On Wednesday, Oct. 31, Jamie Thompson, director of campus and community involvement, presented a new officer transition timeline to be considered by the university sponsored organizations. The new timeline operates on a January to December term for organizational officers, rather than the April-to-April term that many student organizations currently employ.
According to Thompson, the new officer transition timeline would afford organizations stronger leadership and smoother transitions. Since seniors would only hold officer positions until January, newly elected officers would have an entire semester to seek advice from former officers.
“Being a junior president is tough… There’s a level of experience you need to run an organization,” said Graham Bates president of Iota Chi Rho. “I came in with as much as I could have possibly had, but it would have been nice to have had the former president around.”
Seniors may also benefit from a new officer transition timeline, as they will be able to better focus on senior projects and post-graduation plans.
“I know that my senior year, continuing to go full throttle through the spring semester was a lot. There were a lot of things going on,” Thompson said. “Having the spring semester to myself would have been nice.”
If the new officer transition timeline catches on, student organizational training could be moved to the beginning of the semester. According to Thompson, the beginning of the semester is a much better time for training.
“Student organization training is at a terrible time, because of final projects and everything,” said Pola Shim, president of Korean Student Association. “I could see the change being very beneficial.”
Additionally, changing the officer transition timeline would allow organizations to make better use of national leadership conferences as many campuses nationwide use the calendar year to transition leadership in student organizations. Since many campuses transition officers in January, many leadership conferences are held early on in the spring semester.
“Some of our organizations have annual leadership conferences that they can attend,” Thompson said. “Currently, officers in most of our student organizations are at the tail-end of their term when these conferences occur, so the conferences make no sense for them.”
Trinity University Volunteer Action Community currently utilizes a similar officer transition timeline so that they can attend Impact, a national service and social responsibility conference. Edwin Blanton, TUVAC advisor, says the early officer transition would allow TUVAC officers to understand their role as an officer earlier, attend the conference, and submit a well-thought out funding proposal to the Association of Student Representatives
According to Joe Moore, president of ASR, the new officer transition timeline should help organizations submit well thought out budget requests to ASR. Currently, university sponsored organizations, including the big six, must submit funding proposals for the coming year in the spring. This presents a problem as new officers present budget requests that were written by the previous officers.
“New officers have to present [a budget] they really don’t know much about yet,”
Moore said. “A lot of them have never done budgeting or funding before… And on our end, we only have two weeks to prepare for the funding approval process. It’s really difficult for everyone involved.”
While there are benefits to the new officer transition timeline, some organizations voiced concerns to the idea.
“I think the biggest concern I have heard is about study abroad,” Thompson said. “You’d really have to plan in advance if you wanted to study abroad and hold a position in your organization.”
Additionally, in order to hold an officer position, many students who study abroad would need to run for office from abroad.
Greek organizations may also have difficulty implementing the transition timeline due to Trinity’s long rush process.
“The main concern is with rush,” Bates said. “You have the potential to negate everything you did in the fall semester. It might work in other schools because they do rush early. It works for them because they don’t have to worry about the long rush process that is so particular to Trinity.”
According to Thompson, student organizations can implement the new transition timeline whenever they want.
“This is just the beginning of a discussion between CCI and student organizations on campus about the timeline. If student organizations want to do this, they can implement it,” Thompson said.
According to Joe Moore, Thompson wants to get input back from all of the student organizations by spring, and while she hopes the university sponsored organizations will adopt the new transition timeline, it is not required.
“[Thompson] doesn’t want to impose her will. She plans to ask the university sponsored organizations to adopt it and then hopefully everyone else will fall in line,” Moore said. “We could do a resolution if we wanted to, but most likely [ASR] would make the schedule change ourselves and change when budget reports come in, so if [student organizations] don’t want to follow the new timeline they don’t have to.”