Friday, September 19, 2008

A week to go...

Yesterday, our team shipped the rest of the materials that we'll be using at our upcoming National Student Government Summit in Washington, D.C. It's the largest Student Government conference in the nation.

It takes months of planning and hard work to produce an event of this magnitude. Nearly all of ASGA's "headquarters" staff is coming to pitch in. Compared to our regional conferences, we have more than four times the number of speakers, workshops, and even days (this is a four-day conference, while our regionals are one-day events).

It was exciting yesterday to see the last of the boxes head out.

Last night, when I was with the family doing a little shopping, I noticed the time-- 7:03 p.m. I told everyone that one week from now, our conference video introduction would be playing and we would be starting the conference!

The National Student Government Summit is by far ASGA's biggest and most exciting event. And as it grows (all four years it has grown in number of participants, speakers, and workshops), it becomes more of a challenge to manage. But our team works hard and we get better at planning. We're learning all the time, just like our "constituents," Student Government leaders and advisors.

We're an organization that continually tries to grow and improve.

For those of you who are coming to DC next week, thanks. You're in for a great time and will learn a lot. See you in DC!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Transitioning well is key

Just got back from a weekend in South Carolina working with an ASGA member institution. The SGA there has a history of ineffectiveness and tons of turnover. Only five officers/members return from last year and the rest have no SGA experience.

If you're at a school like this, where SGA is basically reinvented every year, it should be a priority this year for you to work hard on "transitioning." What does this mean?

Everything you do in your position should be "captured." You should write down the time you spend on a project, the contacts you make, the difficulties you encounter, the progress you have, the enemies you make, the friends who help you, and more. Basically, you're getting a snapshot of what your job really entails and what your time committment really looks like. This will help your successor get up to speed more more quickly. He/she won't be fumbling around trying to learn what to do. You will have outlined their responsibilities and expectations already.

I see this "transition" material being stored electronically so that if you lose a notebook, all of this work won't be gone forever. Ideally, you would store this at your SGA web site, assuming you have one (if you don't have one, it's time to make that happen!). Or you could store this in your profile at the ASGA web site. ASGA stores vast data on every student government in the nation.

Remember how you felt when you came into office and didn't have a clue about what you're supposed to do next? You can make it so much easier for your successor by keeping track of all that you say, do, and work on during your term of office.

Transitioning is key to having an effective student government.