Update from the Student Affairs Committee: New student organizations and changes for the future

The fall semester was very exciting and productive for the Student Affairs Committee as we approved the following seven new student organizations:

1.       Drake Rugby Club

2.       Bulldog Paws

3.       Drake Men For Gender Equality

4.       D+ Improv Troupe

5.       ISACA Drake

6.       TEDxDrake Club

7.       Drake Powerlifting Team

Apart from new student organization approvals, we were very busy creating or improving the resources available to student organizations. Our first project was to implement a “Vision Statement” as a requirement for new organizations, to encourage them to think about their organization’s contribution to campus and set long-term goals. We have received very positive feedback thus far and will continue to make this part of the new student organization registration process.

The next major resource we worked on was an officer transition guide to help all student organizations create a smooth and thorough transition to improve the sustainability of organizations. The transition guide is available to all student organizations on the student organization community website and on the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership website.

Another resource we created at the end of the semester was a New Organization FAQ. After reaching out to and meeting with the new organizations from the past year we found common trends amongst the struggles they faced, so we tried to create a comprehensive guide to resolve common problems. The FAQ covers concerns regarding publicizing new organizations, applying for funding, making room reservations, and a variety of other topics.

Toward the end of the fall semester we also conducted applications for annual funding. We received many qualified applicants, and in the end Student Senate approved Dogtown After Hours, Visual Arts Association of Drake and Drake Weight Lifting Club as the new annually funded organizations. We are excited to see the great programs they will bring to campus with their new funding!

Much of the fall semester consisted of creating resources for student organizations, but during the spring semester we hope to shift our focus toward creating a community amongst the leaders of new student organizations. Our first step toward creating this community will be hosting a New Student Organization session at the Spring President’s Conference to help the leaders get to know each other and help each other through the common struggles that new organizations face. We are also going to have the new student organization leaders attend the Spring Leadership Conference together and do a debriefing afterward with takeaways from the conference.  Although our major focus is shifting toward creating a more unified community of new student organization leaders, we will continue to improve and create any resources that student organizations find useful.

– Sen. Michael Jennings