Student Organizations Survival Mode

 

            Radford offers many opportunities for its students both academic and extracurricular, enhancing the educational experience of Radford University.  From research opportunities to clubs specified down to a small hobby, students can find their niche at Radford University. Despite it all, NAACP and the Minority Achievement Program have been able to make better strides this year with their new changes. 

            Many organizations struggle to survive on campus because of the lack of membership.   A Club Fair is held every fall and spring semester with the fall fair being the most active and more heavily advertised event.  All 240 organizations participate in the event held on Heth lawn and Muse Quad.   All of them have their own tables where students can write their email addresses down if they are interested and give out small favors to passersby.  The chaos of all the clubs can be overwhelming, according to some students.  

            “I think they need to see which clubs are actually active and determine who gets to participate in the Club Fair.” said Senior Chameka Day. “I am overwhelmed with all of the clubs on this campus.  I think some of the clubs should be social groups outside of the university because they are too specific. They may not have the same interest in the next school year. “

            In order to be considered an “active” club, organizations are required to submit membership to the RUInvolved website to the portal by an assigned date.   When in the process of starting a club or revamping one, there are many steps taken to get back to active status such as writing a Constitution, presenting potential members to the Student Affairs Office, and finding an advisor.  

            Radford’s chapter of the NAACP has recently been through this process and has revitalized an organization that was once before inactive.  The NAACP was brought back to active status is September 2012, it was part of the many changes that happened in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion Office.   NAACP was able to get their active membership up, establish an executive council with an advisor, and provide numerous programs to all students.   NAACP President, Junior Jonathan Hunter believes that NAACP is going in a positive direction.  

            “We have a really great advertising committee,” Jonathan Hunter said.

            NAACP has been heavily dependent upon advertising for their success in the past semester.  They hosted a program called “Do You Belong?” where students were able to discuss the problems minorities face on Radford’s campus.   The event packed out a Heth meeting room with more than 30 people who had lots to say.  They were also instrumental in planning the MLK Commemoration celebration with Tavis Smiley and Cornell West that packed out Preston Hall.  

            Negligent executive boards and lack of funds are also reasons why organizations become inactive.  Without funds, organizations cannot provide the programs they would like to do and negligent executive boards make the progression of an organization stagnant when they aren’t on top of deadlines, and do not utilize the general body to help with tasks.  

            “Getting genuinely hardworking candidates was a challenging part of the process,” said Jonathan.

            Funding for small events isn’t as challenging as student leaders may think.   Some try to raise funds through their own fundraisers that yield minimum results.  The Club Programming Committee is a committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff who grant funds to organizations on campus who do not have budgets.   Organizations apply for the funds and the committee reviews the application where a representative of the organization will explain the use of the funds.   Applications are accepted 4 to five weeks in advance of the event.  

            Although such resources are available, the Club Programming Committee doesn’t freely provide the funds to all organizations.  Organizations get a limit on funding for every year; they are allowed up to $4,000 in funding.   

            “I think CPC serves its purpose, I think they give enough money for the smaller organizations, “ Diversity Awareness Programming President Nick Mills said.

            Organizations spring up out of older ideas like the RISE-Up program. This organization is a mentoring program for freshmen and incoming transfer students. It is a revamp of the Minority Achievement Program (MAP). Upperclassmen students were assigned someone mentor and help adjust to the Radford environment.

            MAP was rebranded to get a fresh start instead of building upon the organization that struggled after the departure of Center for Diversity and Inclusion Director, Adrien DeLoach. With a new mission, constitution, purpose, and membership requirements, RISE-Up has big plans for the upcoming fall semester.  

            “We’re actually planning a kick off event for the fall semester. “said Vice President Brittani Sanford. “It’s going to be a festival, we’re going to put ourselves in a place where we’ll be seen. “

            Success of student organizations is dependent upon the ambition and tenacity of the executive boards.   Crasha Perkins, director of Center for Diversity and Inclusion believes that students should be more aware of resources that they have available with the use of creativity.  The overuse of flyers and table tents will not always be effective to get an organization good exposure.  Ambitious student visionaries are also important to the success of an organization. 

            “I would like to say that my organization helped unite the African American culture on Radford’s campus, it built us up as a people,” Jonathan said. 

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