Beyond the basic managing of the ASO (Student Senate) itself though, there is also the role you play as the voice and representative to your College’s with a pile of students. Here are some tips for you to make the most out of your position:
Tip One: Get to know your AdministratorsEdit
Besides the normal college President and typically a few Vice Presidents, there are normally numerous Deans to the various departments. One of the first things that past Cabrillo College ASO President (Charlotte Achen) did at the start of her first term was to meet with each of these Deans individually during the summer. Why take the time to do so? These individuals hold a wealth of knowledge that can assist you in your role. For each of these interviews, I set a basic set of questions, which the advisors can help you come up with. During the interviews she wrote notes on their responses and you will be surprised at how many new questions spawn from those basic ones. Through speaking with the administrators, she also was given ideas on new projects that the Student Senate can do (renovating the cafeteria was one of these).
More importantly, meeting and becoming connected with your colleges administration gives you a vast amount of tools and the ability to direct students to where they need to go. On many occasions she had students come to the office asking a question or to give a complaint, and because of her knowledge of the college, she knew where to direct this student or where to take their complaint so that it would get the appropriate audience.
Tip Two: Get to know your ConstituentsEdit
While you have many students on your campus(es), each and every one of them you have some responsibility towards. This can seem overwhelming, but as long as you make an effort to occasionally sit down, speak to the students, get to know what their concerns are regarding what is happening with their education, you can direct this information to your Senators and also administrators.
Another avenue is, when you have the opportunity, speak to classes (not just the ones you are taking that semester) about your ASO (Student Senate). Though, this is not your sole responsibility, as it should also be one the rest of the Senate takes on. Also, if you have a Student Newsletter, you then have the ability to write a statement or blurb about what is going on at your college and this is probably the number one way that the students got to know who I was and where they could turn to.
Overall, never close your doors to any student needing assistance, and if you are busy, make sure that a Senator is there to answer their questions. We serve as the one and sometimes only avenue for the student’s voice to be heard, so please be sure to remind your Senators of this.
Tip Three: ListeningEdit
One of the most interesting tips that the past Cabrillo College ASO President(Charlotte Achen) got at the start of her term was to listen more during meetings, etc. This made sense as she began to go to more committee meetings and she found herself listening the entire time and did not feel the pressure that she had to say something. Through listening, she was able to focus more on the topics, learn the multitude of components of Cabrillo(her community college) has and see how these affect the students. Since most of these meetings happened during the summer, by the end of those 2 months she was better educated on what goes on at Cabrillo behind-the-scenes and able to ask the necessary questions that at times got to the heart of the issue. So, in short, don’t feel as if you need to speak at every meeting, just listen and never be afraid to ask questions if something does not make sense.
Tip Four: DelegationEdit
One of the greatest tools that the past Cabrillo College ASO President(Charlotte Achen) received during her terms was the power of delegation. Without delegation, you can end up being responsible for too many tasks and become overwhelmed.
As President, look to see which Senators need tasks and assign them ones. Do not worry too much on if the job will get done correctly. This does take an amazing amount of trust, which was another important lesson she had to learn pretty quickly. Without trust, you will have trouble securing the bonds with your Senators to build a strong Senate. As they watch you confide a trust in them, they typically will do the same in return.
Now, with those several tips, you have a somewhat sturdy foundation to the work you are about to do. Being President is an enormous responsibility, but a role you do not play alone, keep in mind the senators and others who both look to you as an example, but also are there to be your support during the next year.