Guiding Theory – Astin’s Theory of Involvement
- Involvement requires an investment of psychosocial and physical energy
- Involvement is continuous, and that the amount of energy invested varies from student to student
- Aspects of involvement may be qualitative and quantitative
- What a student gains from being involved (or their development) is directly proportional the the extent to which were involved (in both aspects of quality and quantity)
- Academic performance is correlated with the student involvement
Student Activities most basic level of involvement is participation in the activities board or other large scale programming. I believe in doing large scale campus events as well as small scale to provide a comprehensive range of ways to attract students to get involved through participation. Many of these activities will be participated in by a student once, but students with more involvement interest may return for multiple programs. These programs are the foundation and beginning of any student activities office. A good professional should manage risk, provide support to these events particularly for quality and safety, and make sure that programming is reaching out to all campus constituencies. These programs, ideally, should be put on by a campus activities board (more on this below).
Higher levels of student activities office involvement should be getting involved with Greek Life, student organizations and leadership programs. Quality leadership programming should be a concurrent experience to participating in student organizations and Greek life. Students should progress, as their interests lie, from getting involved with a student organization, to taking a leadership position, to getting an upper level leadership position. Their deeper levels of involvement should correlate to how much they get out of the experience and their academic experience at the university.
As far as campus activities boards, I believe in student led staff supported programming. A good advisor is not unlike guard rails to protect students against flying off a proverbial cliff or putting the university in an untenable situation. A great advisor challenges students to new levels and helps to grow them personally as well as professionally through their programming role.