Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Alexa Greer, International Vice President for Division 4.
Happy New Year, Phi Theta Kappans! While I don’t necessarily believe in New Year’s Resolutions, I see January as a time for reflection and intention-setting in both my personal life and professional life. It’s a time to adjust our priorities, people and plans so they can align with our greater purpose, be it our personal missions, career goals or simply getting through the school year smoothly.
I’m sure many of you are jumping back into your spring semester. In the following weeks, I suggest you get together with your chapter and have a conversation about the direction you’d like to go as the year continues.
Identify a Need
Whether you are a chapter that’s just starting out, or an established chapter with a full team of officers, there are always areas of opportunity to build from. Have a conversation with your chapter — try and get faculty members or your college president involved if possible. Are there opportunities on campus for PTK to get involved and make a difference with students? Are there vacant officer positions that need to be filled? Do new officers feel comfortable with their job responsibilities? Are community college advisors educated on what PTK does so they can mention it to new students?
Once you’ve identified the needs of your chapter, it’s important to set a broad intention and make sure everyone on board understands why what you’re doing is important. Krisee Bailey, the Regional President of Virginia/West Virginia Region, said her region has set an intention of making outreach a priority on their campuses.
Once your team has done some intention-setting and set a couple of broad goals to accomplish, it’s time to fine-tune what it will take to deliver on those intentions. Sandra Lunday-Dihlmann, co-advisor for Beta Gamma Chi, noted that her chapter intends to use less plastic this year. Beta Gamma Chi will do this by making food for their meetings rather than buying pre-packed foods, using reusable plastic water bottles when possible, and refilling existing cleaning bottles rather than buying new supplies for the chapter.
Once you’ve set your overarching intentions and the concrete goals that will get you there, it’s important to establish accountability to make sure everyone can stick to the plan. This can be done by assigning officers and members tasks that correlate with their specialties. Making sure up front that everyone understands their duties and can fulfill them leads to a smooth transition into the spring semester.
Furthermore, as the semester continues, be sure to find individuals who are willing to take the place of outgoing officers. Provide them with training so they come into the following semester ready to start making changes on campus and within your region. I especially love this from Jason Ward, Regional Vice President of the Rocky Mountain Cascade Region: “I will not judge my time as an officer by the results of my year, but by the results of those that come after me.”