SOLID Conference spreads Ideas of insight and management to student organization leaders

Student leaders attend the “NYT @ UMD” seminar at SOLID to learn about UM-Dearborn’s partnership with the New York Times.

By CRAIG HENDERSON, Student Life Editor

Student-run organizations from all of UM-Dearborn gathered at the North Fairlane Center for the Student Organization Leaders in Development (SOLID) seminar on Saturday, September 13.

SOLID teaches future and current student leaders the tips and skills necessary to run their organizations by using university resources. The conference also covered many different aspects such as budgeting, policy, civic engagement, program planning, and leadership.

The conference started with opening words by Vice Chancellor Stanley Henderson. In Henderson’s speech, he mentions the hard work that students put into their academic careers reflects the livelihood of student life on campus. “If you’re not engaged with your classes, you will not have a passion for your work,” Henderson said.

Reetha Raveendran from the Office of Student Engagement mentioned all the guidelines that student organizations and the leaders themselves needed to follow.

Raveendran also talked about the services rendered to the student organizations such as: graphics, promotions, program planning, reservations and finances/budgets.

The conference had under a dozen seminars planned for the student leaders. Each seminar covered a different topic that shed light on what organizations can do to be recognized. One of those seminars featured how to manage one’s volunteer hours, led by Assistant Director for CIViC Engagement Amy Finley.

In Finley’s presentation, she introduced the audience to a new program that can help with keeping community service activities organized by using a program named Noblehour.

Noblehour gives access to individuals and groups who want to help their community, or other communities, with creating or joining a volunteer service. The site also lets groups know who is looking for community service opportunities in the area along with keeping track on the number of hours a user gives.

Therefore, without marking down the days, number of hours, who, what, where and when – entering that information on the website will save time and Noblehour will arrange all information so the user can access it easy.

Students will be able to create a free account through the UM-Dearborn membership to Noblehour.

Considering students have to work and attend school full or part time, and have homework to do from all classes,  Finley says, “Find your passion,” when looking for the motivation to keep volunteering. “There are many organizations to volunteer with, but there might be one that really speaks to your heart. The motivation comes from finding your passion and working on issues that are related to your passion.”

Student Maria Wardell says she is participates with many organizations which cooperate with volunteer services. Wardell is involved with Girl Scouts, Young Adult Optimists, her church and GoodFellas.  She says, “NobleHour would help me a lot because I currently am having trouble with keeping track of all the community service I do.”

However, keeping in mind that this tool for community service has many positives, she adds a negative aspect that could hurt potential users, “The platform is not going to be on Windows phones, so I would have to remember to log the information in when I get home.”

One of the other several seminars was New York Times at UM-Dearborn by Alexis Thompson from the Office of Student Engagement.

Thompson said, the New York Times (NYT) wants the UM-D campus to join the national conversation. In order to do so, the NTY gave free newspapers to the college with topics that are not only about issues in the United States, but globally as well.

Thompson introduced Times Talk: a program that allows students to gather and discuss a specific issue that was in the NYT. She thinks this program can encourage student life to become more educational and informal.

Thompson says, “It will give the students who are new on campus, such as freshman, the opportunity to join the conversation and say, ‘I like the fact that this group is putting importance on something that is going on across the world.’”

She also expressed how far a story can go to connect with not just students but their families as well. She continued, “Also it would relate to their family members and someone that they know and draws everyone in. Because no matter if someone is on the other side of the world or in the United States, there are issues that touch everybody.”

Sarah Bellaire is a student that belongs to Amnesty International and she thinks Times Talk will play a huge role in the human-rights group.” I am really excited for the Times Talks on campus,” she said.

“We will hopefully be having bi-weekly Times Talks for Amnesty International,” She continued. Bellaire says the group will advertise the Times Talk on social media and then reach out to Times Talk to advertise on their site as well.

The SOLID conference concluded with details in finances and funding by Director of Campus Organizations Abeer Yassine.