When I was a student leader and aspiring graduate student, I spent many years trying to create ‘the next big thing’ that was more creative than anything that currently existed. I wanted to ‘make my mark’ on society and I thought that this was the way to do it. After putting in all this hard work, I realized that I was essentially rebuilding the wheel. Once I was in graduate school, I realized that I could have spent my time more wisely. Instead of creating everything from scratch, I could have spent that time looking at my resources and research what other schools and departments were doing.
Whenever I am assigned a new project for one of my GA/GI positions, I am cognizant of my past mistakes. There is a high chance that whatever training or program I want to do is already out there; and if it isn’t, there is probably something similar that I can use to build off. For example, I created a program called Queer Bystander Intervention Workshop: Reducing Sexual Misconduct in the LGBTQ+ Community (This workshop is used as a training for our LGBTQ+ student groups at Tufts and also available as a workshop to other groups). Instead of creating the workshop from scratch, I used previous knowledge and resources that I had from Green Dot Inc., and reached out to colleagues from Tufts and other schools who work in health education (specifically LGBTQ and sexual health education, Title IX coordinators, Diversity offices, LGBTQ Centers, etc). While I was creating the program, it was clear how important it was to pull together all my resources. I learned that other departments at Tufts were working on similar programs but everyone was doing their own thing. Eventually, everyone came together under the President’s task force to pool our resources.
Considering the situation at Tufts where many departments were separately working on the same thing, I suspect we’re not the only school where this is happening. Although it’s okay to have our own programs, it’s also important that we recognize our resources and try to work together whenever possible; whether that is with other departments or with other similar schools. If nothing else, sharing resources will:
1) Save you time by not having to rewrite documents that already exist
2) Save you stress by having a training or program that is already proven to be successful. You can worry less about the trial and error process.
3) Build your network because reaching out across the institution can lead to additional benefits totally unrelated to your initial project.
When I was younger, my dad used to coach soccer. In soccer, as in other sports, skill and tactic are the most important parts of the game. Although you need to be in good physical condition, if you don’t have the skill and tactics to score a goal, then it doesn’t matter if you can run a marathon; which is why he always used to tell us to “work smarter”. The same can be applied to the work we do in Student Affairs . In order for us to “work smarter”, we should use our resources and see what is currently being done in the field. We can then use what we have gathered to modify it into a program that will cater to our students, faculty, or staff needs.
Starting in the summer of 2013, Racheal began her personal project of creating a Queer Bystander Intervention Training/Workshop. She has gone through ‘Train the Trainer’ with Green Dot Inc., and has worked closely with Student Affairs Professionals (LGBTQ+ Student Services, Health Education, Women’s Center, Diversity Services, etc), to help create and modify her training. If you are interested in learning more about her workshop, please visit this site: Queer Bystander Intervention Workshop