Tag Archives: Student Activities

5 Ways to Give on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is that one special day each year to express love and friendship with the people in your life.  This is also a perfect opportunity for your campus organization to spread love and friendship in your community through volunteering, donating, and participating in charity work.

1. Organize or attend a V-Day Event. V-Day is a world-wide movement created to end violence against all women and girls. Click here to read more about V-Day. See how the University of Cincinnati has organized their V-Day Event this year.

2. Collect new and / or unopened perfume, bubble bath, lotions, and make-up. Any kind of feminine luxury item that a person in crisis could find comforting will do. Donate these items to a women’s shelter. “College Feminist Connect” posted an article describing their call to Action: Break-up to Make-up.

3. Maybe your closet is overflowing with Valentine Teddy Bears or other stuffed animals given to you by all of your admirers. Organize a “Teddy Bear and Friends” stuffed animal drive. Donate the assortment to a homeless or women’s shelter where there are bound to be children that can take comfort in a cuddly toy during a time of need. Here is how Connecticut College and Amherst joined forces in their Teddy Bear Drive to benefit a local Children’s Hospital.

4. If you have creative flare, you can make Valentine cards and centerpieces to take to a senior care facility. Here are several links with great craft ideas: Family Fun, Kaboose, Martha Stewart, All Free CraftsOrigami, Candy Free Cards, Valentine’s Day Messages. Talk to coordinators at the senior care facility to work out specific needs at the facility. For instance, candy may be off limits do to dietary regulations.

5. Many hall councils and other campus organizations sell some kind of flowers, candy-grams, or Valentine wishes. Here is a social media take on a traditional idea: Sell Facebook-grams or Twitter-grams on your organizations page or account. For a nominal fee (like $1.00) students can place orders prior to the holiday. Post or tweet the Valentine wishes and donate the money raised to an animal shelter like the ASPCA. Here are some examples of Valentine SMS.

What are some ways your campus organization gives back to the community on Valentine’s Day or any day during the year?  Our readers want to know. Please share your comments below!

Happy Valentine’s Day 2012 from StudentLifeGuru.com.
We LOVE our readers!
@studentlifeguru @reslifesynergy @mhelfrich98

10 Reasons to Blog in Student Affairs

No matter if you are an administrator or student leader, your department or organization should have a blog. Listed below are 10 reasons your student affairs organization should have a blog.

1. Connection: Blogs extend your reach. Students are attracted to the way blogs disseminate information. They can quickly scan and get the information they need. Students can also “Like” or “Tweet” information, pictures, videos, or web links posted to your blog to all the people they are connected with. This sharing of your groups information really helps to extend your mission to a larger audience. Don’t forget PARENTS! Your parents will also find your organizational blog a beneficial way to stay connected.

2. Current Information: By blogging you are getting your students the most current information instantly.  There is plenty of information you need to get your students quickly that could be educational, informative, imperative, or just plain fun.

Flood or loss of power? Post procedures and links to campus and town safety resources. Program this week? Post details to publicize and generate excitement. Afterwards, summarize the program and allow for extended learning and discussion. Your Greek Organization is volunteering? Post your blog reminders and updates. Take video or pictures during the event and post on your blog after the event.

3. Support:  Through your blog your students will have access to helpful information 24/7.  One part of your blog is the blog itself. There is also a “website” portion where you can add pages just like you would to a traditional website. Your pages contain your permanent information such as links to campus website, off-campus resources, student code of conduct, check in/out procedures, how to’s, do’s and don’ts, staff pictures and bios, and much more. Standard information that students need access to can be posted to the mainly static pages and the new, timely information will post to your blog on a regular basis. Blogs also allow for comments. This is another way that a student can approach your organization for assistance.  Just be certain to return comments in a timely manner.

4. Engagement: Blogs are interactive and engaging to your students!  Your blog can be full of pictures, videos, polls, comments, twitter feed, web links, and posting buttons for other types of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).

5. Exchange: Blogs are very useful in soliciting feedback. Blog comments and polls are very valuable in extending conversation between staff and students, students and students, or your organization and its broader world audience.

Of course kudos and positive comments are always welcome. The challenging and most beneficial comments can be those that are contrary, critical, or unfounded. If you take things too personally you might consider these to be “bad” comments.  But there are no bad comments, just good conversation.  Often a “bad” comment can come from a student that has a need or may feel slighted in some way. The way a blogger replies to comments can help shape opinions, educate, and diffuse situations.  Opportunities can spawn from blog comments like connections made, problems solved, face-to-face interactions created, and educational moments.

6. Scheduling: A blog that is updated with events, calendars, agendas, contests, and promotions will keep your students informed of what is going on in your residence hall, department, club or organization.

7. Predictability: When you update your blog daily, weekly, or on a routine basis, your students will know how and when to expect information.

8. Human Touch: Your blog will bring a personal nature to your technological web presence. Blogs are conversational and less formal in how information is presented. There can be a sense of fun with a blog, and it provides a “human touch” to an increasingly technologically-oriented student.

9. Assessment: Your organizational blog is an informal tool to assess what your students are learning, what goals are being met, and what changes you need to make. You can use comments and quick polls to gauge what students are learning from programs or other educational initiatives. If you use a free WordPress blog format such as this one, (StudentLifeGuru.com) you can track the effectiveness of your blog through statistics, track backs, and search terms.

10. Eco-Friendly:  Yes, it is time to kiss that monthly paper newsletter good-bye! Go green! Save some trees and start a blog for your organization.


Are you already blogging for your organization? What suggestions would you add to this top ten list to encourage others to begin a blog for their area? Have you received similar results from your blogging experiences?

Reflecting on the Past

A Journey of Self-Reflection

What pops into your mind when I say the University of California at Berkley?  Maybe images of hippies in  the late 1960’s wearing bell bottoms and strumming their guitars on the lawn between classes.  Or maybe you are a reader of the Student Life Guru Blog that has actually been UC Berkley and know that stereotype is long extinct. 

Take a look at this modern version of UC Berkley: http://bit.ly/eHiIlk (access date 3/29/2011.)  

Now gaze at this historical image of UC Berkley from 1907:  http://1.usa.gov/hZInBp  (access date 3/29/2011.)

The physical differences are both stunning and obvious.  Just like UC Berkley, in one hundred years a lot has changed on campuses all over the country.  Has the essence or mission of colleges and universities changed drastically in the last century?  Examine these photos again in terms of your own role at your college or university.

  • In my current position, what would my role to students be in 1911?
  • Do you think your current job would be vastly different in the past then it is now and how?
  • What sorts of interactions would you have with students in the early 1900’s?
  • How do you think students would perceive you one hundred years ago as their leader/mentor?
  • Do you think your mission towards students is different then your current mission? How? Why?

Maybe after some reflection you feel glad that you can happily tweet your staff to invite them to an impromptu cup of coffee for all their hard work or maybe like a colleague of yours in the distant past you put pen-to-paper and draft a glowing letter of thanks for your exceptional staffer. 

Has the mission, developing students and leaders, changed dramatically in one hundred years or is student development the same but the methods different?

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The 1907 image of the University of California at Berkley, along with 238 breathtaking panoramic views of colleges in the early 1900’s, are available in the Digital Collections of the Library of Congress (access date 3/29/2011.)  You just might be able to find an image of your school there! (Panoramic Photographs access date 3/29/2011.) You must actually click on college campuses embedded in the paragraph.

Current photos of UC Berkley are available on their website: http://www.berkeley.edu/photos/campus/ (access date 3/29/2011.)