Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Was My Service Today?

I am not a coffee drinker. I find my morning caffeine usually met via a large glass of iced tea. A couple of weeks ago, I was on my way into work one morning and stopped for my “usual”. After handing me my tea at the drive thru window, the woman asked, “How was my service today?” While my response was in the affirmative, I was struck by the enormity of her question. That's a pretty risky question to get a little affirmation. The reality is that in her question, she opened herself up to all kinds of criticism. Whoa.

I posted this interaction on Facebook and receiving the following response from a friend: "Could you imagine if we asked that after every interaction with an undergrad! HA... Or, if a chapter president asked us that after we spoke with them..."

Again, Whoa.

Here on the mothership, we are in a tough place. Like all organizations, we have a cycle for the health of the community, our organizations, our leadership. I would describe us to be in a place of, "The Administration doesn't understand us/care about us/listen to us." While this saddens me, it also provides me a lens to consider the question - "How was my service today?" One week into classes and I have met individually with 4 of our 6 fraternity presidents, and 2 of our 7 sorority presidents... With the rest to occur within the next week. So, how was my service today? I ask that sincerely. Our staff team works with fraternity and sorority leaders because we care about your experience. We want to know how we can better serve you. This is one of the greatest benefits of being at a place like USD. I don't recall anyone every asking me my opinion on anything when I was an undergraduate. A large, public University just doesn't afford the same level of individual education.

With every self-revelation, comes a gentle challenge... How are you making yourself known? If you have feedback or an answer to that question, are you sharing it in a way that can create change? Grousing to your roommate about how much Mandy sucks does not fix anything. As students, as leaders, you have the power to take up your authority and do something. If you are unhappy, bring that concern forward. Schedule a meeting with me or one of the other staff in our area. When you see me on campus, stop and tell me what you think. Your opinion matters... And, I want to hear from you. From you, change can begin.

At the end of the Fall semester, we held the semesterly Town Hall Meeting. One of my take-aways from our time together was the knowledge that members do not see how "the administration" benefits them. In response, we are piloting a new advising model this semester. Each chapter is assigned to a staff person in the SLIC. That staff person will be the primary point of contact and meet regularly with the president, risk manager, new member educator, and chapter advisor. Additionally, they will attend chapter events and meetings. It is my hope that through what I am calling the "Chapter Development Model" that when our staff asks the question, "How was my service?", your response is an affirmation of the love and care we give to you.

Welcome back, Team! I am looking forward to a great semester with each of you. 

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