Student Life: How to transition smoothly between officers

Student Life: How to transition smoothly between officers

Kennesaw State University’s Department of Student Life hosted an informative workshop on officer transitions within student organizations in the Carmichael Student Center on Thursday, Nov. 10.

Andrew Harvill, the associate director for Student Activities, led the presentation on how to effectively welcome new officers into student organizations. As students graduate and leave KSU, they leave behind their roles of power within organizations.

When paperwork isn’t completed and deadlines are missed, this can be a problem for the organizations, Harvill said. He discussed two strategies to promote easy officer transition: documentation preservation and officer training.

Documents and accurate records should be passed down to incoming officers to provide a reference or guide for answering questions or dealing with issues. Incoming officers should be aware of upcoming deadlines and paperwork requirements expected of the organization.

“It tells a story of the organization, because sometimes issues that we have are cyclical in nature,” Harvill said. “You can go back and look at documents on how [the organization] has tackled that.”

Student leaders should maintain both hard and digital copies of documents.

“I would recommend online storage options like Dropbox, Google Drive or Owl Life,” Harvill said. “All of these are different sites that you can store documents online safe from harm.”

Owl Life is a safe and secure place to keep documents for organizations because they can be easily accessed after officers leave the organization.

In addition to maintaining records for incoming officers to reference, Harvill recommended using some type of training to ensure certain aspects of a position do not get lost over time and to provide consistency.

Officers can make 30-, 60- and 90-day guides to help new officers keep up with the requirements of the organization. Harvill specified that incoming officers should know how to run events, including reserving a space, setting the event up and tearing it down.

The presentation ended with a transition checklist for documents to maintain and pass down as well as action items for transition. Those action items included:

  • completing officer training in Owl Life.
  • transferring ownership of social media accounts for organizations.
  • transferring ownership of any physical resources or equipment for organizations.
  • providing officer shadowing.

Harvill also suggested that organizations hold transition retreats where students can develop bonds and build relationships while discussing how to move forward with the organization.

“Having a transition retreat — in addition to training the new people how to do their jobs — can create that support network of how the unit operates in terms of responsibility,” he said.

In closing, Harvill suggested that the outgoing officers check in with their successors two weeks after the transition to answer any questions and make sure the organization is running smoothly.

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