Training and Leadership of Sport Club Officers

February 05, 2013

Christopher Schmoldt
Assistant Director, Sport Clubs
Florida State University

Sport Clubs at Florida State University (FSU) are registered student organizations that have been formed for the purpose of competing and or participating in a particular sport. Each club’s level of competition or activity is unique and is dependent on club leadership. Sport Clubs at FSU are student initiated, student-led and student-managed, providing an opportunity for the development of leadership and other transferable skills, and to contribute to the overall college experience.

Florida State has 45 instructional, recreational, and competitive Sport Clubs for the 2012-2013 school years ranging from Lacrosse to Rugby to Bass Fishing. Sport Clubs at FSU are required to travel or host annual seminars in order to remain an active club within Sport Club Program. This helps to differentiate them from the 600 other organizations on campus. So for example, in the case of Martial Arts groups who may not travel as a group to competitions, they will host a seminar each week with an instructor from their discipline to provide demonstrations to students.

FSU employees 6 student club program assistants who are supervised by a full time professional Sport Club Program Director, who in turn is supervised by the Assistant Director of Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs within the Campus Recreation Department. Due to the number, size and diversity or our Sport Clubs, each club is required to have a minimum of three active officers or leaders of their organization who go through training each year. We require a President, Treasurer, and Safety/Travel Officer while also encouraging the use of a Vice-President, and Secretary.
The training of officers is very important as they are the key to each clubs success. For that reason we place a very high emphasis on our officer training each year. Trainings consist of informing each officer of their duties and responsibilities with the Sport Club Program, and each session is specific to each officer and their responsibilities. We encourage officers to attend multiple sessions to become a well-rounded leader of their group.

Our Safety/Travel officer training focuses on travel requirements and a risk management plan. When clubs travel they are required to file paperwork with the club and have a meeting with a Program Assistant where they receive directions, emergency contacts for members of their club, emergency contacts of the Professional staff as well as hospitals closest to their destination. The risk management plan is a detailed document covering topics such as: how the individual officer will inspect the playing surface prior to activity, who is in charge should an injury occur, how they train new members, and an emergency action plan.

In addition to officer training, we offer a Leadership Series which consists of six speakers to discuss various topics related to the development of our Sport Club Officers. In the past these topics have included community service, fundraising, budgeting, resume writing, teamwork, hazing prevention and marketing to name a few. The topics vary each year and we try to involve different on-campus speakers to discuss important leadership qualities with our students. These sessions have been beneficial as we have continued to educate our officers on ways to become a better officer and leader with the emphasis on transferable skills.

Officer training and the Leadership Series are part of our Tier System, which was implemented about two years ago to help keep clubs active and assist with the allocation of funding. This system requires clubs to participate in community service, fundraising, attending other Sport Club events, travel, hosting of events, roster size, completing Sport Club paperwork, attending Sport Club meetings in addition to training and the Leadership Series. Each club is required to meet the minimum in each category to be a part of the Sport Club Program; however we strongly encourage clubs to go above and beyond to be active and represent Florida State.

Overall these additions to the Florida State University Sport Club Program have shown to develop some great student leaders by the time they graduate from FSU. I have seen a tremendous grown in the ownership of these leaders as it relates to the success of their club within our Sport Club Program. As an administrator who prides himself on Student Development, it is very rewarding to see the progression and development of an officer as they graduate and move on.

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