One of the underappreciated roles among SHRM volunteers is the SHRM student chapter advisor. The success of a SHRM student chapter is typically dependent on a willing faculty member to step up and take responsibility for being the lead contact. He or she advises and assists the students in running their chapter through guidance, not doing the work. A chapter advisor truly lives by the St. Norbert College motto: “Docere verbo et exemplo (to teach by word and example).”
How does a SHRM student chapter advisor accomplish the above?
First, the advisor acts as the official point of contact for the chapter. The advisor is the liaison with SHRM ensuring the chapter maintains the appropriate chapter roster as well as collects all mailings. The advisor them disseminates information and materials to the student officers and members. Second, the advisor maintains the continuity of the chapter. Since annual membership turnover is usually 40-50% due to graduating members, advisors play a critical role to provide continuity from year to year. Third, the advisor works with the professional chapter liaison to foster leadership and organizational skills in the student chapter executive board. Fourth, the advisor often will take time out of their schedule to travel with students to state, regional, and national conferences. Finally, the advisor acts as an advocate for the chapter in school affairs as needed.
Unfortunately, volunteering as a student chapter advisor is not often appreciated at many colleges and universities, as it takes time away from research and scholarship. Even an excellent advisor might not get much credit for promotion and tenure. As a result, it takes a dedicated individual to take time out of their schedule to attend chapter meetings, or prepare the students for the HR Case Competition.
However, advisors are not alone in making a student chapter a success. The advisor leans on the many HR professionals, both locally and statewide. These professionals often come speak at chapter meetings, serve as mentors for students, or even provide tours of their local companies or shadow them in their jobs.
With that in mind, the regional SHRM Case Competition and Career Summit is an opportunity to get professionals, chapter advisors, and students together. According to SHRM, "the case scenarios reviewed during the competition can focus on any number of HR issues and requires strategic thinking, ethical decision-making, and strong leadership and presentation skills." In addition, the Career Summit allows students to hear from keynote speakers and get 1-on-1 time with HR professionals to discuss career development. As SHRM has cancelled the Student Conference at the 2015 Annual Conference after 15-plus years, the regional event may be the only event that many students will have that is student-focused.
The West Division takes place March 13-14 in Ontario, CA. The early registration deadline is February 17.
The East Division takes place March 20-21 in Baltimore, MD. The early registration deadline is February 19.
The Central Division takes place April 24-25 in Covington, KY. The early registration deadline is March 26.
If you are a HR professional near any one of these areas, take some time to volunteer and meet the dedicated advisors and the future HR leaders of tomorrow.
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