A brand new program was implemented in The Office of Student Activities and Involvement at CMU last fall called Student Organization Specialists (SOS). This program helps define and achieve success for registered student organizations (RSOs) by providing support through workshops, advising, and consultation. SOS develops facilitation guides and conducts research on best practices in order to best serve organizations unique needs. It is a free service available to all RSOs on campus. Students can schedule an appointment with a SOS on CMU’s online portal or by calling the office.
I am one of four Student Organization Specialists. Each of us specialize in one area, however we are all trained in the following:
- Event Planning and Booking Space
- Leadership Training
- Member Retention
- E-Board Transitions
- Goal Setting
- Social Media
- Conflict Resolution
- Campus Policies
The area I specialize most in is event programming for RSOs. Planning events is something that almost every organization does consistently. It also can be one of the most challenging things to do for a RSO. Since I have experience in event planning and have held a position as an events director for a RSO I have compiled several best practices, strategies, dos and don’ts, and insider information for campus programming.
Student organizations are ran by students who are usually heavily involved on campus and are extremely busy. Event planning for these students who aren’t skilled or may not have had any experience at all can be extremely stressful and intimidating. However, events are usually an essential part of organization’s missions. I’ve been in the similar situations with these students and understand how difficult it can be to plan a successful students.
I love being able to talk one-on-one with organization representatives, hear their concerns, and work through solutions to help them reach success. Student involvement is so important to me, I’m always looking for ways to get my friends and peers involved in something on campus because I believe students can use college for more than just a degree. Being involved with campus organizations allows students to enhance their college experience on so many levels. CMU has an incredible list of over 300 organizations for students to get involved with. It is so rewarding that I get to help RSOs find success and improve their organizations to better serve CMU students. My favorite part about my role as a SOS is hearing from students that our meeting helped them pull off a big event or reach a goal.
This role has helped me develop skills for problem solving, listening, and public speaking. Since this program is in its first year running I’ve been looking for ways to improve it so we can reach more organizations and accomplish our goal more effectively. The biggest issue is that there are still many RSOs who aren’t aware of the SOS program. We need to find ways to get the name out and target organization representatives better. By the end of this semester a new specialist will replace me. I plan on meeting with them and going over what worked well and what didn’t to prepare them for consulting with organizations. I’ve created several presentations and guides with helpful information and answers to just about any question a student could have. I’ll be providing these materials as well to give them as many resources as possible. SOS has just gotten started but I’m excited to watch the program grow and help RSOs find success.