In My Own Words
Thoughts on Education, Artistry, and Leadership

My (occasional) blog includes articles I've been invited to contribute and remarks from events at which I have been asked to speak, in addition to comments written specifically for my web audience.

Please send your comments and critiques; they are always appreciated.

Welcome back! Students are returning to campus right about now, and they're looking for something to do. How will they know to join your organization?

You're probably dreading having to do all that work to print posters, buy giveaways for the campus involvement fair, and put flyers out in the dining hall. It's a lot of work and it only got a couple of people interested last year.

Well, the first-year students will go to the involvement fair, at least. The sophomores, juniors, and seniors... not so much. Really though, do you remember what groups you visisted at the involvement fair? Probably not, so what's the point? (You could probably find the groups' names on all the free swag hiding in the bottom of that box you packed when you moved out of your first residence hall.)

So what's you're group going to do to attract new members?

Unless you're in a fraternity or sorority, you probably don't have a built in recruitment mechanism on your campus, so you'll need to be smart and get moving. (And if you are a fraternity or sorority, keep reading, because this applies to you anyway.)

The good news: Recruiting is easy.

The bad news: You can't just post up a few flyers and expect people to join. Telling people you're recruiting doesn't work, either. It's tacky.

Here's what does work:

What You See... Doesn't Have to Be What You Get by Daniel M. Reck, on Flickr

Will your student organization still going to be around next fall? We’re coming up on April, a special time of year on college campuses. The days are getting longer, temperatures are rising, and students are looking ahead to their plans after the spring term ends.

This is also the time of year that so many student organizations quietly fade into oblivion. Of course, that’s not the intention of the student leaders. It’s just so easy to put off planning for the next academic year with all those exams, projects, and—let’s face it—friends wanting to hang out in the warm breezes.

Fortunately, there are a few simple things that student leaders can do now to be ready after the summer:

The national leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have in recent days mulled the decision to reverse course on a membership policy which prohibits gay men and lesbians from participating in the organization. Now, as the organization celebrates its 103rd anniversary, they decided the BSA "needs more time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy," according to Deron Smith, their national spokesman.

In the year since the BSA reaffirmed their exclusionary policy, over 1.5 million people signed petitions in opposition. And since last week, when the BSA announced they would review the policy during this week's national meeting, many voices spoke for keeping the ban. Some of the most prominent voices supporting the prohibition of gays and lesbians defend it by saying that homosexuality violates the BSA's moral principles, usually citing "A Scout is Reverent" from the Scout Law. However, the argument's logic is shouded in fog thicker than the London mist American William D. Boyce became lost in a century ago. Impressed when the Boy Scout who stopped to help him refused a tip, Boyce founded the BSA on February 8, 1910, basing the new organization on principles defined in the Scout Oath and Law.

Now, it seems that no one is actually looking at the BSA's written statements of principles. Not one person has been able to answer the question I first posed publicly last August:

If "A Scout is Reverent" and there are legitimate spiritual traditions and faiths which welcome gays and lesbians as any other people, how can the Boy Scouts of America justify a policy in which some scouts' faith systems are valued more than others?

The crux of the question is the comparison of the BSA's own definitions of their principles against their policy of barring gay and lesbian members.

Broken Hearts

Let us remember the children and educators lost on December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Let us celebrate their lives. Let us care for the survivors. Let us protect our children. Let us find peace.

We have broken hearts, and they will take a long time to mend. But even in our sorrow, even in our anger, let us remember to love, to care, to reach out.

There will be plenty of time for debate about how to respond and how to prevent future tragedies—as if we haven't seen enough. When we do, however, I hope we will do it with civility. With respect. Do not allow us to tarnish the memories of the lost by stooping to bickering and name-calling. If we can come together to negotiate a path to a safer world for our children, then we honor everyone who was lost:

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