Elon’s Lunch for Leadership guides club leaders

Photo credit Elon University website

Photo credit Elon University website

By Stephanie Butzer

Leaders gathered in the Moseley Center for Lunch for Leadership: Gathering, Assembling, and Keeping Good Members for a hearty meal and discussion about keeping members of an organization interested, coming back and contributing to the club.

The Center for Leadership hosted the assembly. The Organizational Development Director, Immanuel Bryant, introduced the agenda and Janis Baughman, director of student activities, facilitated conversation.

The Lunch for Leadership teaches organizations how to attract and keep members student club. It aims to enhance student leaders’ skills throughout the entire academic year. Lunch for Leadership is not only for club presidents; anybody who has a position of leadership can attend.

How to Keep Club Members Interested

How to Keep Club Members Interested

Many Elon clubs struggle with keeping members’ interest, especially after Winter Term and rush. Many students drop out because of the severe commitment to Greek life and cold, dark days of winter.

The attendees of Leadership for Lunch discussed ways to avoid this attendance dip and keep member morale high throughout the year.

The Organization Fair was Sept. 7 so many clubs had a fair amount of interested students, but now there was the problem of getting them to actually come out to the meetings.

Katie Hight, the director of new student orientation and the Gap Semester, was at the lunch as well.

“That’s what we’re here to talk about,” Hight said. “You’ve got this list, how do you get them together? How do you get them to buy into your organization? How do you keep them there?”

Students discussed the best ways to introduce their club. Some ideas that bounced around were to bring food, talk about successful events in the past and get them connected through email and Facebook. Many leaders advised scheduling the interest meeting this week so the clubs could begin their work.

The group agreed the best way to keep membership high was to ensure everybody has a passion for the club’s goals.

“If you all share a similar passion, your organization will be able to move forward,” Baughman said. “They’re going to keep coming back if they feel there is a reason to be there or they’re going to take something out of it.”

Leaders in each club must be extremely mission-driven. It is important to have a set goal and reach for it. They must also commit to the bigger part of the organization, and not just lead the students for the sake of leading. The group must act like an official, qualified club and respect other students and faculty as such.

“You want to make sure you’re being congruent between the values of the organization and the behavior of the organization,” Hight said.

Each club’s bylaws outline everything student must know about the club. It contains the club’s mission, officers, dates and times and what the club stands for at Elon. It also holds its members to a high standard.

“I was part of a lot of organizations when I was at Elon and some of them, unfortunately, had bylaws that were not kept up to date,” Stacey Markham, alumni, said. “It was just a document that was passed on and people didn’t really pay attention to it. I challenge anyone who is a member of an executive board to, honestly, go back and look at it to see if it needs revision or re-amping.”

Markham explained how the bylaws could be an incredibly helpful document to have, but it is not useful if its out of date and leaders cannot refer to it.

“Make your leadership position count,” Baughman said at the conclusion of the lunch. “Make it something beneficial for them and the organization overall.”

The next Leadership for Lunch will be on Oct. 3 and the group will discuss collaboration between clubs.

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