So though the program I teach in is barely a program, and my job as the ONLY person in the program is to build it up into a major, etc., there is someone - a colleague's kid, who's in my Intro class - who wants to create a student association. You know, the Undergraduate Geography Students Association kinda thing. I know this because her parent, my colleague, emailed me to ask about it.
Now, this makes me kind of tired, I have to say - I have an awful lot to do, and I don't have time to add "helping to create a student organization" to my list of duties. On the other hand, of course such an association would be great to have. I need to encourage interest and momentum around my program, and if someone else is feeling the love and the desire to do work on that, well, that's wonderful.
My problems are these:
- I was never involved in a discipline student association myself, so I have no idea what they do. I mean, I know they have movie nights and other such things - events. But what is their purpose?
- I went to an enormous, urban university where faculty never had any involvement in student organizations, so the whole concept is foreign to me. I don't know what my role would be. (In fact, for this reason, at the Uni where I was teaching two years ago I found myself quite annoyed when I was pressured by other faculty to get involved with a relevant student organization - this was entirely bizarre to me, and I thought, "Isn't the whole point of a student organization that it's for students?" I now see the assholishness of that sentiment, but anyway...)
Anyway, colleague is sending his kid my way, and I have absolutely no idea what to suggest to her about getting such a student association up and running, and about what they can do. I can envision going to a first meeting with them, helping them out with room booking, helping them brainstorm about how they see themselves, etc. Is that what one does, as a faculty advisor to a student organization?
Also, where do these kinds of student organizations get money? I know that at this institution, at least some of them do some fundraising, but are there other ways they get money, sometimes?
And help would be much, much appreciated.