|4 online articles from this issue.|
As the economy continues to restrict and student fees continue to soar, university departments face the daunting challenge of retaining students with high quality co-curricular programs using limited resources. The one resource; however, that can aide in the expansion of programs, while at the same time reduce expenses within individual units, is networking across departmental lines. At the California State University, San Bernardino, a medium size college halfway between Hollywood and Palm Springs, the networking epidemic is in full swing. A fresh new committee called Keep it on Campus (KIOC) is mastering the art of networking by sharing resources in an effort to increase retention rates, create more school spirit, and save thousands of dollars amongst departments campus-wide over the course of the academic year.
Keep it on Campus is comprised of professional programmers throughout campus. Naturally, departments such as Student Leadership, Housing, the Associated Students, Inc. and the Student Union are involved. But this committee took it a step further by inviting Theater Arts, Career Services, Athletics, the Library, the Bookstore, Dining Services, Recreational Sports, and even the university's Museum to be a part of this interactive committee. With nearly 30 departments involved in the Keep it on Campus committee, no wonder spirits are high and involvement increased.
While Keep it on Campus only meets "officially" once a month, the programmers have bonded in such a way that they seek each other out individually to plan activities, collaborate on programs, and confirm that programs are not overlapping or competing against one another. In addition, an interactive KIOC website (kioc.csusb.edu) was created where programmers can upload events, which are still in the planning phase. These programs can be seen by other programmers, but are not published to the public website until they are confirmed, scheduled and advertised. This behind-the-scenes look at upcoming programs has helped reduce the chances of five separate Valentine's events occurring on the same day. Key collaborations have thus been created simply because programmers are able to communicate with one another. Each department puts up the same money, or in many cases less money for the event, but has five times the population advertising and 1/5 of the work. Programmers are able to synergize with other like-minded individuals and create an event that truly benefits everyone.
One such event took place early in Spring 2011. One of the top keynote speakers in the country, Dr. Will Keim, was passing through Southern California. Dr. Keim's message is timeless, and his delivery is one of a kind. Students across campus have seen Dr. Keim during their first year orientation program, but wanted him to speak on the subject of Leadership in the 21st Century. Cal State San Bernardino was going to have to come up with some money and a plan to make this happen.
That is when Keep it on Campus leaped into action. With a few phone calls, some text messages and a mass email, it was determined that Greek Week coincided with the Athletics Departments NCAA speaker week. Coincidentally, Housing and Residential Life had just hired their new RAs for the next academic year and were beginning their training sessions. We were able to work with Dr. Keim on getting some other speeches in the area to get a multi-campus rate. The Student Union was asked to co-sponsor the event, which helps with the cost of an audio visual technician and Student Leadership agreed to chauffer and feed Dr. Keim for his stay.
The day of the event went off without a hitch. Dr. Keim was escorted to campus and met with the returning and newly selected Resident Advisor staff. Once those leaders heard Dr. Keim speak, they were encouraged to go back to their halls and bring students to the evening program. The campus community was invited to the 7pm event. The place was packed. There was a large mix of athletes, Greeks, student leaders, and campus members. The Greek Councils recognized new initiates into the Gamma Sigma Alpha Honors Society, which showcased their continued commitment towards academic success. They then announced the remaining activities for Greek Week. The Athletic Department announced that over 50% of their student-athletes were at or above a 3.0 GPA, as well as that golf, tennis and baseball were competing in the postseason playoffs. These announcements allowed students outside of the individual constituency gain a deeper understanding of the others commitment to excellence.
When the program was over, there was a crowd around to speak one on one with Dr. Keim. He proved once again why he is the "Dean of College Speakers." His presentation was second to none and Keep it on Campus coordination of this Five-Star Program was top notch. To make the accounting easier for each department, six separate checks were handed to our speaker that night; however, one voice was delivered loud and clear. That voice was the voice of the KIOC committee saying, "We are committed to student success, working collaboratively, and increasing the quality of student life for all of our students."
Keep it on Campus's Mission: KIOC is collaboration of departments that support the entire campus community of CSUSB. We strive to increase involvement in campus activities and use of campus services. This dedication to increasing student involvement will lead to an increase in the quality of student life and spirit on campus and will lead to increased student retention and enrollment. In addition, the unified source for learning about campus activities will increase the involvement of the neighboring community, improving the campus' overall public image, and aiding in student and faculty recruitment.
About The Author: Mark Hartley is the director of Student Leadership & Development at California State University, San Bernardino, as well as the co-chair of the Keep it on Campus committee. Mark was named 2011 Fastest Rising Star in America by Campus Activities Magazine® voters. Mark is a professional speaker with Coleman Productions, Inc. and speaks on the topics of leadership, academic success, first year student achievement, and Greek Life Excellence.