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"8 Words To Lead By" For Student Leaders

As leaders of your student body, it is in your hands to represent and honor the many thousands fellow students of your campus.  In order to achieve this successfully, you will need to exuberate student leadership qualities. This video entitled Words To Lead By by Sondra Thiederman Ph.D gives you a swift idea on some of the concepts that you will have to understand to fully grasp what leadership, or student leadership, really means.

On our end, we have compiled a list of eight tips to follow to become a remarkable college student leader:

1- Communicate Your Vision Effectively: Know the student body of your campus and communicate your ideas concisely.

2-  Keep It Simple Stupid: Keep each team member's tasks simple and set priorities.

3- Have An Open Mind: Inspire, encourage and foster your staff members' creativity.

4- Lead By Example: Work hard and your student exec team will work even harder.

5- Team Up: Two heads are better than one! Delegate and collaborate.

6- Keep People Involved: Stimulate your fellow student executives' activity level by creating opportunities for them to shine!

7- Sharing Is Caring: Be open and stay available. Give your exec team a list of every student members' phone numbers and office availabilities.

8- Create An Effervescent And Gleeful Environment: Decorate your office and keep the atmosphere fun!

Biking To Campus Is The Answer!

Is your campus eco-friendly? The university environment is where we all play, study, sleep and work. It is therefore important that we keep the space around us clean, safe and healthy. It is everyone's responsibility to contribute in their way to keep the campus green but you have the power to make significant changes to the campus scenery, by pressing faculty, to have a positive impact on life on campus!

Protecting your campus environment should be high on your list of to-dos. There are many ways to go about it, from improving the efficiency of your waste management system to protecting the green spaces already present on campus. One of the easiest way is to encourage green student transportation. The bike is the answer! Encourage students to take their bikes to school by having the necessary facilities and amenities. For example, space needs to be provided for students to park their bikes and the school's store should sell bike locks to students. Biking to school (or to work for that matter) has many advantages, besides the ecological one. Here are some of them, provided by Fast Co.Design:

Ideas To Organize A Fresh Student Orientation

At OOHLALA, we think that Student Orientation is such an absolute primordial step in freshmen's transformations from high school kids to "young adults" in college that it shouldn't be ignored. Student councils have the responsibility to appoint and to organize student orientation events that will help incoming students understand what it means and what it takes to be successful when attending a higher education institution. Among other things, student councils have to worry about informing students of the process of choosing a class schedule, about walking the students through campus so they get acquainted with the scenery early, all the while making sure they are enjoying themselves and making new friends. It is no small task! This is going to be their first impression of the campus  where they will spend their next four years roaming through. Here are some ideas of activities we suggest you organize to make this time as enjoyable as possible.

1) Check-In and Hospitality: Many incoming students who come during the summer will be students from out of the region. To make them comfortable right away, there should be a team of volunteers dedicated to show them around the residence hall. There are should also be residence hall advisors to answer any question a student or parent would have about living on campus.

2) Welcoming Ceremonies: Every new acquaintance needs a proper introduction. A welcoming ceremony helps officially mark the beginning of student orientation. This event should be short, sweet and fun. Members of faculty and student leaders should take the mic and greet the new students with informative facts but also with fun anecdotes. Such topics such as academic support and services, campus safety and student life programs and organizations are subjects that could be tackled during that ceremony . This will also allow parents attending to feel safer about leaving their kids behind in college.

3) Student Bonding Activities: This part of orientation should be all about encouraging student networking. Some examples of activities to organize include BBQs on the campus quad, or organize cultural activity at the college's museum or at the city's historical monuments. Any activity that allows students to meet new people is welcome. Council members should encourage students not to hang out with their high school buddies but to get out there and meet new people. It will make the freshmen's first weeks more enjoyable.

4) Social Evenings: Who is better informed about life on campus than current students and alumni? This is a great event to consider organizing for a casual dinner at the school's food court or for an evening out on the town. Ex- and even current students should partake in social activities with freshmen. This will allow freshmen to obtain tips on how university life actually is and on how great fraternity/sorority parties really are. Freshmen will always welcome mentors that will guide students through their first weeks.

5) Nightlife/Parties: Ok. This is probably something that freshmen will be waiting for impatiently. However, it is important to consider everything - legal age drinking, clear directions to the venue, presence of taxis, etc. Most importantly, inform students to drink smart.

Freshmen's transition from high school to college will take more than a day or two of Student Orientation but it is the first crucial step towards their embrace of their new lifestyle in college. Incoming students will remember this moment their whole life. Make this event memorable!

3 Activities For New Student Organisation Members To Break The Ice!


The team staff is finally in place for the 2012-2013 school year! However, the student members of the team don't quite know each other yet. Introducing yourself to a lot of people from different backgrounds can look daunting at first. Then, developing a great group chemistry can be tough and scary too! It is very important that members of the team get to know and learn basic information about each other. This will be very beneficial in the long run because this will permit staff members to enjoy each others' presence and to begin developing bonds. There are many team building activities out there that can be done to break the ice at the beginning of a council term. Some may need budget approval but most should not even cost a penny to student organizations. Here are 3 ice breaking activities to consider that will come for free:


A- The Object Toss

  1. Participants should be organized into a circle.

  2. One student member throws one of the objects to someone else and screams "Hi, Name of Person, Team Position!".

  3. The student member who catches the object says, "Thanks, Name of tosser, Team Position!"

  4. Repeat by tossing to one of your fellow student in the circle.

  5. The names of the students and its position in the council must be said each time the item is tossed or caught.


B- The Name Tag Game

  1. Students should be organized in a circle and a name tags should be handed to each.

  2. Students then write their names on their own name tag.

  3. All of the name tags are then redistributed at random to the participants.

  4. Each participant will then place their name tags on the back of the student to their right.

  5. On the "go" signal everyone must move among the group members and try to locate their own name tag.

  6. You have to do so while avoiding the student finding the name tag that is on his or her back.

  7. Once students find their own name tag, they take it off of the other student's back and they place it on their forehead.

  8. Each student member keeps playing until they find their own name and the student whose name was on their back finds her/his name.


C- The Improv Bag

  1. Students should be placed into groups of 3-6 people.

  2. Bags filled with random items are then distributed to all student members.

  3. Each group must then come up with a skit that uses every single item in the bag.

  4. Be creative!

  5. Student groups have 5-7 minutes to create a three minute skit.

  6. Have each group perform their skit in front of all the other groups.


Introducing yourself doesn't sound so frightening anymore does it? It is important to have a good time! You will spend many hard working hours with these students so it's important to start the 2012-2013 year off with fun and silly activities. Loosen up!

Off-Campus Or Residence Housing For International Students?

With the noticeable internationalization of higher education in North America and across the world comes the increasing importance of student organizations on campus whose goal is to provide a positive and everlasting experience for incoming students. These organizations exist to make the incoming students' transitions as seamless as possible. They often do so by organizing immersion events and by providing students with information about life on and off campus.

One piece of information that international students are often puzzled with is one about student housing. Off-campus or residence housing? How would you, as the international exchange council, go about answering this question if an international student were to ask you about it? When would it be advantageous to live in residence versus renting an apartment for the first time? And why? We have created a list of 4 factors that may tip the balance in one way or the other. Here are some ideas to answer that question:


Most students will argue that living in residence facilitates networking with other students. First-year students are often suggested to live in residence for at least one year to account for this. Living off campus when you don't know anyone will certainly cause some students to feel a bit lonely for the first few weeks.



Residence halls everywhere usually have a set of rules to be respected to avoid disturbing fellow hallmates. For example, a 11PM silence curfew can be implemented during final exams period. Another example would be that students would not be allowed to invite friends over after a certain hour. These rules can be a pain considering some students leave their parents' house wishing to gain some independence.  Living off campus allows students to make their own rules - as long as your landlord can deal with it.



Living off campus has one important perk. Students get to live peacefully - something that would never be fathomable when living on campus. When it's study time during exam period, the libraries are often full and distractions can abound when in residence. Moreover, students can enjoy personal bathrooms and showers in personal apartments. No sharing, no caring.



Imagine your bed was a 10-minute walk away from your classroom. This would mean more time to study, more time to party and more time to procrastinate late at night. Wouldn't that just be great! This is a huge plus of living in residence. You can almost crawl to your class and back to bed afterwards without missing a minute of class time. Proximity is a factor that international students could definitely welcome.


So next time you get asked this question, take all of these factors into consideration and give a wise and balanced answer. It all depends on what the student is looking for. Which factors does he/she prioritize? In the end, your organization is there to guide the student into making his/her own decisions. And with the diversification of the campus landscape, your role as a campus guide will take a greater importance!

Impressive Facts About Fraternities In The United States!

The Greek social system in the United States of America has gotten a lot of exposure in the past couple of years because of its presence in movies like Old School and in TV shows. Many think that being part of a fraternity or a sorority in North America means extravagant hazing, drinking beer and having sex. Some of these activities may be true but the reality is that fraternities and sororities are way more than that. A fraternity is a brotherhood. "It is an organized society of men associated together in an environment of companionship; dedicated to the intellectual, physical, and social development of its members". According to Fraternity Info, The Greek system is a network of about 5 million alumni members occupying different important leadership roles in society.

When fraternity recruitment starts this year and yourself and fellow brothers get bombarded with questions on the value that comes with being part of this family, here are some informative facts about Greek life in the U.S that will surely impress potential pledgees.

Brought to you by: UW Greek

Creating A Killer Club: Red Thunder


Student organizations and student clubs are responsible for the liveliness of co-curricular activities in college. The organizations and clubs on campus have a wide range of interests: from academic to sports-related to cultural. You name it, it probably exists! If you can't find what you are looking for, there is a big window of opportunity for you to have an impact on your campus. You can create your own organization! This is what Tom Fabian did when he founded the Red Thunder club. Red Thunder is McGill University's sports varsity fan club and was named McGill's "Best New Club of the Year" in 2010-2011 by SSMU (Student's Society of McGill University). Here is what he shared with OOHLALA about his journey to create a killer club!

I grew up in Toronto and played sports all throughout high school. My main reason for coming to McGill was actually to play on the Redmen volleyball squad, which I did for the next four years. I majored in Kinesiology and minored in Management.

I got involved with the Varsity Council relatively early on and was voted in as President in my second year - I held that position for two years. We created a lot of new initiatives around McGill Athletics, mostly for the athletes, but we started thinking outside the box as to how to enhance the varsity experience on both sides of the ball. We noticed that there weren’t enough people in the stands for any of our teams - even the ones that did perform. I realized that sport wasn’t necessarily about the performance, but about the entertainment value. We needed way more people in the stands to give our varsity athletes the support they deserved. At the time, these athletes (who put every waking hour outside of studies into their respective sports) were getting, at most, a couple hundred people out to games.

One day during the summer of 2009, my good friend, Anthony Lukca (former captain of the Redmen football team) and I were sitting on the roof of my apartment drinking beers. We were both heavily involved with Varsity Council and all things athletics, and we got into a brainstorm session as to how we could boost attendances. Pretty quickly, we started bouncing ideas off each other until we came up with the notion of having a varsity fan club on campus! We started doing some research on fan clubs in the States and got a better picture about their organizational structures, recruitment strategies, and their relationships with the Athletic Departments.

First things first, I recruited a crack team of buddies to round out my “Executive Committee” - basically the people that would make this machine run. We realized that Athletics already had a Red & White Campaign, which was subpar to say the least, however we wanted to provide an experience to our fans and a sense of community, not just a t-shirt and drink deals. So I wrote up a proposal for Drew Love (Director of Athletics), which outlined the club’s goals and future outlook. Of course we had our fare share of obstacles, but we were able to deal with most of them:

1) Getting our proposal accepted. This in itself was a challenge, because we were proposing that members receive access to all varsity games throughout the year. In the end, they accepted because their attendances were so low that they were willing to work with us.

2) Getting our membership up and creating a community spirit. From recruitment, to our pre-game storms (tail-gates), to our promotions, we had to cover all our bases to make sure we weren’t walking into a flop.

3) Countering the pressure from the administration, the Athletics Marketing Department and their Red & White Campaign. Basically we were competing brands and after just one year, we had way more members and were a much more entertaining product. This past year we signed a long-term contract with McGill Athletics as their main “support group”, thereby eliminating Red & White and putting fan support/experience exclusively in the hands of students!

All the feedback I ever get about the club is positive. Athletes love it, McGill administration loves it, and students love it. It helps to enhance a school spirit that wasn’t really existent before and people are starting to feel as though they are part of a community. I have story upon story of reactions to Red Thunder and how it has changed the image of McGill sports. Coaches ask why the club hasn’t come out to a specific game, and athletes always give us credit for their success. I personally hope that the club keeps growing (I think it’s around 800 members now) and continues helping to create that buzz around campus. I still keep tabs on what’s going on, but in general I take a back seat to the enthusiastic young people on the exec today. I’m still there if they need any advice with how to deal with the administration (as I’ve had a good run with that side), but otherwise they are doing spectacularly! I'm just a proud papa, and I want to see my baby grow into a household name on campus!

Hints On Facebook To Gauge Student Engagement

It's 2012 and remotely every student owns a Facebook profile. In fact, young adults in the 18-25 age bracket accounted for about 25% of the total usage on the social platform last year which represents the most active demographic by age. This is the reason student councils are increasingly active on their Facebook timelines trying to drive up student engagement on campus.

A study done by Dr Rey Junco, a college professor and researcher from Penn State University who studies how social media use affects college students, found that there was a correlation between students behaviour on Facebook and student engagement in co-curricular activities on campus. The information collected in the study is useful to provide university student governments with a pulse of the student's engagement on campus. If the students are commenting on your statuses, RSVP'ing to your events and viewing/liking your photos, you can be confident that you are representing an active and engaged student body! If not, roll up your sleeves and start creating excitement by preparing for this year's Orientation parties to start off the year with a bang!

By Dr Rey Junco