Resources for Student Organization Leaders


Being a student group leader is very challenging – and very worthwhile – because it’s an intensive experience that requires working through others.  If you end up doing everything yourself, you’re not leading.  As a leader, your job isn’t to get everything done: it’s to motivate everyone in the group to get everything done in a positive and team-spirited way.

Get a faculty/staff advisor

Besides working with the group members, we encourage you to seek out and work with a faculty/staff advisor.  Here are a few of the things an advisor can do to support the group:

  • Act as liaison to MIT and SAO staff
  • Help navigate MIT requirements and processes
  • Inform about MIT resources
  • Keep officers accountable and reinforce organization’s standards
  • Aid with financial duties
  • Provide professional development & mentorship to group leaders and members
  • Provide continuity over time as student organization members graduate

Resources

Student development

As a leader, you will want to develop your skills – and you’ll also want to help others to develop theirs.  Here are some resources that can help you do both.

  • Leadership development:
    • Toolkit: A compilation of leadership resources created by the Student Activities Office, including activities, self-assessments, case studies, Ted Talks, videos, and courses
    • SAO Leadership programs:  This is where you’ll find current offerings, as well as recurrent offerings like the annual LeaderShape retreat, which is an extraordinary experience for students. 
  • DSLx Life Learning: This online microlesson platform offers 24/7 access to life strategies like conflict management, empathy, and growth mindset, as well as information about MIT support for students
  • Student Support and Wellbeing: This link takes you to the Student Support and Wellbeing group along with direct links to learn more about academic, personal, disability, substance use/abuse, crisis, and violence prevention services

Membership recruitment

Whether you’re in start-up mode with a new group, or leading a group that has a long MIT history, at some point, you’ll need to consider recruitment as members graduate or leave to pursue other interests.  Or perhaps your group wants to grow significantly.  Whether it’s for recruitment or simply to participate in the MIT community more actively, you’ll want to think about events and recruitment strategies.

Membership retention

As focused communities within the broader MIT community, student groups are important home bases for their members.  The culture of the group may change over time, yet it’s important that the group maintains its distinctive identity.  Below are some links that can help you think about how to keep group members engaged.

Leadership transitions

When group leaders move on, the transition to new leadership is always challenging.  Below are some ways to make it less challenging.

Financial management

Financial management for student groups is a complex topic, requiring budgeting, long-term and short-term planning, and up-to-date knowledge of MIT’s purchasing and documentation requirements.  The group’s officers should work together to make sure that the guidelines for financial management are understood and implemented.  Here’s a good resource for getting started:

And remember that the SAO staff are always a great resource.