I am proud to say that SUNY Oswego’s PRSSA chapter has come a LONG way. Before I transferred my sophomore year, I heard from the older e-board members how there practically was nothing to show. But the hard work of those before me have helped to shape our chapter to what it is today, and I am excited to be serving as the co-president for the upcoming semester and continue to grow the chapter’s success. Here are some of our tips and tricks for starting your semester strong…
Draft a Schedule
The first week of school, we get together as an e-board with our faculty advisor and lay out our meetings for the semester. We take all our brainstormed ideas from the summer and figure out what would be most beneficial for our members. It takes about an hour, if not more, to plan it out but it’s well worth it compared to scrambling each week to throw something together. We also leave two or three meetings open, which I’ll soon explain why.
Survey Your Members
What do you want to get out of PRSSA? What kinds of meetings would you like to see? If we were to invite a guest speaker, what would you want the subject matter to be? Ask these kinds of questions in a survey at the first meeting. Then, at your next e-board meeting, take a look at the most popular responses and pop them into the open meeting slots in your agenda. It’s important to listen to your members – if you give them what they want to see, they will keep coming back to meetings. This not only helps your chapter to be more organized, but also allows your members to know what to expect throughout the semester.
Add an Ice Breaker into the First Meeting
How many times have you gone to an introductory club meeting where the e-board introduces themselves and the organization, and then leaves it at, “thanks for coming, we’ll see you next week”…BORING. After your presentation, have your members count off by the number of e-board board members. That way, each e-board member can lead a group. Have everyone go around in a circle and say their name, year, major, where they’re from and maybe a fun fact. Ask them if they have any questions about the organization, how their classes are going so far, what internships they’ve had so far, etc.
Can I Have Yo Numba?
At your first meeting during the ice breaker session, send around a piece of paper for each person to put their name and number. After the meeting, send them a text thanking them for coming. Then, follow up with them the afternoon of your next meeting – something short, such as “Hey [insert name], hoping to seeing you at tonight’s meeting!” It’s a small gesture, but it can go a long way. Adding that personal touch can help establish a relationship between you and your members. You never know – maybe a shy member who is a freshman wasn’t sure if she was going to go to the next meeting, but your text just convinced her to go…
This was a rising concern of many chapter presidents at the PRSSA Leadership Rally in Scottsdale, AZ. Many brought up the topic of writing up contracts for their e-board to sign. If you feel that is a necessary precaution for your chapter, then I would highly advise you do so. What has worked well for the Oswego State chapter is the new e-board getting together in May before summer break for a first meeting where they’re given a sheet with their duties and responsibilities. Establishing the importance of each position is critical; everyone needs to know that they are needed to keep the organization flowing smoothly.
Author: Lauren Taylar
Lauren Taylar is a digital marketer and blogger. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations. When she’s not volunteering her time with Make-A-Wish, you can find her reading a travel magazine and sipping a glass of hard cider or wine.