for Developing Student Organization Bylaws (Word
Minute Taker Form (Word format)
Problems with meetings
The role of the committee
Developing an effecive group
questionnaire regarding hazing (Word format)
The physical signs of stress
Do you have some stress-prone habits? (Word format)
Wholistic stress management
PROBLEMS WITH MEETINGS
Background noises/people talking
Parliamentarian, asking people to leave
Stick to agenda, table ideas, break things down, give
a time to limit talk
Wait until next meeting; point out that person
Get people involved by asking them specifically, ask
what they want to do, find people's talents, give
People not being heard
Talk to them after the meeting, have someone point
Teambuilders, icebreakers, have food at the end
THE ROLE OF THE
•provide creative participation by enlisting the help
of large numbers of students in group programs
•brainstorm, eliminate impractical ideas, and present
the best ideas to the larger group for consideration and
•decide on action and carry out assignment
•functions; an advisory committee (study problems and
make reports and recommendations); a coordination committee
(plan, direct and gain the cooperation of other groups); a
work committee (specific tasks to be done); a combination of
Committees succeed with
• clearly stated objectives
•being well-organized, including expectations
•knowledge of previous achievement and
•understanding of limits and strengths
•atmosphere that enables expression of feelings and
•a sense of togetherness
•leadership shared among members
•ability to evaluate ideas apart from
•ability to follow through the steps of logical problem
A committee chairperson must
• be sure he/she and the committee members have a clear
understanding of the committee goals
•know available resources
•know to who he/she is responsible and must
•know the limits of his/her authority
•arrange committee meeting times and agendas
•notify advisers and committee members of the
•share group leadership
•follow through, check, coordinate, and then as always,
Responsibilities of Chairperson
Everyone should be clear on the committee's function
and responsibilities. You can hand out a written
Know your resources – use of xerox machines,
computers, people who are knowledgeable of your task,
written information or reports on your topic.
Know to whom you are responsible and must report,
usually the Vice-President. Possibly there is a need to
coordinate actions with another committee.
Make sure reports are completed and deadlines are
Arrange "pre-planned agenda" and meeting
times. Make sure all members are informed of meeting
times and places.
Make sure members are aware of plans. Have a good system
of communication for meetings. Give fair notice of
meetings in advance.
Kinds of Committees
Standing – usually elected or appointed for the
entire year. Some examples: elections, publicity
Special – appointed for a specific purpose. The
committee is dissolved once the purpose is accomplished.
Examples are committees appointed to develop a code of
conduct. Committees such as these may be appointed to
investigate or act for the group.
STEPS IN GROUP DECISION-MAKING
- Clarify the Problem or Situation
–The problem or need for a decision needs to be
clear to the group members. For example, the problem of
trying to get better food in the cafeteria might be
clarified by the group to be the problem of obtaining
more fresh fruit, larger entree portions and more salad
- Collect Information
–Questions like: how much?, what will others
think?, where?, what restrictions are there?, etc., will
be answered at this stage. The group may identify sources
of information to be gathered when they lack information
and who will gather the data.
- List Alternatives
–Brainstorm possible solutions and then narrow the
list down to the workable suggestions and those the group
would like to consider further.
- Weigh or Evaluate the Remaining
–The group examines what would occur if they
select each alternative. The group will identify the
criteria being applied to evaluate each possible solution
and be explicit. Resources like time, money, interest,
skills may all be criteria in designing a project.
- Select an Alternative or "Tentative
Decision" to Try
–This alternative to try will be the best solution
picked by the group consensus during the evaluation of
alternatives. Group consensus means all have had input
and are in agreement.
- List the Steps to be Followed in Implementing the
–The group determines what needs to be done and in
what sequence to meet the goal of the decisions. This is
the plan to get to the place where the group wants to be
with the issue.
- Evaluate the Experience
–This determines if the solution is a good one, if
it is worth it, or has value. Questions like: what good
things happened?, what went wrong?, what changes will
make it better?, what reaction did we get from others?
HOW TO HANDLE CONFLICT SITUATIONS
Conflict situations can occur anywhere, anytime, and it is
important to realize that conflicts can be handled in a
positive way, so as not to be destructive. It is HOW the
conflict is handled, not the conflict itself, that is often
the problem. So, if you find yourself in a conflict
situation, try these ideas:
Look for the positive aspects of the other person's
arguments. Try to insert praise for these ideas into your
own argument. Practice changing negative statements into
Remember that your perceptions are highly subjective and
affected by personal bias.
Try not to criticize. Rather, make constructive
Stress points on which you do agree, as you discover
them, and build from there.
Try to look at the problem from the other person's
point of view, and sense how he/she is feeling, as your
are exchanging dialogue.
Limit your disagreement to one issue at a time. Come to
resolution on one point and them move on. There is no use
beating a dead horse!
Be careful to set a belt line, which you and your
adversary won't strike. Hitting someone's
Achilles Heel destroys his/her definition of self.
Remember to give the other person and yourself freedom
Take responsibility for your own ideas and actions
– use first person pronouns.
Attempt to keep a rational and logical head on your
shoulders. If you feel your grip on reality begin to
slip, take a moment to regain a proper perspective.
If, after employing all of the above techniques, you still
have areas of disagreement, call a moratorium. Simply agree
to disagree for the moment. During this time you can both
reflect upon the points stressed by each side in a quieter,
less distracting context. Then, try again – perhaps
this time with a third party acting as a mediator.
And – if all else fails – you may have to agree
to disagree. While this is not a very popular situation, it
may be a solution of last resort when conflicting parties
refuse to "give and take" or to relinquish the
Adapted from: material at the National Association of
Campus Activities, 1993 Southeast Regional
The purpose of the exercise is to give some practice in
planning how to develop an effective group.
Sinking Boat Situation
On a dark summer night seven persons cling to a swamped and
slowly sinking boat on a black tropical sea. They are not
alone. A large shark glides below them, and soon, perhaps,
there will be more. With fear thick in their salt-swollen
throats, the seven are faced with a difficult choice. If they
kick in unison, they may be able to fight the fierce current
and tides driving them away from the shore and all make it to
safety; if they all stick together they have an equal chance
to survive or drown. If they split up, each going it alone,
one or two of the stronger swimmers might make it to safety,
but the majority will certainly drown or be devoured by
Which alternative would you choose if you were there? What
kind of people would you want as companions in such a
Read and discuss the paragraph above, and then answer the
following questions about the situation:
1. What should the goals of the group be?
2. How should leadership be managed?
3. Who should have the most power in making decisions?
4. What decision-making procedure should be used?
5. How should conflicts be managed?
Wishing Well The wishing well exercise
allows members of a group to learn a great deal about
themselves. Each remember of the group is given the same
number of coins to toss into the well (which can be as simple
as child's plastic wading pool). Members can be directed
to verbally share their wishes around certain themes (what do
you want from the group? what are you trying to improve? what
should be our main goal?) or they can make their own wishes.
Everyone has a kernel of superstition in him or her that
makes this an enjoyable activity.
Outlining This team builder consists of
having group members trace outlines of themselves on large
sheets of paper. Group members then take turns answering
revealing questions about one another. Such juicy topics as
"what have been your three greatest successes? what is
your favorite food? where would you like to be in five
years?" will assist your group in learning more about
one another. (We highly recommend this activity – it
allows people to work in close proximity, and it usually
creates some monstrously funny drawings.)
Walk a Mile in My Shoes
Sometimes when a group is having difficulties, it is
important to try to appreciate what individuals are
experiencing. This sharing of experiences often creates a
bonding for members of the group. For example, it can be very
helpful to realize that others may feel the same way you
Here are some sample questions and statements.
•What do I like to dig my heels
•When was the last time you felt
•Situations that cause knots in my
•The person in the group who provides me with the most
•Who keeps me on my toes?
•In relation to this group, I have done
soul searching about.....
Each ice breaker, exercise, or activity used with a group
should be incorporated for a reason. The purposes may
include, but are not limited to, getting to know one another,
improving communication, and encouraging open discussion. In
order that all group members appreciate what is to be gained
from an activity, the facilitator should be sure to point out
its objectives and benefits. This may be done by posing
questions to the group about their experience that reveal its
application. The following are sample questions that may be
used by the facilitator in "processing" or
What is going/went on?
What did you see?
How do/did you feel about it?
What are the facts?
Could you be more specific?
Who says so?
Who else had the same experience?
Where is it reported?
Who reacted the same/differently?
What did you hear?
What did you observe?
What is most real?
INTERPRETING (making sense of data)
How do you account for that?
What did you learn?
What does that mean to you?
What surprised you?
How was it good/bad?
What was funny?
What struck you about what happened?
Were you offended or edified?
What do you understand better about
GENERALIZING (drawing connections)
What does that suggest to you about ____________?
In general? Specifically?
What principle do you see operating itself?
How does this relate to other experiences you've
What do you associate with that?
What did you learn/relearn?
What hopes do you have?
APPLYING ( utilizing in real life situations)
How could you apply/transfer that?
What could you do to hold onto that?
What would be the consequences of doing/not doing
What modifications can you make work for that idea?
SIGNS OF STRESS
The following checklist is not precise enough to provide an
accurate assessment but it can be a beginning point for
reflection. If you have more than two of these physical
signs, you may be placing your body under high risk from
1. Excessive weight for your height and age
2. High blood pressure
3. Lack of appetite
4. A desire to eat as soon as a problem arises
5. Frequent heartburn
6. Chronic diarrhea or constipation
7. An inability to sleep
8. A feeling of constant fatigue
9. Constant headaches
10. A need for aspirin or some other medications daily
11. Muscle spasms
12. A feeling of fullness although you've not
13. Shortness of breath
14. A liability to fainting and nausea
15. An inability to cry or a tendency to burst into tears
16. Persistent sexual problems (fridgity, impotence,
17. Excessive nervous energy which prevents sitting still
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL
• Praise yourself
•Mind and feeling control
•Take one thing at a time
• Don't compete
•Do things you enjoy
•Talk over problems
• Love yourself
•Do something for others
•Learn from mistakes