Theme #1 Report
Theme #1: We will enhance the FSILG member experience
The FSILG Strategic Planning team for Theme 1 focused on incorporating ideas from the FSILG Office, students and alumni in order to provide a premiere leadership development opportunity at the Institute via the FSILG system. In order to produce a diverse and comprehensive perspective on FSILG membership enhancement, Theme 1 encompassed the viewpoints of a myriad of stakeholders. It is worth noting that it was difficult to engage students with the increasingly time consuming demands of the MIT academic experience; however, we made as much progress as possible with the limited bandwidth.
Theme #1 Initiatives:
- Initiative #1.1: Provide educational guidance for leadership development
- Initiative #1.2: Assist FSILGs to define and articulate missions and values of organizations
- Initiative #1.3: Provide framework for individual members’ personal growth
- Initiative #1.4: Create opportunities for community building on the MIT campus
What has been accomplished: There were a number of starts – Theme Team 1 experimented with using social media to engage audience members by hosting a Twitter chat using the hashtag #FSILGValues and catalyzed the personal development efforts through intentional partnership with the AILG Education Committee and its educational programming. Discussions about how to engage undergraduate students and alumni in Theme 1 efforts were ongoing throughout the process and ultimately the Team lost steam with a lack of volunteer support. One of the biggest lessons learned was that of volunteer engagement, both from the student and alumni end. Team 1 was challenged by a lack of direction and difficulties creating buy in from key stakeholders. It is Theme Team 1’s hope and expectation that the discussion around articulating values and development of leadership and personal growth experiences will be further developed as they are embedded into the MIT Division of Student Life (DSL) Strategic Plan, the MIT Residential Life & Dining (RL&D) Strategic Plan, and the FSILG Office’s strategic initiatives moving forward.
What was dropped: After much discussion on the topic of community building on the MIT Campus (#1.4) during the planning process, this initiative was dropped from the areas of focus during the implementation phase. This initiative received little support in FSILG Community meeting discussions and failed to attract a Champion to lead the initiative’s efforts. It was highlighted in this process that many of the individual FSILGs already occupy an identified area on campus for their members to gather, mainly during lunch periods in the Student Center, and the FSILG Student Governing Councils (LGC, Panhel, and IFC) have regular meetings and physical office space centrally located on campus. As such, the need for communal space might not be as great of a concern than what was initially articulated at the start of the strategic planning process.
What work is continuing on: At this time, there are no members of the Theme 1 planning team (lead and initiative Champions) involved in the execution of the FSILG Strategic Plan. The FSILG Office staff will continue to work with the AILG, the FSILG Student Governing Councils, and individual chapter leaders to outline the mission and values of their own organizations and of the greater FSILG Community. It is recommended that the FSILG Office staff collaborate closely with the Council Leadership and AILG to outline an accountability mechanism based on these values by way of developing and enforcing documented expectations of FSILG member organizations. The FSILG Office will continue to work on the “Expectations of Recognition” and “Approved Institute Housing Guidelines” documents, will create a plan for enhancing community engagement on these efforts, and will communicate the roll out in the near future. While not a directly stated outcome of the FSILG Strategic Plan Theme 1, this effort connects directly to Theme 2’s goals of strengthening the relationship with MIT and ultimately strengthening the community as a whole. As mentioned previously, some of the groundwork laid by Theme 1 will be fulfilled through the efforts of the DSL and RL&D strategic planning efforts as well as through the daily strategic initiatives of the FSILG Office moving forward.
What emerging needs were identified: A series of events occurred during the time between the plan being proposed and the final report crafted that impacted the FSILG Community greatly – mainly the change in the FSILG Resident Advisor Program (now Graduate Resident Advisor), the ongoing situation with the City of Boston Inspectional Services Department (ISD), and a handful of student behavioral issues. These events have emphasized the ever-growing need for a values-based FSILG membership experience and a unified FSILG Community (students, staff, alumni, and national organizations). These events have also highlighted the need for clearly articulated expectations for the recognition of FSILGs as organizations at MIT and the recognition of FSILG residential facilities as recognized Institute housing, and for an enforced accountability mechanism driven by FSILG Community values. These needs are not new to the Community, but have come to be much more timely due to the potentially destructive nature of future incidents. With mission-driven activities, clearly articulated expectations, and enforced accountability, the FSILG Community should not only survive but also thrive at MIT.