New Undergraduate Leadership Board to Advise on Student Programs

New Undergraduate Leadership Board to Advise on Student Programs

Undergraduate Leadership Board

The School of Education and Social Policy has a new way to provide undergraduates with meaningful programs and events. A new SESP Leadership and Programming Board, a group of 10 undergraduate volunteers, is now advising the School on planning student events and increasing student engagement.

Representing a spectrum of years and majors, the students on the board are Luke Cianciotto, Josephine Lee, Daniel Liss, Kali Maginity, Anisa Mian, Anna Nowinski, Rebecca Rego, Nichola Rhyan, Alex Tom and Weronika Wasilewski. All SESP students were invited to apply.

Events and engagement
The Board, which serves as a direct link between SESP students and advisers, reflects SESP’s commitment to students. The Board will plan, promote and present three student events each quarter focused on professional development, academic discussion and community togetherness.

Another major goal of the Board is to increase community engagement using social media. SESP invites posts and discussions on Twitter and Facebook, as well as photos via Instagram for the interactive video wall in the Student Affairs Office. The Board will make recommendations for social media use and build student awareness of opportunities in this area.

For the winter quarter, the programming board is focusing strengthening relationships between current students and alumni as well as ways to better connect SESP students with opportunities on campus. Susan Olson, the SESP associate dean of student affairs, is impressed with the ideas that the board has developed already.

Envisioning results
“The purpose of forming the Board was to give the SESP undergraduates a voice and mechanism for the School to offer the kind of programming students are interested in,” says Olson. “They are developing programs and events to help build community, develop connections with alumni, and connect students with resources and opportunities on campus.  I am looking forward to all that they will accomplish.”

Liss says, “I think students will see some of the most immediate benefits in social and professional networking events as well as academic opportunity panels.  We have many exciting events coming up in the next two quarters students can gain a lot of value from. My heart, however, lies in some of our longer-term initiatives to supplement these events with richer, more individualized, support for students. Though still in the early planning phases, these initiatives may include alumni and student mentoring programs, as well as bringing more of the student voice to the department.”

Nowinski adds, “SESP students are particularly looking to be engaged on and off campus, whether that takes the form of community service, research, or involvement in student groups. The programming board is looking at ways to present these different options to the SESP community — both by bringing them to Annenberg and by finding ways to better present the available information to students through the Internet and social media.”

An undergraduate board has an advantage in engaging fellow students, according to Nowinski: “We have classes with other SESP students during which we can make announcements for events as well as solicit programming ideas from our peers. If we put on events that our fellow SESPians request, it's more likely that attendance will go up. We have also started a Facebook group for SESP students. … By using many different advertising avenues, we hope to reach as many students as possible.”

Alumni who are interested in involvement with the Board may contact Megan Redfearn, the undergraduate adviser for students majoring in learning and organizational change, at m-redfearn@northwestern.edu.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 12/6/13