Leadership Education And Development

The Leadership Education And Development (L.E.A.D.) program at Waukesha County Technical College is designed to introduce student leaders to concepts important in becoming an effective leader and a successful professional. The L.E.A.D. program is coordinated by the Student Life Office and open to all regularly enrolled credit students. Participants must RSVP for each session. Any student attending three or more of the L.E.A.D. sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Leadership Resources


Many college students find it difficult to express their feelings honestly and openly because they lack assertiveness. This can become a problem when building a relationship, pursuing a career or communicating with family, friends, and co-workers.

What is Assertiveness?

Assertiveness is the ability to express your feelings, opinions, beliefs and needs directly, openly and honestly, while not violating the personal rights of others. Assertiveness does not in any way mean being aggressive. Assertiveness tends to include, clarify and respect others.

How to Develop Assertiveness Skills
  • Be direct, honest and open about your feelings, opinions and needs. State reasonable requests directly and firmly. State your goals or intentions in an open and honest manner. State your point of view without being hesitant or apologetic.
  • Do not let your friends, classmates, etc. impose or reinforce their behaviors, values and ideas on you. Instead, let them know what you think, feel and want.
  • Be honest when giving and receiving compliments. Never ignore a compliment and do not feel you must return one.
  • Learn to say "NO" to unreasonable requests. Use the word "no" and offer an explanation if you choose to. Do not apologize and do not make up excuses.
  • Avoid "why" questions. "Why" questions may encourage the listener to be defensive.
  • Recognize and respect the rights of your friends, roommates, co-workers, etc.
  • When communicating with others, use an appropriate tone of voice and body posture. Maintain eye contact. Tone of voice should be appropriate to the situation. Stand or sit at a comfortable distance from the other person. Gestures can be used to emphasize what is being said and the word "I" and "we" should be used in statements to convey your feelings.
  • Ask for feedback, and for another point of view or opinion.
The Language of Assertiveness
  • "I" statements: "I think..", "I feel..", "I want..".
  • Statements of personal reference and personal meaning: "This is the way I see it", "In my opinion", "This is how I feel", "This is what it means to me".
  • Statements of Request: "I want..", "I need..".
  • Statements of offering compromise: "I would like this..What would you like?" "I think..what do you think?" "What would be an acceptable compromise?" "Can we work this out? What time is agreeable to you?"
  • Asking for time: "I'd like to discuss this in an hour".
  • Asking for clarification-instead of assuming.
  • Avoid demanding and blaming statements: "You make me..", "You think..", "You should/shouldn't...", 'It's your fault...", "Don't you think..", "If only you would..".

Brainstorming & Goal Setting

The purpose of brainstorming is to encourage greater involvement of members in the organization by allowing them to help create the ideas used in a group. Using the method below allows the organization to get input from all members rather than from just the dominating members that speak up. Since all members participate in the formation of the goals, they are more likely to be invested in the action plans developed to accomplish each goal. When brainstorming, always begin by establishing the purpose of the activity and acceptable behavior guidelines.

Blue Dot/Red Dot

  1. Divide members into groups of 3 to 5 (depending on the size of the organization) and give each group 5 sheets of paper and a marker.
  2. Give the groups 20-30 minutes to generate goals for the organization. Instruct them to only write one goal per sheet of paper.
  3. Have each group, one at a time, explain and hang on the wall each of their goals. Put similar goals near or on top of each other on the wall.
  4. Give everyone 3 blue dots and 3 red dots (stickers).
  5. First the blue dots: Blue indicates priority. Instruct everyone to stick the blue dots on a goal they feel particularly strong about or spread them out among their top three choices. Give everyone time to distribute his or her blue dots.
  6. Now the red dots: Red dots indicate energy. Instruct members to place the red dots on goals which they feel they have the energy to accomplish or on the goals which they feel the combined organization has energy to accomplish (may or may not be the same goal(s) selected for the blue dots).
  7. Examine the goals that received a high number of blue dots and red dots. These should be the goals your organization focuses on for the upcoming year.
  8. At this point, form committees to look at each goal and write objectives for each goal. Remind members that objectives should indicate a plan for action and a time line for accomplishment.
  9. At future meetings ask the committees to report on their progress. Committees should feel comfortable enlisting other organization member's help since all members agreed to the importance of the selected goals.

Note: This activity will also work when trying to come up with ideas for programs, events, and social functions for your organization.

Delegating Authority

Delegation is the key to a successful organization. It helps people in your organization prepare for future leadership roles and frees up more time so you can do other things. Sharing responsibilities and delegating authority keeps members interested and enthusiastic about the group. You might be reluctant to delegate because you want to make sure the job is done right (your way). But lack of delegation can create apathetic and uninterested membership. All members share in the responsibility of making the organization a success.

Group Benefits

  • Members become more involved and committed
  • More projects and activities are undertaken
  • A greater chance that projects will be completed
  • Increased opportunities for members to develop leadership skills
  • More of a chance to fill leadership roles with qualified, experienced people
  • Organization operates more smoothly

Leader Benefits

  • Not being spread too thin and therefore less likely to burn out
  • Gain satisfaction of seeing members grow and develop
  • Acquire more experience with executive and administrative responsibilities

An Appropriate Time to Delegate is When

  • There is work to be done!
  • Routine matters need attention
  • Someone can benefit from the responsibility
  • A member has particular qualifications for or interest in a task
  • Details take up too much time & have to be divided

The time NOT to Delegate is When

  • The task is something you would not want to do yourself
  • Someone is under or over qualified for the task
  • The area is big or is an unsolved problem, or issue dealing with personal feelings or with confidentiality
  • The work is your specific responsibility

Ways to Delegate

  • Ask for volunteers by a show or hands or passing a sign-up sheet (interest is a great motivator!) However, you could be "stuck" if no one signs up
  • Appoint or suggest someone. Sometimes a member lacks self-confidence and won't volunteer, appointing (or asking) him/her demonstrates your confidence in him/her.
  • Assign through a committee. This takes the pressure off of an individual and reinforces the organizational structure.
  • "Best Fit" of person with the task is the most effective. Try to spread the enjoyable and responsible tasks around, giving more members status and value.

Questions to Answer When Delegating

  • Why this person?
  • When should it be completed?
  • Why this task?
  • What help do you need?
  • How should you begin?
  • "I'll check with you in ________ ."

Effective Feedback

Feedback is communicating to an individual, or a group, how their behavior has affected you or others. One of a leader's responsibilities is to create and utilize a forum for open, constructive communication in which feedback is an important aspect.

  • Be honest and have a positive purpose
  • Keep the relationship intact, open and healthy
  • Validate the feedback process in future interactions
  • Can be heard by the receiver

Effective feedback, both positive and constructive, is helpful to others. When you give feedback you are offering information that will hopefully be useful to another person. Feedback is not criticism. Criticism is effective; feedback is descriptive.

Characteristics of Effective Feedback

  • It is specific rather than general. To be told that one is "dominating" will probably not be as useful as to be told that "You were not listening to what the others said, but I felt I had to agree with your arguments or face an attack from you."
  • It is focused on behavior rather than on the person. It is important that we refer to what a person does rather than to what we think or imagine he/she is.
  • It takes into account the needs of the receiver. It should be given to help, not to hurt. It is directed toward behavior that the receiver can do something about.
  • It is solicited, rather than imposed. Feedback is most useful when the receiver has formulated the kind of question that those observing can respond to.
  • It involves sharing of information. Not simply a giving of advice.
  • It is well timed. In general, immediate feedback is most useful (depending on the person's readiness to hear it). Excellent feedback presented at an inappropriate time may do more harm than good.
  • It is checked to ensure clear communication. Encourage the receiver to rephrase the feedback received. No matter what the intent, feedback can be threatening so consider what and how you can best provide feedback.

Getting People to Your Event

You can have the best programs in the world, but if no one knows, your work will not be seen! Always focus first on who you want to attend, and then how to get them to your event. Listed below are some tips to help you get people to your event.

  • Send personal invitations to people via campus mail. Target groups and individuals who you want to attend. If time permits, you might follow up with a phone call.
  • Make presentations at other organizational meetings to encourage support for your program. This gives interested people a chance to ask questions and build enthusiasm. It helps if your group has supported their activities as well.
  • Involve as many people in the planning of the event as possible. The more people involved, the more people have a vested interest in seeing the program succeed.
  • Ask professors to give class credit for attending educational events. Extra points might bring a lot of students out to a speaker that you bring in.
  • Give incentives, rewards, or discounts to those members who bring five or more friends to your event or program.
  • See if the CA's can get programming credit for bringing their residents to your program. They will appreciate the support and collaboration.
  • Have another group co-sponsor the event. Go after a group that would not normally attend your events so that a new group of students is exposed to your good work.
  • Check the campus calendar closely. Make sure there is not a major event already planned which will conflict with yours. Avoid religious holidays and times when classes are extremely demanding.
  • Post your event on the campus calendar, newspaper, e-mail, etc.
  • Plan your program as far in advance as possible, then circulate these dates among other campus organizations so (hopefully) they won't plan events that conflict with yours.
  • Carefully consider the size of the room you use for programs. If the room is too big, people will think the program fell short of your expectations. On the other hand, everyone hates to be in a cramped, hot room with too many people in it.
  • Send thank you notes to organizations that attended the program in large numbers. This will increase repeat attendance.
  • If you are charging admission for any program or event, have some sort of discount for purchasing tickets in advance.
  • Go into classrooms and write message on the corner of the blackboards announcing your event.
  • Use progressive signs along high traveled walkways to promote events. Progressive signs are a series of signs which contain pieces of information about the program. Reading one sign sparks your curiosity to read the next, and so on.


Icebreakers and other acquaintance exercises are important when groups come together and when bringing in new members. Throughout the year, they can be used to re-energize a group or break up meeting monotony. They can be excellent devices to help people feel more comfortable with themselves, with others and feel more "at home" in a group.

Icebreakers are different from team builders because they are lower risk-meaning they do not require an individual to share as much or step out of their comfort zone. Icebreakers are designed to be purposeful and fun, giving people the opportunity to bond through fun, movement and laughter.

Listed below is a sampling of icebreakers. There are many more. For more ideas on icebreakers, please contact the Student Life Center.

M & M's

Have each person take a handful of M&M's (or any candy). Tell people not to eat them, yet. Each person must introduce him/herself and tell one thing about themselves for each M&M in their hand.

Variation: Use toilet paper instead and have people say one thing for each square.


Hand out different lengths of string or have participants cut their own. Each person introduces him/herself by winding the string around a finger, saying one thing for each wrap.


Provide each person with paper and markers. Have them write their name and draw pictures of things important in their life.

Variation: In a group already familiar, have people draw names and make a nametag for someone else in the group.

My Name Is

Have everyone sit in a circle. First person says, "My name is…." Second person introduces the first person and then him/herself. Last person must introduce the entire group.


Sit in a circle. Read a statement such as, "If you brushed your teeth twice today, move one space to the right." People move right and left according to the statement. People will end up on each other's laps.


Prepare pictures of objects on cards. Cut the pictures in half and give each person a card as they walk in. When told, they are to mingle and find the other half of the picture.


Limericks are 5-line poems. Find several limericks and cut each line into a strip of paper, passing them out as people arrive. When told so, they are to mix until they have put their entire limerick together.

Animal Sounds

On pieces of paper, write the names of animals (one per piece of paper), such as dogs, snakes, cats, etc. Give each person a piece of paper (there should be several with the same animal on it). When told, people make the noise of the animal on the paper and mix to find the other like animals.

Involving Faculty & Staff

Faculty and Staff can be some of an organization's greatest allies. Be sure and create a plan to work with this important group. Think of and implement ways to keep them informed about your organization and its achievements.

  • Host a faculty and staff social sponsored by your organization to introduce members to key faculty and staff on campus.
  • As a group, brainstorm the names of key campus faculty and staff that you would like to involved to a greater extent with your organization. Find creative ways to include them.
  • Invite three or four different faculty or staff to a meeting. It is best if this invitation is made in person rather than in writing. Your advisor can help by making a follow-up phone call the day of the meeting.
  • Hold a faculty/staff appreciation program. Let them know they are appreciated. Offer refreshments and have your scrapbooks out so you can show them the things you have done recently.
  • Send an "open letter" to faculty and staff explaining your group and its purpose. Let them know who your advisor is and they can contact you either directly or through your advisor.
  • Send greeting cards to faculty and staff. Pick any holiday and make up your own special cards. Be sure the card is appropriate and inclusive.
  • If members of your organization work on campus in offices or departments, let supervisors know about your affiliation with the organization. Invite people you know to programs.
  • Host a casual dinner and ask every member to bring a faculty or staff member along. Get to know them, ask about their area of academic and/or personal interests, and sell your organization to them.
  • Induct faculty and staff as honorary members of your organization.
  • Where applicable, send copies of your group's newsletter to supporting departments, faculty and/or staff, or members of the WCTC community that have been helpful.

Involve your advisor in all of these types of events. As a faculty/staff member, their involvement can help to bring more of their colleagues to your events, and can serve as a positive point of reference for them as well.

Making Meetings More Exciting

Finding a way to make your meetings more exciting will be critical to retaining your members and keeping them interested. The energy you create in the meetings will flow over into your programs and affect members' enthusiasm. Have fun - don't take yourselves too seriously!

  • Start each meeting with some sort of icebreaker (a game or a "get to know you" exercise). Members will be more familiar with each other and energized at the start of the meetings. See the Points of Leadership on Ice Breakers for more ideas or contact the Student Life Center.
  • Introduce any new member at the start. If a member brought them, recognize the member for outstanding recruitment.
  • Have an agenda printed or written on a dry erase board or chalkboard. Members can "follow along", and will feel there is a flow to the meeting.
  • Switch meeting locations every now and then, with plenty of warning, of course!
  • Arrive ahead of time and check out the room arrangement. Vary the set from week to week. Never sit in the same seat twice and encourage people to sit by others they don't normally sit by.
  • Have a surprise social even in lieu of a meeting. Those who didn't show up might be sorry they missed it.
  • Give out prizes for "five meetings in a row". Encourage members not to break their streak.
  • Take time at the end of each meeting for recognizing members. Have a traveling award for the hardest worker, most embarrassing moment of the week, or just say thank you.
  • Stick to your time limit. Make sure members know approximately now long each meeting will last. Sometimes members don't show up for meetings because the last one lasted two hours and they don't have that much time.
  • Try to keep the meeting as interactive as possible, with the "reporting" that needs to be done kept as brief as possible. People join an organization to participate, not just to listen to others talk. Never let anyone (including yourself) talk for more than a couple of minutes.
  • When members seem apathetic, have an open forum on "why you joined this group" and encourage people to share. Ask if people are getting what they want out of the group, and if not, what can be done to change things.
  • To encourage and reward participation, give candy or other little rewards when someone contributes to the meeting.
  • Form committees by playing musical chairs. Once you have decided your working committees for a project, play some music and have people walk around. When the music stops, you work with the people who are in the group. This mixes up teams and gets everyone involved in different topics.
  • Have everyone pick a favorite animal noise. Then, pick a "word of the day", and every time someone says that word, everyone makes their noise.
  • Remember that the end of the meeting is as important as the beginning. Do another icebreaker or somehow put closure on the end of the meeting.

Motivating Members

It is very important to always be motivation to your members. Remember the saying, "attitude is everything, so pick a good one"? Find ways to maintain a good attitude and keep motivating your members. Constant, positive motivation is the key to the success of your group.

  • Establish a point system for members, one that offers them a chance to attend training sessions, win prizes or awards. Friendly competition can provide excellent motivation.
  • Invite a motivational speaker to address your members and the leaders/members of other organizations on campus.
  • Expect the best from people. If you establish high but realistic expectations, you give your group an achievable goal.
  • Create an environment where failure is not fatal. Treat every attempt as a learning experience.
  • Recognize and applaud achievements. This is often a more effective way of motivation than the achievement itself.
  • Use a mixture of positive and constructive reinforcement for members. People want recognition for good jobs and ways to improve their next endeavor.
  • Assign tasks in pairs so members help each other. It builds unity!
  • Set goals as an entire group. People support what they help create.
  • Take steps to keep yourself motivated. Your attitude will positively affect those around you.
  • Remember birthdays and special milestones in some small way: sing, eat cake, or make a nice card.
  • Go to a thrift store and buy several items (or create them), then give them as appreciation gifts to all members.
  • Send members to a conference pertaining to the mission of the organization as reward for their efforts.
  • Never take credit when things go right (give it to your fellow members), but always take the blame when things go wrong.
  • Be sure that for every serious topic on the meeting agenda, there is at least one lighter topic.
  • Nominate the group for campus, community and national awards for their efforts.
  • Make sure that everyone is sharing group responsibilities.
  • Always bring a camera to your events. Get photos for members doing good things, get double prints, and give the extra to the members.
  • Always look for new members. The enthusiasm of a new member can keep everyone motivated.
  • When an event is over, praise it and talk only about the positive. Talk in terms of improvement, rather than failure.

Officer Transition

The transition of leadership for your organization can be a smooth and positive experience. Transition may determine the effectiveness of the group for years to come.

A smooth transition is:

  • The responsibility of both the outgoing and incoming members
  • A way to help the group to move forward
  • A transfer of significant organizational knowledge
  • Providing a sense of closure for outgoing members
  • Using the valuable contributions of experienced leaders
  • A time for the new leadership to learn from the out-going members
  • A great opportunity for outgoing leaders to reflect on the past year
  • An orientation process for new leaders
  • The leadership changeover period
  • A time to ask questions and to give advice
  • An outgoing leader's last chance today "Try this…", or "I have learned this…".

When working with new officer:

  • Share what has worked
  • Share problems, helpful ideas, procedures and recommendations
  • Go over reports that contain what has happened in the past year
  • Go through organizational files
  • Acquaint them with office surroundings (where applicable)
  • Meet together with the group's advisor(s)
  • Introduce them to important campus personnel

Specific information to give new officers:

  • Job descriptions of officers and membership
  • Constitution and Bylaws
  • Description of committees
  • Resource or contact list of important/helpful people
  • Organization member and phone lists
  • Calendar of annual events (rough estimate of what happens each month)
  • Reservation confirmations (for meetings of special events)
  • Mission, or purpose statement of organization
  • List of goals for organization
  • List of expectation of members
  • Financial reports (Treasurer's Manual)
  • Status reports on current and continuing projects
  • Meeting minutes and agendas

In addition to these suggestions, try having a retreat. This will not only help each position get to know their responsibilities, it will also help the new people see how each position functions as a part of a team. It can include outgoing officers or just new ones. Things to include during this retreat include icebreakers, evaluation/discussion of year's events, officer exchanges. Check out Points of Leadership on "Ice Breakers", or "Planning a Retreat" for ideas or contact the Student Life Center.

Utilize your advisor and be sure to spend time establishing what the next year should bring the organization

Organizational Skills

Time is limited…and once it is gone, it's gone!!! Being organized can help you make the most of your time by completing tasks faster and more deliberately.

Five Steps of Organization

  1. Set goals
    In order to get anything done on time, you should always have goals in mind.
  2. Set Short Term Objectives to Reach These Goals
    Make a list of everything that needs to be done to achieve your goal (a To Do List-see below).
  3. Set Priorities
    Make a list from most important to least important.
  4. Keep a Calendar for Each Day
    Include time for yourself and time for the unexpected.
  5. Act
    Be consistent and follow your planned schedule, otherwise you'll find yourself falling behind.

To Do List

Steps in Developing your "To Do" List

  • List everything that has a high priority today and may not get done without special permissions.
  • Look over your list, prioritize by giving each item and "A", "B", or "C". Put aside the "C"s for now.
  • Taking a look at your "A" and "B" items, prioritize those by giving the top ranked item "A1", the next item "A2", and so on. Repeat this step with the "B" items.
  • You now have a prioritized list. Complete task "A1", then "A2", and so on. If you have a few minutes and can sneak a "C" in there, do it!

Things to Consider

  • Think about when your prime time of the day is (the time where you can work/concentrate most effectively). Plan to do you "A1"s and "A2"s during this time.
  • Some days you may get everything done on your list and other days you may just get through the "A"s. One rarely reaches the bottom of a to-do list.
  • It's not completing the list that is important, but rather making the best use of your time.
  • Plan and write the objectives/activities that will get you closer to your long-term goals. They need to be part of your to-do list, too.
  • Make sure your to-do list includes personal time. You deserve it. Take 10-15 minutes to get recharged. Take a walk, read a magazine, get away from your work. You'll be better for it.
  • Three questions to ask yourself when re-evaluating how you spend your time:
    1. Am I spending time on something less important than on something more important?
    2. Am I spending most of each day moving towards or closer to my goals (at least 5 minutes per day)?
    3. Of the time I spend in what I have to do, how much is really important? In so far as I can choose, am I living the life I really want to live?

Planning a Retreat

Advantages of a Retreat vs. a Regular Meeting

  • Eliminates daily distractions
  • Provides extended discussion
  • Creates shared experiences
  • Fosters informality
  • Maximizes participation
  • Motivational impact

Planning a Retreat

When planning a retreat, there are a number of things that need to be considered:

  • What do you want to accomplish? (new member orientation, team building, goal setting, problem-solving, etc.)
  • What is your budget? Keep the following in mind:
    • Location (member's home, camp, hotel)
    • Recreation (plan for some "free time")
    • Transportation
    • Equipment (notebooks, handouts, TV/VCR)
    • Food and beverages
    • Length of retreat (one day, overnight, weekend)
  • Who should attend? (all members, only officers, advisor)
  • What is on the agenda? (Distribute agendas ahead of time so members are prepared and know what to expect.)
  • Who will do what? Form a committee to plan the retreat and divide up the tasks. For example:
    • Reserve location, coordinate transportation
    • Set-up/clean-up crews
    • Purchase food or make food arrangements
    • Recreation/Game coordinator
    • Cooking crews
    • Workshop facilitators (outside people)

    Time Line for Planning a Retreat

    1. At least two months in advance, you should:
      • Decide on the exact date and make sure that there are no major conflicts
      • Reserve your retreat site
      • Inform all retreat participants
      • Appoint committee heads to be in charge of particular parts of the retreat
    2. At least one month in advance, you should:
      • Determine the format of the retreat
      • Contact any outside resource people/presenters
      • Have any liability or health forms completed (check with the Student Life Office for questions)
    3. Two weeks in advance you should:
      • Send letters to members, giving them necessary information (costs, travel arrangements, what to bring, etc.)
      • Duplicate agendas, maps and any other handouts needed
      • Round up any equipment or visual aid you might need
      • Make final arrangements for meals if you're providing your own (shopping list, who shops, etc.)
    4. One week in advance you should:
      • Contact the retreat site to finalize arrangements
      • Have the final committee meetings and be sure all people in charge know what they are responsible for
      • Make a checklist of who is to bring what
    5. The day before the retreat you should:
      • Check with committee heads for last-minute problems
      • Rest, so that you will be fresh and enthusiastic for the retreat!


    Putting on fun, successful, or even crazy events can be easy. The secret is to be creative, use your ideas and pay attention to details. Here are just a few possible event ideas to get those creative juices flowing!

    • Hold a Services Fair involving the campus and community. Set up tables and have student and community representatives. Brainstorm ideas that include haircuts, massage, house cleaning, auto maintenance, laundromats, dry cleaning, storage rentals, fitness centers, etc. Have people there to answer questions about their services. Provide a drawing for donated prizes.
    • Laundromat Night-Select a local Laundromat and ask the management for a campus night. You could give away food prizes. Check into discounted prices on laundry for students with a current ID. Have live music!
    • Offer dancing lessons (country line dancing, ballroom, swing, etc.)
    • Have a karaoke night.
    • Sponsor a fortune-teller, palm reader, or astrologer to come to campus to demonstrate his/her skills. This could even be a fund-raiser.
    • Conduct a faculty/staff appreciation day and recognize those who make the campus run. Give out apples or donated prizes from area businesses.
    • Stage a pet show. Work with the area humane societies and show some of the pets available for adoption.
    • Get involved with "traditions" and high profile events such as involvement fair, homecoming, family day, the blood drive, etc. Be visible at these well-attended events!

    Recognizing Members

    It is very important for the members of your group to feel they are making a positive contribution. By recognizing them for their specific contributions, you not only let them know that you value their work, you also motivate them to do more. In addition, you will build a sense of loyalty and dedication to the group.

    Guidelines For Effective And Rewarding Recognition:

    • Match the reward to the person
    • Start with the individual's personal preferences; reward him or her in ways he or she truly finds rewarding.
    • Match the reward to the achievement
    • Take into account the time, effort and significance of the achievement.
    • Be timely and specific
    • To be most effective, rewards need to be given as soon as possible after the achievement. In addition, always say why the reward is being given.
    • Reward publicly and privately.

    Tips on Recognizing Members

    • Hold an annual awards banquet (or semester). Give certificates and/or plaques for members' contributions. (Have some gag gifts, too.)
    • Throw a party or social just for your organization. Have great food and music!
    • Create a traveling "member of the month" award.
    • Arrange for freebies for members. Have a raffle at each meeting.
    • Invite members to attend executive board meetings.
    • Write letters to the members and/or their families telling them what a difference they are making on campus and in the organization.
    • Write thank-you notes to members often.
    • Send birthday cards and celebrate birthdays together. Also celebrate any other special occasions.
    • Recognize personal accomplishments publicly.
    • Always recognize members by name, in the newspaper or by introducing them at events or programs.
    • Have a weekly "Most Valuable Member".
    • Nominate members for the WCTC Leadership Awards as well as for other awards and scholarships.
    • Do a spotlight on one of your members on a regular basis either in your own newsletter, or a College Center display case.
    • Put your group photo in the newsletter. Give each member a framed copy of the picture.

    Recruiting New Members

    It is important to remember that everything you do has a recruiting effect. Students will make decisions to join your group based on what they see and hear about your group. Therefore, recruiting is a 365-day process. Be prepared to always encourage students to join your group.

    • Personal contact is more effective than 1,000 flyers and newspaper advertisements. Students join organizations because they like the students they find there. Nothing can replace the simple act of getting to know someone and asking him or her to join.
    • Participate in new student orientation any way you can. Contact Student Life Office to find out about potential events or activities. Schedule times to pass out flyers and pamphlets to students (in addition to the Involvement Fair).
    • Always take photos at meetings and events, then put together a scrapbook or display for prospective members to see. Reserve a display case in the College Center to show it off. Remember: A picture is worth a thousand words!!
    • Create a "theme" around recruiting. Catch students' attention with some type of slogan and they will want to know more.
    • Have information about your group accessible at all of your programs and events.
    • Create a web page highlighting your organization. Include photos, information about how to join, and allow people to e-mail responses. Contact the Student Life Center about establishing a web page.
    • Don't expect a student to find the motivation to come to a meeting across campus in a room full of people they don't know. Offer to meet the person beforehand and walk together to the meeting. At the meeting, personally introduce them to others in the group.
    • Two words: free food. Getting a few students together and inviting a prospective member out for pizza can be the best event you will ever have! Snacks at the meetings offer an added incentive for people to return.
    • When someone has expressed an interest in getting involved to any degree, immediately get him or her involved and give them a meaningful task to do. Create work "buddies" by pairing up experienced members with new members so tasks can be delegated with support.
    • Co-sponsor events so that your name will get out more. Co-sponsoring activities will not only bring prospective members, but it will also strengthen support for your events from the community.
    • Utilize nametags and/or icebreakers for all meetings where potential and/or new members are present.
    • Make your meetings fun. They'll come back for more if they enjoyed themselves the first and second time.

    Team Building

    Team Building exercises are important in establishing or keeping a group together. They are different from ice breakers because they require an individual to share more than normal or to step our of their comfort zone.

    When to Use Team Building Exercises:

    • A new group is formed
    • New members have joined the group
    • Members have been apart for while (i.e., after breaks)
    • Members seem apathetic or irritable
    • Members appear to be going off in different directions
    • Members are drifting away from the group
    • There is a great deal of conflict
    • You want a break from the normal routine
    • You want to boost team spirit
    • The organization is not functioning as a team
    • Organizational goals need to be focused on
    • Sample Team Building Exercise


    1. Ask for two volunteers and tell them to go across the room and have a 3-5 minute conversation about anything they would like. Tell them the following: "Try to discuss something that is meaningful to both of you. Talk in very low voices. The rest of us are not supposed to be able to hear you. If we can hear you, I'll clap my hands. The clap will be a signal that you should lower your voices.
    2. Tell the rest of the group the following: "We are going to eavesdrop on the conversation that these two are having. However, since we won't be able to hear them, we'll have to use other means for guessing what they are discussing. Observe them closely; look at their nonverbal behaviors and body language. Try to guess what they are talking about."
    3. Let the conversation begin.
    4. After the conversation is stopped, ask the observers to write what they believe the conversation was about.
    5. Have the observers take turns reading aloud what they wrote. Once that is done, ask the volunteers to explain what they were talking about.
    6. Ask the following questions:
      • What nonverbal behaviors and body language cues did you note as the reason for your guess?
      • Who guessed correctly and why?
      • Who was wrong and why?
      • How did the volunteers choose their topic?
      • How did it feel (the volunteers) to know that others were eavesdropping on your conversation?
      • What have you learned about nonverbal behavior and body language?
    7. Repeat steps 3-6 with other volunteers.

    Fill in the Blank

    1. Have members sit in a circle (split large groups into smaller groups).
    2. As you read the following open-ended statements, have each member fill in the rest of the statement (one at a time).
      • You may want to take notes to refer to later.
      • I joined this organization because…
      • The biggest asset I bring to this organization is…
      • My biggest fear about what can happen this semester in this organization is…
      • Last semester, I was most proud of our organization for…
      • I feel the organization could have done __________ better last semester.
      • The other members of this organization can expect ________ from me.
      • It is important to me that this organization accomplish…

    Note: Sometimes it is more effective to have an outsider facilitate the team building so that all members can work together. Problem-solving team builders can be especially helpful and are usually experiential.

    Working with Your Advisor

    The advisor can be an integral part of every student organization. As a member of the faculty/staff of WCTC, the primary function of the advisor is to actively advise, counsel, and serve as a resource for your group. Advisors should ask questions that allow you (the leader) to consider possible alternatives and make appropriate comments and suggestions. By doing this, the advisor can assist you and your group's members in looking at all angles or a considered action. This help can strengthen the organization and help you to fulfill your objectives.

    The role of an advisor varies, and should be talked about. The scope of an organization's activities, the effectiveness of its officers, the time commitments of the advisor, as well as other factors determine the level of involvement the advisor will have with the group. An advisor should be committed to the group's success (as with any member), and should ever be resigned to only serve as a signatory on forms.

    The pattern of teamwork between an advisor and the organization must be individually tailored to the personalities and needs of both parties. Some guidance is necessary in developing such a relationship. Here are some tips to guide you in your relationship with your group's advisor:

    • Establish a clear understanding of what is expected of the advisor, of the organization and its members. Set up a time to discuss this at length. Involve the organization's leaders in this discussion. Talk about the purpose of the group and its needs; determine what the advisor has to offer, then agree on the nature of the relationship. Put in writing and refer to it and/or review it annually.
    • It is the responsibility of the organization to communicate its needs to the advisor.
    • Advisors should be willing to be involved with the organization, however, they are there to advise (not dictate) a specific course of action.
    • Establish lines of communication. Find the best way to keep the flow of information moving smoothly between your group and the advisor. Check with the advisor for times when he/she can meet with the organization. Ask the advisor what information he or she would like to receive on a regular basis (i.e., minutes, event announcements, etc.) and check to see it is sent. Remember there are many ways to communicate: face to face, in writing, by the phone, by voice mail, or e-mail.
    • It's OK for the advisor to say "NO". They have additional responsibilities outside of their commitment to the group that do not always permit giving undivided attention. You may extend an invitation, but should not be offended if the advisor cannot attend.
    • Ask your advisor what type of talents he or she has to offer. Recognize that the advisor is a resource person with a wealth of expertise. Ask for their opinions, advice, and creative ideas.
    • An advisor is an integral part of the organization, but not always an official member. The advisor's job is to coach, participate, and guide the organization in its function, not necessarily to perform tasks for the group.