Building Strong Student Organizations:day3 Recruit, Retain

Once we had our calendars and officers set the next challenge came with getting more members. Not just anybody, the people who both represented the students demographically and wanted a say. Hmm…

We started with having 2 representatives from each homeroom. This may sound quite simple, ask who wants to be involved and bammm…. It happened to be that this particular year I had a rough, rough homeroom. Let’s be really honest, I had the kids no one else would take. Not that we have the option. This was the group of “naughty” kids all in one place.

Given that this was my idea, prior to knowing my homeroom, I had to step up. I struggled talking with students about coming to the meeting, joining the student council. They wanted absolutely no part. It is in times like this that you realize why you oversee things. I came to realize the power of giving students a say.

One day two guys were talking about food after school. The cafeteria was closed, popcorn only happened 1 day a week.  As I heard these kids complaining I inserted myself. “You know, there is a group meeting after school today that might be able to help you. You won’t have to stay long, just share the idea that this is needed.” Initially they said no. However, with some more prodding they agreed to go and just state how they wanted food after school before long-boarding.

No one was more suprised than me when they showed up. As promised they stated their issue. The wise president took a vote where every hand in the room indicated this was something that needed to be solved ASAP. Ideas began to flow. And-as a note, the kids stayed the entire meeting.

In fact the next day they were discussing it in homeroom. We made a list of other things that this group wanted to change. Every meeting that year someone from my homeroom attended. In fact, the cross culture of kids present continued to grow the entire year.

We also realized that we had representation from every group. At all of our events we shared the work that student council has done and had in progress. It began to be an organization student discussed, students knew about and a place where students knew they could make a difference.