Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just because...

It's pretty common for new student leaders to want change. They come into their positions and have lots of ideas about how to improve their organizations.

Unfortunately, a lot of time the "change" is just for the heck of it. They just want to make their mark without doing any research to prove the change is wanted or needed.

An example: I just saw that the SGA at St. Cloud State University is not only changing its constitution (I'm guessing that at least half of SGs across America change their constitutions each year), but they're actually changing their name.

If their name were "student parliament" or "Student Council" (which brings up memories of high school), I could understand. But they're changing from the very-clear name "Student Government Association" to "Student Association."

My experience is that now they'll have to explain that Student Association is the student government for SCSU. Changing from SGA, which is clear to everyone who sees Student Government Association, to Student Association will muddy the waters for this organization. They'll have to spend time explaining to students, administrators, faculty, and staff that they are the student government.

In the newspaper article I read about this upcoming change, I saw no evidence whatsoever that the SGA there made any effort to determine if fellow students were having trouble understanding their name or their role. I saw no proof that they surveyed anyone, had a marketing class conduct research or focus groups, or anything beyond "let's change because..."

They're making a major, major change (your name is about as major a change as you can make) without any research to prove that it is either needed or warranted.

Making a change "just because" is just not good leadership.