Month: March 2019


Spotlight of the Month

School: Washington University in St. Louis Region: MACURH
Nominee: Student Leadership Work Group Nominator: Appreciative Advisor

On-Campus Population: 5100 Chapter Size: 29

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

“Live, Learn, Lead” – These are the guiding principles of Residential Life at Washington University in St. Louis, and they are seen on a regular basis. The principle of “lead” was seen in such an outstanding way in March thanks to the Student Leadership Work Group. This group was called together in January by our Executive Director to examine our residential leadership opportunities and look for improvement. And while the work group worked hard in January and February, March truly stand out as a banner month. During this month, much progress was made, and the first set of recommendations were produced. To focus the work, the work-group isolated three areas to examine: structure, curriculum/competencies, and collaboration.

Structure – the subgroup working on structure worked incredibly hard during the month of March. After creating documents detailing current structure of organizations at WashU and peer institutions, the group reached out to the peer institutions to ask for additional feedback. A series of questions were drafted asking about sequencing, strengths/weaknesses, role of Ras, etc. and the questions were sent to advisors and student leaders of each peer institution. With the previously made documents and the new feedback gained from the emails, the structure subgroup crafted a first draft of recommendations which included large changes like making RHA (CS40) available for all residential students, not just first and second years on the South 40 and smaller changes like making a formal NCC position.

Curriculum/Competencies – During March this subgroup met the most and worked very hard to begin to produce a document to guide residential leadership on WashU’s campus. The subgroup worked on several projects at once during March. They crafted a sequencing matrix for leadership opportunities and worked with the structure group to compare to those of peer institutions, and in the process helped inform recommendations for the structure group. This group also worked to isolate leadership theories that would guide the overall work of residential leadership. The group worked to amass all possible theories and began looking at which best matched institutional values and our residential curriculum. Lastly, and most impressively, the group crafted an overall mission and vision as well as learning priorities for residential leadership. For the first time Residential Leadership at WashU has a guiding philosophy and specific learning goals for all students.

Collaboration – This group certainly had a daunting task. Their goal was to identify other campus leadership initiatives and programs and look for ways to collaborate. This project was particularly challenging due to the decentralized nature of WashU, but despite this challenge the group has excelled. Lead by a campus partner from our Campus Life department and a current student leader, this group created a list of current programs and initiatives offered on campus and how current Residential Leadership can collaborate better. Students at WashU are often over programmed, so the group also looked at current programming occurring in Residential Life and Campus Life and made recommendations for future collaboration.

Independently, these three subgroups have done truly remarkable work. Each has produced documents and recommendations related to their charge during the month of March, and while admirable, the work should not and cannot be viewed independently. Only when compiled together can the true work and passion be recognized. The Residential Leadership Work Group has achieved so much in such a short period of time this past month. By working hard and making these recommendations the work group has ensured that Residential Life truly focuses on and embodies its guiding principle of “lead”, and that student leadership contributes to all three principles: “live, learn, lead”.

Word Count: 599

Date of entry into database: 2019-03-31 13:06:02

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