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Photo credit: Everyday Health Photo of Hernandez (dressed in all black) at The Watcha! Film Series in honor of Women’s History Month.

SAN ANTONIO — Students leaders from various clubs on campus gathered in the Providence West Social Room Friday Feb. 22 for the Recognized Student Organization Student Leadership Summit hosted by the Student Government Association and the Student Leadership and Development office. Junior and Secretary of the Worden Social Work Organization Jaime Nicholson said, “I decided to attend the summit for two reasons. First, as a representative for the WSWO and secondly because I was genuinely interested in learning about leadership and team cohesiveness from a group perspective.” Tracy Knofla led the summit bringing an enthusiastic new insight to being in a leadership position within your organization. Sophomore and Director of Internal Affairs and Programming for the OLLU Student Government Association Keitlina Genao said she attended the event “In support of my SGA co-worker and the hard work he put into the summit.”

Leaders from clubs like National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, Saints Production Board and many others were instantly met with a challenge from Knofla. The Selfie Challenge. The Selfie Challenge was used as an ice breaker to give all in attendance a way to quickly meet each other. Students were given a couple minutes to take as many selfies as they could with other students. Kayla Acosta of NSSLHA came out with a narrow win with 24 selfies taken. There was also a side challenge, the Photobomb Challenge, that Beto of the SGA won.

Next, the students broke up into small groups of three and everyone had to be part of different organizations within the group. Then the students had to give an imaginary PowerPoint on three topics; a brag, a bummer and hopes for the future of the student’s organization they were representing. Leaders don’t be alarmed. When everyone in attendance came together at the end to find out what each group talked about; it turned out that all the clubs face the same trials and tribulations for the organizations’ bummer which really helped the students know their club is not the only one with these struggles. Knofla then went on to explain the G.R.A.P.E.S Theory to the young leaders. The G.R.A.P.E.S Theory is an acronym for growth, recognition, achievement, participation, enjoyment and satisfaction; which is what every club should be offering their members according to Knofla. “Recognition is the cheapest and easiest way to help people get motivated,” Knofla said.

Knofla used a stick balancing exercise for the students to realize how focused they need to be to balance everyday life. The balance between the club(s), school-work and life itself is extremely important to being successful and enjoying the college experience. While every semester is 16-weeks long in length clubs don’t have that same amount of time. Clubs have to consider the time it takes to get started at the beginning of the semester, mid-terms, holiday breaks like spring break and then finals. “There’s this phenomenon that happens at many colleges after spring break many students begin to check out and think about summer jobs or summer internships,” Knofla said. After all of this, organizations are only left with about eight weeks of actual time to meet, plan and execute events through the 16-week long semester. Once Knofla broke this down many students were left in awe not realizing how little of time their organization actually has to accomplish their goals, which is why setting a realistic amount of goals is the key to success.

Another major topic that was touched on was “How is your organization viewed”, this particular topic has a lot to do with the perception and brand of the organization. Many leaders expressed how their clubs weren’t even known to exist which can make things difficult when wanting to add members. Knofla went over ways with the group on how to give your club a positive image to help recruit or even overcome a negative image from the past.

Nicholson said, “My initial apprehension for attending such a long event turned into genuine excitement within 5 minutes of the speaker talking.  Throughout the event, we all learned that each of our organizations were having the same issues and problems and this created a wonderful networking and camaraderie with everyone.  I truly was not expecting to enjoy my time and come away with as much knowledge as I did.”

The RSO Leadership Summit showed beneficial to all those in attendance, but it also showed how much these leaders care about their organizations just by attending the summit on Friday afternoon. Genao said, “My biggest takeaway is that, it is important to make sure that your team is cohesive and that everyone is contributing.”

If you are interested in joining a club stop by the Student Leadership and Development office for a list of clubs and organizations.

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