In life, things seem to be easier whenever we know what we are getting ourselves into, right? How often do we wish there was a guide to this thing called life? There are certain norms that we learn through the groups we are in or the area we grew up in, but how often do our new students come into college needing to learn different norms? As advisors, we are aware that each student is different and how we relate to each of them is different. I wish there was a guide for every situation you would encounter as an organization advisor, but sadly there is not. But there are best practices established in our field to make some decisions easier to make.
I think many of you would agree that our students these days want to know how something is going to benefit them. Why would they want to apply to join an organization that does not really have an identity? What is attracting students to your organization? With the new membership statuses, candidate membership when a student is showing interest in becoming an NRHH member. During this time, it is the chapter’s responsibility to educate them on NRHH history, OTM’s, membership qualifications and membership selection process. The chapter can decide to include chapter specific information during that time as well.
So, what does this mean for our chapters? Do we know our history? Are we confident in our OTM abilities? Do we have strong membership qualifications? Do we have a competitive selection process? Since member education is new, this is a great time to evaluate our chapters. Why? Because if we cannot educate potential new members on why they should want to join, then why would they? And if the selection process is not competitive and anyone can get in, then are they growing in their leadership or is it a résumé builder?
This year, the chapter I advise rolled out the membership education portion of candidate membership. The chapter nominated 80+ students to potentially join our chapter. We scheduled two different opportunities for students to come and learn about the NRHH chapter. We scheduled one immediately after classes and then another right after an RHA meeting. We had 18 people attend our information sessions. We used a NACURH made powerpoint and updated it to fit our institutions information. We also made bookmarks to give to students to help them through the application process.
Now that it is a requirement to educate our potential new members, our chapters should be full of people who are passionate about recognition and service. They have hopefully been given the information that is necessary to make them successful as a member in your NRHH chapter. We as advisors need to be able to support our students and help them realize the potential that their chapters have. And by adding membership education, while it seems like an extra step, it is setting up your chapter for further success.