By Kara Spada (Ohio State University) and Reema Domadia (University of Maryland), UNA-USA Interns
As our UNA-USA campus chapters head back to school this fall, we are looking forward to an exciting year! With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals this September, it couldn’t be more important to make sure you start off the year on the right foot. Below, find a few tips from seasoned campus leaders to help you get started.
Assemble an Executive Board
If you haven’t already, recruit staff and board members and thoroughly outline the duties of each position to avoid redundancy and oversight. If you are the chapter leader, reach out to all the members of your executive team and check in on how they are doing throughout the semester- but don’t forget to have some fun!To increase cooperation amongst the executive board, create fun hangouts to not only plan upcoming events, but also to increase camaraderie within the team. Be sure to frequent the GenUN website for meeting and event ideas. Lastly, be sure to have a plan for succession to ensure the chapter can survive in an emergency situation.
Prepare for the Campus Involvement Fair
Back to school means it’s time for everyone’s favorite freshman gathering! Schools’ involvement fairs usually take place in August or September, so start preparing your chapter’s table. Many schools require pre-registration, so pay attention to deadlines and rules. Once you have a table, think of a way to make it eye catching and entertaining. Consider printing out a giant map and have tacks so that people can show where they are from or where they have traveled over the summer. Or, set up a photo booth for people to take pictures with their favorite Sustainable Development Goal! Invite all of your members to spend time at the table talking with people about their experiences and getting others interested in joining. If this isn’t your first year at the involvement fair, post pictures of past events up on a tri-board. Don’t forget to copy and print a sign in sheet so you can follow up with prospective members!
Plan out the Semester and Secure Funding
Start by thinking about GenUN focus areas. What can your chapter do to advocate and educate for Global Health, Sustainable Development, Girls and Women, and Peace and security? Take a look at the UN’s calendar of celebration and read through our Stories from the Field blog and Resources page to get programing ideas! The new Sustainable Development Goals are scheduled to be released in September, so look out for a toolkit on how to get your members involved! In addition, consider making a list of other student organizations that you could work with, such as UNICEF or UN Women, and think of ways to collaborate with them on future events. Lastly,, ensure sufficient funding is available for individual events. At many schools, organizations can apply for funding through the student involvement center, so make sure you’re on the lookout for those deadlines.
Update Your Contact Information with the National Office
We can’t send you awesome stuff if we don’t have an address on file! Be sure to update your contact info so we can send you all of our toolkits and program guides. Provide us with a webpage or Facebook so that we can direct people to your chapter. Contact us at email@example.com
No matter the hours and the intensity, work should always be fun! Always have a “glass half full” mindset, because optimistic leadership tends to result in an increase in productivity and positive outcomes from the team,while leaders with “glass half empty” mindset are difficult to follow. Plan events that will allow the members and the executive board to connect with one another in fun and meaningful ways.