on- and off-campus events.
Along with mandatory forms, the Office of Student Activities also now requires each club or organization to fulfill an officer transition checklist. This checklist includes how to navigate the HUB, information on hosting on- and off-campus events, and contact information for club advisers. New officers also must obtain all of the contact information for their specific organizations and provide that to the Office of Student Activities. The purpose is to enable the Office of Student Activities to contact any member of the club or organization, not only its executive board members.
“There is more cohesion between the executive board and university itself, as well as more cohesion between the members of the club and its executive board,” said Staci Klein, ’15, a member of the Astronomy Club’s executive board.
Club sports also have different requirements for the 2014 academic year. Club sports teams are now required to volunteer at different varsity games in order to help assist with check-in and sales of Lehigh Athletics programs. Because of this change, club sports are now more involved with Lehigh Athletics, as every person on a club team is required to sign up to cover at least one varsity sports event.
“Dance Team does not have a varsity counterpart, so I get to go and watch field hockey and soccer games,” said Becky Milano, ’16, co-captain of the Lehigh Dance Team. “I think it’s great for Lehigh Athletics and the Lehigh Dance Team.”
However, these new requirements could potentially interfere with Greek life on campus. Perry recognized that many members of club and student-run organizations are affiliated with Greek chapters at Lehigh and said he does not want to take the focus away from the philanthropic efforts that come from Greek chapters.
From a student perspective, the increased paperwork and time commitment that the Office of Student Activities is requiring for club officers is making some Greek-affiliated executive board members nervous. Leah Tranovich, ’16, is both vice president of the Lehigh chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the chapter president of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She acknowledged that there is a significant amount of extra work that she must do for her position within the institute.
“As chapter president of a Greek organization, my time is more limited than others to be an active member of different clubs,” Tranovich said. “But with the right time management and desire to be involved, it is very possible to achieve both even the additional responsibilities that accompany university recognition.”
The Office of Student Activities hopes the new approach will be more specific and allow Lehigh clubs and organizations to continue growing and remain an important presence in campus life.