On the Job with Colin Spaulding
Colin Spaulding is the Assistant Director for Engagement at the Center for Student Involvement, University of Colorado–Boulder.
What are some examples of coalition building between student organizations on your campus?
I would say many of our organizations are encouraged structurally to work
separately and seek funding separately. It is a challenge we are aware of and one we are attempting to address through trainings, particularly when working with our student organizations that are more motivated towards activism, political involvement, and civic engagement.
What are some of the reoccurring needs and requests you hear coming from different student organizations?
Our student organizations often ask our staff members for help navigating our complex funding and event planning procedures. In terms of specific items and resources requested, organizations seem to be looking for new, creative ways to stand out, and they have been seeking funding for a variety of marketing items like T-shirts, banners, and stickers. Design services and assistance in navigating university branding standards has been something many organizations have been seeking advice on when creating logos and designing posters for events. Our office recently purchased the materials to provide an in-house photo booth for student organizations due to an increase in requests from organizations to have photo booths at their events.
Besides a student activities fair, how have you educated first-year students about opportunities for involvement?
After the beginning of the semester, we work closely with residence life, new student, and family program offices. We also host a spring version of our fall involvement fair where we do direct outreach to both second semester and incoming students starting in the spring. We have experimented with a few event ideas to connect new students with organizations in the middle of the semester, but we’ve not settled on something that achieves our desired outcomes. We realize this time period is one where individual outreach to students and campus colleagues, as well as continuous passive outreach on involvement could be effective. We definitely intend to do more work in this area in the coming year.
Student organizations often come and go. What are the oldest and the newest student organizations on your campus and what trends in student organization types have you seen?
We have a variety of student organizations that have been on campus for a long time. Those include our ski and snowboard club Boulder Freeride, the Hiking Club, the United Mexican American Students, and the Black Student Alliance. In terms of new organizations, we have many new ones start each year. Recent trends have seen a growth in our organizations focused on issues of wellness and mental health. We have also seen a variety of new organizations around robotics and robotics-based competitions, including organizations around robo-boats, robo-submarines, and combat bots. Finally, the growth in e-sports and video gaming interest has also manifested itself in the creation of a variety of student organizations.