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May 10, 2013

ORCSA to try new RSO advising model

This fall, the Office of Reynolds Club and Student Activities (ORCSA) will adopt a new model for classifying registered student organizations (RSOs) based on the range and scale of the RSO rather than its subject focus. The new model was outlined in a presentation given to a group of RSO leaders in Bartlett Trophy Lounge by ORCSA staffers Jen Kennedy and Arthur Lundberg yesterday evening.

The color-coded system ranges in order from emerging and new RSOs (red), those which run small, low-maintenance meetings (orange), RSOs which organize several large programs a year (green), RSOs with complex organizations and frequent large-scale programs like University Theater (blue), and RSOs which have a high impact on the wider community and which deal with significant financial and risk management considerations like Scav (purple).

RSOs will also be assigned to advisers based on their color code. Orange RSOs, which comprise the majority, will be assigned peer advisers who can sign off on expense reports. This, Kennedy believes, will allow advisers to “spend less time signing transaction documents…and spend [more] time advising, which is what they’re here to do.”

Kennedy said she hopes the new model will also be less strenuous on student leaders, who will now be able to go through more tailored trainings that fit their RSO’s needs. In the past, all RSOs were required to attend annual, three-hour trainings. Beginning next year, orange RSOs will have to complete online trainings, while only the more complex RSOs will still participate in in-person trainings.

Though both Kennedy and Lundberg stressed the increased ease of the new model for student leaders and advisers, a subtext throughout was the issue of funding and the need for increased collaboration and partnership.

RSOs would now be allowed to identify as multipurpose, as both “political” and “academic,” and thus be allowed to explore new and innovative partnerships. Before, groups could only officially identify as one type of RSO. ORCSA is hoping that the new model encourages RSOs to partner with similar-subject RSOs, departments, and institutions on campus, with Kennedy offering the example of fine arts partnerships with the Logan Center, or religious groups partnering with the Institute of Politics.

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