Registered student organizations (RSO) across campus have been working hard to give their students plenty of learning and social opportunities, despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS), two RSOs have tried to make the best of this year’s learning environment, engaging alumni and former members by inviting them to return as guest speakers for virtual presentations.
ISU Council on Family Relations:
The ISU Council on Family Relations (ISU-CFR), an RSO in the FCS department, recruited a panel of former members to come together for a virtual event and discuss their career journeys, experiences at the National Conference on Family Relations, and decisions to go to graduate school while answering questions that current members had.
ISU-CFR president Rosamar Perez explained the importance of maintaining a connection between current and former members.
“It is important to keep up this engagement because every alumnus helped build the RSO to what it is now. Some created events, some were great at fundraising, and some created the RSO itself! They all are very knowledgeable about what works, and it is important to get advice and support from them to better the current and future state of our RSO. Also, all the alumni are now in fields that current members may be interested in. By inviting alumni back and keeping in touch with them, our current members can see what their future may look like and, in a way, network,” said Perez.
Perez has also been working on recording ISU-CFR virtual meetings and adding them to a YouTube channel for members to access in case they miss a meeting, want to revisit a specific topic, or want to know more about the major and RSO in general. Some of the panel of former members plan to revisit as guest speakers, and their presentations will be recorded and added to the channel as a valuable resource for current or future students.
ISU-CFR members who returned to guest speak recognize the value of staying engaged with the organization, even after graduating and moving on to work in the field.
Lauren Hardy (now an Associate Director in ISU Alumni Engagement) was a part of the group of six students who founded ISU-CFR. She remembers how the group first learned about the National Council on Family relations through Dr. Bill Anderson, and how attended a conference led to the formation of the RSO. Hardy was motived to stay engaged with the organization because of the major impact it had on her college experience and career journey afterword.
“ISU-CFR means so much to me because it changed my college career and experience for the absolute best. I was able to meet and befriend like-minded students, I was able to find true passions in FCS, and started my love for research. I will always remain connected and engaged to ISU-CFR because it is a huge part of my life,” she said.
Former ISU-CFR member Danielle Tenca says that her time spent in the RSO prepared her for her experiences post-graduation.
“My connection with ISU-CFR has most definitely prepared me for where I am today. I spent a lot of time in my undergrad years working on tasks relating to the organization I learned time management skills, organization, and leadership skills. I do see myself as a leader because of this club and want to take on more leadership roles in my future. I had an abundance of support during my time in the club and post-graduation,” she said.
Former member Sarah Mimnaugh echoes that statement. “I one hundred percent feel like the connections, confidence, and experience that I gained from ISU-CFR got me my job after graduation. I am also still in communication with several of the members that I worked with throughout my participation,” she said.
Child Life Club
The Child Life Club has also been working hard to utilize former members and FCS department alumni to visit and present various topics to current members, something that everyone involved has enjoyed this year.
The recent lineup of speakers talked to current members about topics such as using dogs to assist in child life interventions, different types of play that child life specialists use in a hospital setting, and tips on landing internships.
“Opportunities for child life and in the hospital are so difficult to find and get into right now. It’s good for students to be able to learn from these professionals and gain these practical experiences, but it’s also great for alumni to be able to reconnect to the place where they got their education and reinstall a value on teaching students in the field,” said Child Life Club president Rachel Rymer.
Former member Allison West became involved with the RSO during her time in graduate school and has continued to return to speak to members ever since. She comes back to present on topics like child life in outpatient clinic settings, diagnostic education, medical play, and her organization’s annual summer camp. She focuses on making her presentations hands-on and concrete and is passionate about educating others on her work in the field.
“There are aspects of child life that cannot be learned from a textbook, but rather it has to be done hands-on. Child Life Club provided many “hands-on” opportunities to do just that. I continue to use some techniques that were shared during the medical play presentation, as well as the end-of-life presentation in my current role at the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate Clinic. I also think providing direct connections with Certified Child Life Specialists offers additional opportunities to get different perspectives into the field, weather that is prior to internships or after taking a first child life job,” said West.
Rymer says that the RSO has one more guest speaker scheduled to present this year, and she will begin working on plans for next year where she hopes to continue keeping current and former members connected.
Interested in learning about majors or other RSOs in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences? Visit their website for more information.
For more information on ISU-CFR, check out the department’s page on student life.
For more information on Child Life Club, check out their Instagram account @Isu_childlife or website here.