We are only a few short months into this school year and so many things are already happening for R.E.A.L. Bears. It all started this summer when myself, three other Executive Council members, and our two advisors were granted the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to attend the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE ASAP) Network Convention. We were able to spend four short days in our nation’s capital touring monuments and museums, but most importantly, we attended the conference and learned so many great ideas to bring back to R.E.A.L. Bears.
Perhaps the biggest idea we brought back from CASE ASAP, which we are working to implement now, is the restructuring of the Executive Council. I am sure the Executive Council has looked different throughout R.E.A.L. Bears history, but in my experience with the organization, there has always been a President, along with six other executive positions. The organization of the board will be changing to a President, followed by six Vice Presidents, replacing the current Executive Council positions, and then every Vice President will have one to two committees beneath them. The committees will be made up of general members, and each will have a committee chair.
Changing the names of the positions will not only make them more prestigious, but adding committees is where the true advancement comes. The organization has currently been struggling with retaining members, and by adding committees, our members will be more engaged. Members will be making decisions for the organization, which will allow them to feel valued and appreciated, and there is the added opportunity for them to serve as a committee chair. These committee chair positions give members an opportunity to transition from being a general member to an Executive Council member, and even if the chairs chose not to run for a Vice President position, they are still gaining leadership skills along the way. What’s even more exciting is that committees are no longer just an idea, but we have actually already started four this semester! We have a Membership Committee headed by our Recruitment Chair, Philanthropy Committee headed by our Philanthropy Chair, Birthday Party Committee headed by our Vice President, and a Marketing Committee lead by myself.
Another big change coming to R.E.A.L. Bears this year is student philanthropy. While donating our time to help others by participating in Adopt-A-Street and Relay For Life is great, the idea of philanthropy includes much more than community service. As an organization, we have been asked by the Office of Development that we take on this idea of students giving back to the University. Rather than fundraise however, our main goal this year is to educate students on the importance of donors to our University. Student philanthropy was a huge emphasis at the CASE ASAP conference this summer and we all came home with great ideas to help our organization and our Philanthropy Chair implement a successful education event. Our hope, with starting the Philanthropy Committee this semester is that we will be able to plan an education event to take place during the spring semester. You can learn more about what student philanthropy means to our organization by reading our Philanthropy Chair’s article.
So far the semester has been very successful. We have nine new members and more applications rolling in each week, and our Membership Committee is already hard at working preparing for recruitment in the spring semester. Our Vice President is working hard with his committee to budget and plan this year’s Missouri State 111th Birthday Party, where we hope to add a community service element. As for the two committees I head, my bylaws team has been working hard to revise the bylaws to support our new Executive Council organization, and we also established the mission statement of R.E.A.L. Bears. The marketing committee is a new concept to R.E.A.L. Bears, and had been established in order to develop a brand for the organization, and help us gain a presence on campus. When a student sees an advertisement for Missouri State’s Birthday Party, hosted by R.E.A.L. Bears, we want them to know who we are and what we do.
This is truly an exciting time to be the President of R.E.A.L. Bears. There are not only changes happening within the organization, but with the development of the alumni Board of Directors and the Alumni Council. New strides in alumni advancement are happening now, and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it, and a pleasure to be a part of such a great university.