2010 Research Conference


CSU student leadership northern regional training, January 2010


  • Mary Flynn:
    • ""Almost fifty years of history, so I feel like it’s really an honor to be the director of this program and I tell people all the time about how much I love my job and I always say, ‘and I get paid to do it!’"

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Student Accountability and Structure
    • Mary D’Alleva:
      •  "Student staff that’s given a lot of responsibility to make these programs happen and what’s the accountability for that? Because my experience working with student staff has really been with let’s say a student assistant in my office; who says, ‘oh I can’t come today because I have to study for an exam’ or something like that within the realm of the student world. I respect that because that’s what’s built into the position. I know it’s student staff, so I’m not going to give you something that’s time-sensitive or has a lot of responsibility because you may e-mail me in the middle of the night and tell me you’re not going to be at work the next day. So I guess my question is this- it sounds like these student leader positions, they’re really crossing over more into staff than let’s say a ‘student position’ and how do you, the students handle that? That greater accountability and what is the accountability there?"
    • Anna Leeper:
      • "I think it comes back to some of the things that we discussed earlier. Having clear communication. I think a lot of us that step up into these roles have worked with other students that have flaked out, that aren’t as organized. So we recognize those as desirable characteristics and we wanna bring that to the table; and a lot of us naturally do. Or we’re developing those skills that we can follow through on the things we say we’re going to do. And I mean, a lot of it comes down to work ethic and just, kind of your inherent value system and what you value. And also flexibility. You were talking about having these higher ups and having this pressure from down. A lot of times, we don’t recognize that you’re under that pressure as well. So having just open communication I think."
  • Importance of Documentation
    • Carla Shields:
      • "One of the things we talk about at CAVE is that documentation is one of the most important things you’re going to do. When you talk about communication it’s the things that actually leads to and helps positive communication on a continuous basis. Because what you’re going to find is that one day what you document might not ever happen again. But then there are those things that are recurring that documentation helps because then you can follow from start to finish how you need to proceed. Because you’ll know, okay maybe the first call you got, or the first time you dealt with a situation, this is what happened. And then it progressed and we needed to take this action, and then it progressed. And then we needed to call other people and we needed to have a meeting. So documentation is your very, very best friend."

  • Transition: What Do I Leave Behind to my Successor?
    • Zachary Pallin:
      • "I just want to know in terms of passing on your duty to the next person, what are the most important things to, specifically in your roles, to pass on to the next person that they definitely need to know. Like someone who’s never heard of this job before."
    • Anna Leeper:
      • "I think for me it’s like the organization, like where things are filed, how they’re filed, where to find the information, who do I ask? We have like a series of binders like if you’re gonna lead a workshop, we have required workshops that we have to lead. So, there are binders for each of those workshops. And so if I want to lead an activity, some sort of a kinesthetic or a hands-on learning for the activity, I can go to that binder and look at those. And there are comments in there. ‘This didn’t work. It doesn’t work well with a small group’ or something like that that was written up by the previous director like, hey, this is where you can find that information. And it was really helpful because I didn’t know that those binders existed or that they were there so organization, knowing how things are organized, where they’re organized, and what information is held there."

Funding and Incentive

  • Creativity vs. Budget
    • Deanna Berg:
      • "We’re all resource limited and so often we block our own creativity and ability to get anything done because we automatically say there’s no money and so this can’t be done. Or until I find money, it can’t be done. So I just really want to dispel that and say that if you look at these programs, they didn’t start with money, many of them still don’t have enough money. It’s all creative funding."

  • Community Funding
    • Deanna Berg:
      • "The community sources are a possibility. And I’m going to talk about that when I talk about the different kinds like the fee for service, United Way funding. We often think the community has less money and we don’t want to ask but sometimes because we’re meeting their needs, they have ways to help us because it’s a mutual benefit."

Recruiting Student Leaders & Training

  • Training & Support
    • Deanna Berg:
      • "One would be, kind of like what we did with the ground rules. What do you need and what are you goals and set that for your team for how you move forward. Another might be to look at the job descriptions that you’ve created and in the workbook on page 38 and 39, is a matrix to help you think about, ‘ok, to get this job done, what do you need to know, who might be able to deliver that’. It walks you through the training plan. We gave you the pre-work of working on program calendars and starting to put that together. You may want to continue that or start that. Or in the manual from pages 80-82, it goes through all the different methods that the campuses use; from formalized training to informal forms of support. And your team can go through those and talk about which ones you wanna consider and would be helpful to where you’re headed with this."
  • Where would I find Student Leaders?
    • Mary Fortune:
      • "Do you post your openings through the career services or do you just use word of mouth? For example, you know, I see students come in and out, how do you sustain and have that institutionalized? Is that something that is posted on your website, you know when you click click click."
    • Kristina Barger:
      • "We normally like to go first through our volunteers because they’ve had the experience already so when we’re looking for new staff members, we immediately go through outstanding volunteers. We’ve recently starting doing like a CAVE open house where volunteers can come in and really get the feel for the office because without actually coming in the office and getting that feel and vibe of the office, you really don’t what being on CAVE staff really is all about. But we also post on the website and through like the weekly newsletters that go out to all students."

Growing Pains

  • Starting Small
    • Deanna Berg:
      • "Definitely starting small, I think all of you have really gotten to the place where you don’t need to create the whole organizational chart and fund any positions this semester or this academic term. Sometimes that one position is enough."

Surdna Foundation

The CSU Center for Community Engagement gratefully acknowledges the Surdna Foundation for its generous and visionary support of The Next Stage: Boosting Service Learning to New Heights, three-year grant initiative.