It is not an easy job to have a leadership position in an RSO. And now, in the age where COVID has changed everyone’s lives, it seems as though leading your way through an organization is that much tougher. Especially with almost a full two years of our lives dedicated to protecting ourselves from COVID by social distancing and wearing masks, many people do not have enough experience interacting with others in group organizations. But, hope is not lost. It is still completely possible to navigate your way through an RSO in a leadership position through a pandemic. In my opinion, there are three essential key factors that will help you shine as a leader in your RSO.
First, the biggest challenge is communication. It influences a lot within an organization to have things run smoothly, but it is also the biggest factor in being successful as a leader. As the current Professional Chair for my Professional Fraternity, it is essential that I am constantly in contact with my fellow executive board members, or else, nothing would be planned and everything would be very disorganized. Being able to communicate with the rest of the members of the organization and give them the right information for them to benefit the most from the organization is a key leadership role. So whether you are still hosting events online or in-person, having a solid method of communication with all members (i.e., Discord, GroupMe, iMessage, etc.), communication needs to be established.
Second, be creative. One difficulty I ran into planning professional events for my organization was the balance between staying safe from COVID while also trying to provide the most engaging event. Many of us have grown accustomed to hosting zoom sessions and participating in events through online platforms. So, utilizing those platforms while also pairing them with outside events to keep members safe is a good way to provide in-person interactions for members while also providing a flexible option. Additionally, there are plenty of ways to be creative with new in-person events that can work in a safely distanced area. For outside events, things like picnics where everyone brings their own snacks, masked speed-friending, and playing games on the quad are all social ways to have members get to know each other. Although COVID has put a hindrance on the usual planning of events, there are ways to get around it if you have creative, innovative ideas.
Lastly, gaining feedback. Asking for opinions on your ideas and how events have gone at the beginning of the semester and throughout is a good way to understand what people enjoy and do not enjoy. Asking members what events they would like to see and would like to participate in at the beginning of the semester will help you craft the events they need to get planning and execute. And gaining feedback after each event will help you understand what you need to change in the future and will also give you a better approach to leading the events.
Yes, COVID is a difficult period to find ways to make your RSO engaging, but it is not a lost cause. Communicating effectively with others, thinking of creative ideas, and gaining constant feedback are a recipe for success. Additionally, if you are having trouble with planning some events, always remember the vast number of resources available to you through the RSO and on campus. Take risks because many of us are looking for something exciting and new right now, so take that leap of faith – who knows, you might have the next best idea!