L G B T   C a m p u s   O r g a n i z i n g
Make sure you encourage people to do
tributed time and energy.  Make sure all
things their way, not just your way, the
your leaders are acknowledged and
chair s way, or "the way we ve always
appreciated frequently.  Everyone in your
done it."  Creativity and new ideas
group is a volunteer and has other impor 
should always be welcomed; and 
tant things to do.  Most people get plenty
of criticism; make sure this is balanced
When conflicts arise between commit 
by lots of appreciation, or no one will
tee members or members of the group
stay involved for very long.  If you have
that get in the way of the group s func 
trouble getting people to take on things or
tioning, help people talk to each other
be involved, this is a crucial lesson.  The
and resolve their conflicts.  Avoidance
way in which your leaders and most
doesn t usually solve things, but
active members are treated sets a model
makes everyone feel less safe.
or tone for the whole group.  If those who
do any little thing are appreciated for it,
others will more likely take things on.  If
people are criticized, and their hard work
Provide Ways to Learn
is not valued, others will become more
Joining an organization can be bewilder 
reluctant to take things on.  If leaders are
ing to newcomers.  Often as leaders, we
happy in their role others will want to be
forget how much we really know.  Some 
leaders.  If leaders are resentful, burned
times the administrative red tape is too
out, isolated, or unappreciated others will
confusing (or new people fear it is);
steer clear of leadership.
sometimes people are newly "out" and
think they don t understand the issues
Although involving others takes a lot of
enough yet.  Find a dignified way for new
work and may seem emotionally draining
people to learn the basics.  Show them
in the short run, it is worth all the effort
how your office is set up, take them
in the long run.  If you don t involve oth 
through the files, introduce them to the
ers and build their leadership, your group
already active people in the group, let
will die.  Sooner or later (maybe two
them know where folks hang out infor 
months, maybe two years) the group will
mally (you d be surprised how much of
eventually dwindle to a handful of tired
your group s business really happens
and resentful people.  For good or bad
here), help them understand student
reasons other lgbt students will criticize
activity policies and regulations, and tell
these leaders, but will not join them.  The
them some history of your group s
group will have less and less activities,
accomplishments.  Hold workshops and
less visibility, and less credibility.  Once
training sessions for the whole group to
this handful of leaders leaves, the group
learn some of the basic skills.  Have an
will be in crisis.  Sometimes a mostly
experienced member buddy up with a
dead group like this can limp along for a
newer person, and be the new person s
long time without really working.
teaching partner for as long as necessary
for them to feel they know the ropes.
If you consistently involve other lgbt stu 
dents no one person will be indispens 
Appreciate Each Person s Work
able.  That is, Laura can go away her
Make it a routine part of every meeting to
junior year or Chris can take a leave from
thank by name every person who con 
school and the group will survive these
3 0
B u i l d i n g   A   H e a l t h y   O r g a n i z a t i o n


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