Over the course of many years, the department of Student Activities at the University of Connecticut (UConn) has developed and refined a successful program for training student leaders and officers. The program, SOLID (Student Organization Leaders Intentional Development), ensures student leaders of over 650 new and returning organizations are learning the skills and policies they need to be successful on campus. The department heavily relies upon and utilizes their Engage system, UConntact, to make this program happen. Read on to learn about the SOLID program and to access UConn's training resources and materials.
Utilizing Engage Organization Statuses
One of the ways in which the Engage product directly supports the program's efforts is through the office's use of organization statuses in Engage to track students progress. All new organizations are placed into the Frozen status, limiting the organization's ability to fully function. Only once all organization officers have completed their proper training is the organization moved into the Active status, the status required to receive funding, request space, and enjoy other organization benefits. We love the practice of using organization statuses to place accountability on student leaders.
Promoting and Managing Training Sign-ups
The training schedule is promoted on the homepage of the site using the Alerts feature. Alerts allow you to share your most pertinent information with users, making it immediately visible when they first log in.
Using the Campus Links feature, students can easily access information about SOLID Workshops. They can also access a consistently updated document that shows each and every organization and which trainings have been attended by which officers. Promoting this on the community home page using Campus Links allows students to continually check on this information autonomously without having to contact the Activities department.
What is taught during trainings?
A best practice in regards to training is to thoughtfully consider the audience in front of you. UConn has done this well, offering various trainings for different officers in addition to an introductory meeting for officers of brand new organizations.
New organizations are invited to attend a new org meeting where they are introduced to UConntact through the following infographic, showcasing the general highlights of UConntact.
Organization officers are re-exposed to certain tools in Engage, including rostering and positions, forms, and messaging among others each year through SOLID trainings. Attendance tracking is highlighted in the training specific to organization secretaries.
The role of students in training
With over 650 organizations with officers to train, administrators in the office of Student Activities rely heavily on their student workers, called Involvement Ambassadors, to support their training efforts. Kristen Carr, Coordinator in the Office of Student Activities says the peer-to-peer training is effective. The department also spends time each year training Orientation Leaders and Tour Guides to be able to effectively talk to incoming students about UConntact. When it comes to training your students on your Engage platform, consider how you can empower student leaders on your campus to facilitate peer interactions!