At the end of the school year, we all look back fondly at
the past year and our accomplishments. We wish our graduating students the best
of luck and remind them to stay in touch. And then the campus is
quiet. If you are like me, you may have had a student or two ask you what you
were doing during this time, assuming we also had the nice break they do.
Well, most of us don’t have a break, so what do we do?
Of course I am huge supporter of taking some personal time
that we couldn’t manage to slip in during the year. Traveling, visiting family and friends, and generally relaxing. However, I also think this time is a
great time to reflect as well as look forward.
Use this "break" to reimagine what student involvement
looks like on your campus. Think about the experiences you want to provide to
ensure students leave as a well-rounded citizen. Talk with
colleagues, both on and off your campus, to see what type of programming they
think would best support student development—and most importantly, talk
with students. Meet students at orientation or ones who are taking classes. See what they want or need.Gone are the days when we can pull a binder off the shelf and duplicate
last year’s event. Gone are the days in which college programs are the “only
show in town” and whatever program you put on is successful. With students
talking to their friends who attend other colleges, they are constantly
connected, and continually compare the experiences their friends are getting. We
want to ensure our students are getting those experiences—and more!
I challenge everyone to think of at least one new program,
one new form of engagement, one new access point for students to get involved,
one more way in which to create a positive experience for our students. Not
just simply do what’s on your checklist, but truly think about new programs
that will help students succeed. Programs that will get them integrated,
socially and academically. (Sorry had to throw in some theory!) It’s this frame
of mind that will keep our students engaged with campus, keep us creative, and
keep our field moving forward!
What are some of those new programs you have planned for
next year? How are you challenging yourself to come up with something new on
is the Manager, Campus Information Centers at University of Michigan–Ann Arbor.
Campus Information Centers serves as a resource for university and community guests and members. He is also responsible for the social media strategy for University Unions, which encompasses three union facilities, retail spaces, student activities, and food operations. In this role, he helps create the overall strategy for incorporating social media with the marketing campaigns as well as other uses of technology.