Month: September 2017


Educational Program of the Month
Fall RHA Leadership Training Day

School: University of Maryland, College Park Region: CAACURH
Person in charge: Val Kologrivov Nominator: Rick Mikulis

Target Population: 120 Time Needed to Organize: 1 month
Number of People in Attendance: 80 Date(s) of Program: 9/17/2017
Number of People Needed to Organize: 8 Cost of Program: $1000
On-Campus Population: 12500 Chapter Size: 125

Origin of Program:

Dating back at least ten years, the RHA Fall Leadership Training Day (LTD) is a one-day leadership development conference for all the members of RHA. It serves as a companion program to the Welcome Reception; the two events together mark the beginning of the year for the RHA. But while the Welcome Reception is a celebration of the new year and new members, LTD is a chance to impart some leadership skills onto the membership.

The program is designed from the ground up to give the student leaders specific skills for their position, as well as more generalized skills for success within RHA, the University of Maryland, and student leadership as a whole. The components were created based on feedback from the previous ten years’ worth of LTDs and have developed over time into an effective slate of workshops.

The planning for this year’s LTD began about a month prior to the event. The NCC coordinated submissions of outlines for the workshops and worked with the presenters to fully develop their ideas. The location for the event was quickly booked, the food was efficiently purchased, and the invitations were sent out as soon as the new RHA members were elected.

Word Count: 200

Please give a short description of the program:

The 2017 RHA Fall LTD was hosted in the Cambridge Community Center on September 17. Students arrived between 12:45pm and 1:00pm, signed in on laptops, received a nametag, then proceeded to a large room for the welcome and schedule overview. From 1:00pm to 1:30pm, the RHA executive board explained the schedule for the day, once again welcomed the new members to RHA, and offered some opportunities for the members, including attending the CAACURH Regional Leadership Conference and applying to join the Jim Henson Chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary.

Following the welcome for the day, students moved to a different room to do some large teambuilders from 1:30-2:25. Some broke us out of councils and encouraged us to meet other members of RHA.

After the team-builders, we moved into positional sessions from 2:30- 3:30. This was a chance for everyone with the same position across RHA to meet with an executive board member with a similar position. For instance, all the council presidents met with the executive board president and the VPs of Communication and Marketing met with the Public Relations and Outreach Officer.

The first general session followed the positional session and ran from 3:35-4:35. Councilmembers spread out across the five program options, which were as follows:

-The Facilitation Factor: A reconsideration of the student leader approach to team scenarios and group dynamics

-The Leadership Compass: Discovering one’s leadership “direction”, including strengths and challenges

-Take a Step Back and Breathe: Dealing with and helping others deal with stress

-Inclusive Language Campaign: Developing an understanding of inclusive language

-Recognize Campus Contributions with OTMs: Learn how to write winning OTMs

The second general session (4:40-5:40) offered these programs:

-I’ve Got A Really Big Team: Developing a winning group dynamic

-Student Policy Advocacy: Utilizing RHA resources to propose policy reform

-Leaders Who Listen: Developing skills for effectively gathering opinions

-Connecting Leaders Across the Nation: Understanding RHA’s role within CAACURH and NACURH

-Put the “I” in Diversify: Discussion on representing diverse groups

From 5:45-6:15, councils were given planning time to set goals for the whole year, schedule their regular meeting date and time, and begin work on their first events and initiatives.

The conclusion of the day (and everyone’s favorite) was dinner at 6:15, catered by Qdoba. During this time, attendees were asked to fill out an evaluation for the day, upon completion of which they were eligible for prizes in a raffle.

Word Count: 400

Goals of the program:

For many of our members, their new position within their hall or area council is also their first experience with student leadership. As such, one of the five core missions of the RHA at the University of Maryland is to focus on leadership development. Through the diverse slate of general sessions that challenged the students to take a more active role within their council, campus, and community, as well as through the specific skills gained in the positional session, and even some of the lessons to be learned from some of the team-builders, this goal was met during the Leadership Training Day.

Another large goal of the program was to build connections within and across councils. Research has proven that when individuals feel connected to the people in their teams, they are consistently more productive, have higher morale, and challenge themselves more. By breaking down the barriers between councils through the team builders and during sessions, RHA members met many potential friends and collaborators. During council planning time and dinner, each hall and area councils’ members bonded with each other and their advisor, setting the tone for a very productive year. As such, this goal was successfully met as well.

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Positive and lasting effects of the program:

The number one indicator of the success of the program was the general morale and vibe that the student leaders were feeling. Everywhere I went during the Leadership Training Day, the vast majority of the RHA members were smiling. They knew that even though they were required to learn things on a Sunday, they were learning things that mattered to them and would push them towards being a stronger leader. They will associate that positive energy with the soft and hard skills they learned, which will empower them to continue using those skills and developing them more through application.

The other major lasting impact is that the skills the student leaders gained will help to create a better residential experience. For the students that learned how to be a more effective facilitator, their meetings will be more efficient, thus allowing for more work to be done for the residents. For the students that learned more about policy and advocacy, the campus will be better off, thanks to the initiative that they will show this year. For each leader, the information they gained from the general and positional sessions will allow them to better serve their residents and contribute to campus.

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Short evaluation of the program:

Evaluation is a crucial aspect of hosting any program, especially a semi-annual tradition like the Leadership Training Day. As such, effective evaluation methods are used throughout the entire event. After each general session and positional session, the attendees were asked to fill out a short evaluation about the content, presenter(s), and relatability of the program. At the end of the day, all of the attendees filled out a general evaluation form for the entirety of the Leadership Training Day. While I have not seen the results from any of these evaluations because I am not on the RHA executive board, I know based on my interactions with other attendees that the results are predominantly positive. In addition, I fully expect the RHA to take the more constructive comments seriously and implement their feedback, because adjusting to past feedback has become an important part of the planning process for each Leadership Training Day.

Based on my own experience at this event, this Leadership Training Day was fantastic. The executive board members were poised and relaxed, the day flowed smoothly (ahead of schedule, even), and the attendees had a great time learning new leadership techniques that are applicable to their new roles.

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How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

Leadership Training Day can absolutely be brought to other campuses. RHAs looking to adopt this program need only to reserve a location, solicit program submissions from within their membership or from related campus groups, order food, and implement the program. Depending on the size of the RHA, the location should be adjusted, as should the amount of food ordered. To receive good program submissions, it’s encouraged that institutions provide example outlines of other successful workshops, or choose an executive board member to work with people intending to submit programs to help each one be the best it can be.

This event does not by nature need to remain exclusive to RHA. If it would work better for a different campus to combine with their NRHH chapter for the event, then that is certainly possible. Campuses with smaller RHAs or NRHHs may consider opening the event to all resident students, thus giving back directly to the residents by offering them formalized leadership training. Leadership development is crucial to any organization, and while our RHA’s Fall Leadership Training Day was incredibly well-run this year, any institution should feel comfortable taking the parts they like and molding it to better suit their needs.

Word Count: 200

Date of entry into database: 2017-09-20 02:32:13

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