Posted May 1, 2013 by Elizabeth Beltramini 

Implementing Change

In recent months, the Regional Restructuring Task Force has begun its work of hashing out the details necessary to implement recommendations from the audit process. Ironically, many of the same conversations and themes are present in the content of this month’s Bulletin.

One of the regional restructuring work teams I’m working with is focused on Association branding, which has many similarities to the article about rebranding a college union. The article defines a process for determining your organization’s brand and then creating the tools to achieve a new identity. Apparent throughout all the regional recommendations was the need for greater consistency and for the ACUI brand to be apparent throughout all areas of the Association. Therefore, ACUI is working to create those tools that will enable strong brand identity so that members engaging with the organization in any way will get the same sense of who ACUI is.

Additionally, The Bulletin continues its series on student development theory with a look at how various environmental factors affect students. The interworking systems each help mold students and can influence their growth both positively and negatively. By being aware of these systems, union and activities professionals can better ensure students’ development is more positive. In considering the Association’s regional restructuring, ACUI staff and volunteers also will need to be aware of the various systems affecting members in the new environment of the eight regions—from existing relationships members have with colleagues to the procedures developed for specific regional activities.

The Bulletin’s cover story about fostering students’ spiritual development discusses meditation spaces within college unions. In some instances, the presence of certain colors or religious icons can negatively affect an individual’s ability to use the space for its intended purpose, so the article advises crafting a more neutral environment. While not in a spiritual sense, ACUI regions have developed their own symbols, traditions, and artifacts throughout the Association’s history, and one of the task force’s challenges is in how to best foster new regions’ cultures while also respecting our past.

A fun addition to this month’s Bulletin is the breadth of positions that members would add to their organizations if they could invent a role to best fulfill the union’s needs. Some grouped diverse responsibilities into one position whereas others sought to fill a specific niche. Currently in the Central Office, we are in the process of hiring a new staff member to support event management and volunteerism efforts as recommended in the regional audit. Simultaneously, Martha Blood, a tenured professional in our corporate partnerships area, retired. After much collaborative discussion, some staff members’ responsibilities shifted to serve our corporate partners, and the new position is a combination of many roles related to event planning at the regional and international levels.

At this time of year, many of you are looking to better understand current trends and implement changes to address them. While associations and college unions have different concentrations, we seem to be wrestling with many similar issues. You can read more about the regional restructuring process, and I hope you’ll continue to engage in this project as you also balance your work on campus.

Elizabeth Beltramini

Elizabeth Beltramini is the Director of Content Curation at ACUI.

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