Skip to content

by Kaitlyn Schmitt (kschmitt@gwu.edu)

“How do I start a new organization?” Student activities professionals are often asked this question. At GW, there are nearly 500 student organizations, so it’s hard to imagine there are other ideas for organizations, but our students are continuously identifying new opportunities and unmet needs. In 2016, the Center for Student Engagement implemented a new robust process for organization formation. The completely revised process has allowed us to integrate developmental checkpoints with newly formed student organizations, contributing to greater success and sustainability of new organizations.

The Philosophy

Prior to 2016, the new organization formation process was simple and informal: meet with a staff member from the CSE and submit a constitution and a roster. In general, if an organization completed these steps, they would gain recognition. Although the CSE reserved the right to decline recognition, without a formal rubric or set of standards by which to offer approval, we lacked the credibility and legitimacy to do so regularly. This led to the gratuitous approvals of redundant organizations and organizations which lacked solid strategy or leadership. Further, the informal nature of the process resulted in applications from students lacking the commitment and level of dedication required to start and run a new organization. The new process addresses this. ...continue reading "New Organization Formation: How To Set Them Up for Success [Infographic]"

by Kaitlyn Schmitt (kschmitt@gwu.edu)

In the field of student affairs, these days it seems most professionals would agree that assessment and data-based decision-making are important. But reporting results to stakeholders? That’s something we’re not so good at as a field. In the Center for Student Engagement (CSE) at George Washington University, we set out to improve how we report assessments results and tell our story - and that’s how the CSE Blog, entitled You’ve Been Engaged, was founded.

About the Blog

The Center for Student Engagement is a large department at GW consisting of 34 full-time staff covering several functional areas: residence life, housing, student involvement, Greek life, leadership education programs, outdoor education, community support for special populations, and more. The CSE Assessment Committee was formed in January 2017 to coordinate assessment efforts across the department and with the Division of Student Affairs. We noticed that while the CSE conducted a lot of assessments and gathered a lot of data, we struggled with closing the assessment loop: ensuring we were making decisions based on the data collected and reporting those results and decisions to stakeholders. To address this, in September 2017 we launched the blog, You’ve Been Engaged. ...continue reading "The First Year of the CSE Blog"

by Kaitlyn Schmitt (kschmitt@gwu.edu)

As part of their 2018 Commencement Guide, the GW Hatchet student newspaper reported on graduating student leaders' reflections on their involvement. The students discussed positive outcomes from their involvement in student organizations, including:

  • Applying skills they learned about in class to their student organizations,
  • Leveraging leadership experience in job interviews, and
  • Feeling a greater sense of belonging and community.

The Center for Student Engagement is committed to cultivating these positive outcomes through student organizations - part of why CSE staff have dedicated over 2,500 hours in the last academic year to advising student organizations. We're thrilled these students and many others have experienced these positive outcomes, and we will continue to encourage the involvement of incoming and current students to promote the opportunities to practice leadership, apply transferable skills, and feel connected to one another and to GW.

by Bob Wu (bobwu22@gwu.edu) and Kaitlyn Schmitt (kschmitt@gwu.edu)

The Joint Elections Commission (JEC) is a select group of five students responsible for administering the student body elections. Appointed in December 2017, the student members of the 2018 JEC recruited candidates, oversaw campaigning, and encouraged students to vote in elections for the Student Association, Program Board, and Class Council. This year, we undertook several new initiatives to improve the student body elections.

Comprehensive Candidate Recruitment

A campaign season is nonexistent without candidates, and this year’s Commission placed a high priority on recruiting candidates across the University’s spectrum of colleges and undergraduate and graduate populations. We employed a variety of strategies to inform students of both the ability to run for student government, and the importance it has to our campus community. In the weeks before candidate registration officially began, we created and placed individualized blurbs in each of the University’s college newsletters, informing students of the opportunity to run for office. We also tabled at the Spring Student Organization Fair and within District House, a large student hub on campus, providing handouts and additional details for interested candidates. Finally, in tandem with student government leadership, the Commission hosted three information sessions for prospective candidates to obtain campaign calendar details and receive tips from current leaders on running a successful campaign. ...continue reading "Reflections on Elections: Behind the Scenes of GW’s Student Elections"

by Kaitlyn Schmitt (kschmitt@gwu.edu)

When I was a new professional, I never expected to have an impact on the whole field of campus activities. Of course I hoped to influence my campus and its students, and I always planned to get involved in a professional association. Although, I didn’t really know what that meant or how to do it; I only knew that my professors, supervisors, and mentors all recommended getting involved professionally.

Fast forward seven years to 2018. I’ve held several volunteer roles with the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), and I currently am serving as the Chair for the Education Advisory Group (EAG), a set of 8 professionals from across the country who provide guidance on the educational priorities of the association. That means I work directly with NACA’s Director for Education and Research and other national office staff on the association’s professional development offerings. In my time on the EAG, we’ve advised on a variety of topics, including webinars, podcasts, conferences, and marketing opportunities. We conducted focus groups of members to better understand the professional development needs of the association. I developed a rubric for reviewing submissions for educational sessions to improve the quality and consistency of educational sessions at conferences, and I am currently leading the effort to update the NACA competencies for campus activities professionals. ...continue reading "Influencing the Field of Campus Activities through Volunteering with NACA"

In the CSE, we often present trainings and workshops for which we write curriculum. In order to learn how to write better, more intentional curriculum, Kaitlyn Schmitt attended the ACPA Program Design School in Dupont Circle on September 12-13, 2017. This two-day event, led by Erin Fischer of The Leadership and Training Studio, focused on improving curriculum-writing skills for both task-related curriculum and competency- or soft skills-based curriculum. The event was targeted for leadership development educators and professionals who write curriculum for training. ...continue reading "Better Curriculum from Program Design School"

In April 2017, 259 student leaders responded to the Student Organization Resources Evaluation survey. The Center for Student Engagement (CSE) used that data to make improvements to resources for student organizations, including online resources, advising, and the Excellence in Leadership Seminar (ELS). ...continue reading "Student Organization Resources Evaluation Results"

GW is committed to digital accessibility. If you experience a barrier that affects your ability to access content on this page, let us know via the Accessibility Feedback Form.