In a recent Psi Chi survey taken by 466 student members, a whopping 36% of them did not know who their chapter officers were or how to contact them. Further, 22% could not identify their primary faculty advisor or how to contact that person either.
I am sure that you will agree with me on the following: All members should know who to contact at their chapter if they have questions, suggestions, or would like to offer their services for chapter activities.
I have often heard chapter leaders wish that they could gain more participation in their Psi Chi events. In fact, to help with this, we've recently released many articles about increasing chapter engagement such as Strategies to Increase Awareness of Your Chapter and Getting Students Excited About Your Chapter. And so, I was naturally a little surprised to learn from the same survey mentioned above that 31% of students also indicated that they are not given enough opportunities to participate and lead at their chapter.
Could increasing knowledge of who your officers are and how to contact them result in the increased chapter participation and support that many officers and advisors seek? There’s one way to find out.
Today, I would like to encourage you chapter to think about some ways introduce your chapter leaders to others at your school and in your community. As it turns out, these efforts to be more connectable are not only extremely important—they are also fun. For example, last year, the Help University Chapter in Malaysia posted some really creative and professional looking officer snapshots in order to introduce members to their new team. Take a look:
And also, here’s an example of a snapshot of one of the Help chapter’s individual officers. You can view all of the others snapshots
Strategies to Recognize Your Chapter Leaders
So, what are some ways to promote your local leaders? For starters, feature your officers on social media like the examples above created by the Help University Chapter. Next, consider hosting a special Meet-And-Greet event where everyone gets to tell a little about themselves and what they’d like to accomplish with Psi Chi during the school year ahead. To increase attendance, consider letting people know that snacks will be available during this casual event.
Chapter leaders, it is also helpful to introduce yourselves at the beginning of each meeting throughout the academic year. Any new attendees will appreciate learning who you are, and some returning members may appreciate the brief reminder too. Further, you might also ask your officers to identify themselves and their role in Psi Chi during their various classes in order to reach a wider range of people.
To make your contact information more permanently available, you could also feature your officers and their e-mails on a Psi Chi bulletin board located somewhere easily seen in your psychology department. Officers’ names and contact info is useful information to include on your chapter website or blog too (of course, do get your chapter leaders' permission BEFORE sharing their personal info).
Last but not least, definitely remember to feature your faculty advisor and any coadvisors too. Your advisor is the only representative of your chapter who can remain in office for many years in a row, thus building stability and increased knowledge for your chapter and its relationships with other faculty in your psychology department. Better establishing your advisor’s role can benefit your chapter for years to come.
Officers sometimes overlook—or are a little shy about—spotlighting themselves. But don’t be. Never hesitate to “shout it out to the rooftops” that you are a Psi Chi officer. Doing so will show your pride in being a part of a Professional Organization, and it will make your chapter more approachable for other students (and faculty) interested in becoming involved. Further, Psi Chi’s mission is recognizing and promoting excellence in the science and application of psychology, so recognizing your chapter leaders aligns perfectly with the greater mission of Psi Chi.
I hope that this post has given you some quick ideas that would be easy to implement at your chapter. And now, I want to end off by sharing some good news. According to the survey I mentioned above, 94% of the students who do know their officers indicated that their officers are both friendly and knowledgeable. I am sure that they are absolutely right. Our officers are the best!