Month: January 2019


Student Staff Member of the Month

School: Washington University in St. Louis Region: MACURH
Nominee: Whitney Thomas Nominator: Cait Zona

On-Campus Population: 5100 Chapter Size: 29

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

Whitney Thomas, a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, is a paid, student staff member for Ursa’s, Wash U’s late-night programming board. Whitney is one of Ursa’s Public Relations Managers and specifically works on the organization’s social media, promotions, and strategic marketing. Because Ursa’s has weekly programs, Whitney’s role is imperative in order to reach students, inform them on the event details, and increase the brand of Ursa’s. In January, Whitney took her position to another level.

During Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, after the first week of classes, the Ursa’s Board convened for their semester retreat. The team was given the general retreat topics at the end of fall semester and was encouraged to request any additional sessions to cover topics the board may need. The student staff members were also given the opportunity to present a session if they felt comfortable and were passionate about a topic. Whitney was eager to participate! Through her academic studies in Psychology and Marketing, Whitney has a lot of applicable knowledge that allows her to study Ursa’s promotion habits, attendance numbers, and other sources of public relations.

Throughout January, during her winter break, Whitney prepared a public relations and strategic marketing session for her fellow board members. As her graduate adviser, I checked in on Whitney prior to the retreat to see if she needed any assistance but Whitney had her session planned and ready to be executed. Whitney had been using her time off academics to collect data from the events hosted in the fall semester to be able to provide the Ursa’s board the most accurate breadth of the information.

For Ursa's January retreat, Whitney was the only student to present. After lunch Whitney displayed the PowerPoint that she made and had prepared almost an hour’s worth of information. Prior to, Whitney made an anonymous poll that was sent to all students that had attended an event in the fall semester. Her poll included questions regarding how they found out about events, if they would recommend the organization to other students, what ideas they had for the new semester, and more. As these responses came in, Whitney evaluated them and comprised visual representations to better explain the answers to the entire board. The information from this poll proved to be a huge asset to our retreat. The students were able to hear from the peers they had served at recent events.

Not only was Whitney’s presentation able to inform us about the percentage of growth our organization has seen, but she also included interactive material that allowed other students on the board to ask questions and be engaged. A component of her session was dedicated to eliciting feedback from the board members in order to make her position as useful as possible to her colleagues.

Through the planning and execution of Whitney’s retreat session, she made it clear that she knew how much her position affected the entire organization and she wanted to take the initiative to see it grow. For all of the outstanding work that Whitney put in over break and during the retreat, I believe Whitney Thomas should be recognized for January’s Student Staff Member.

Word Count: 529

Date of entry into database: 2019-02-01 15:02:59

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