Staff tasked with helping student groups manage budgets

The Center for Student Engagement will mandate that advisers help student organizations to manage their budgets and better support populations like transfers and veterans.

A team of six staff members will now serve exclusively as lifelines for the University’s more than 450 student organizations – compared to past years, in which staffers charged with supporting student groups and programs like GW Trails were coordinated exclusively by grade year. Associate Dean of Students Tim Miller said the change will be key as funding for student groups increases to $1.75 million over the next nine years.

The move marks the third time the department has reoriented itself in the past three years. Last year, the CSE aligned its staff into year-based teams that focused on freshman, sophomore, junior, senior and graduate student needs. But that structure left out populations that encompass multiple class years, such as first generation students and international students, which will now have specific advisers.

“This allows [the specific group’s needs] to be pulled out and become a focus,” Miller said.

In the past two years since the CSE was founded, staffers were given broader responsibilities to help all students within a particular class year. The University also has offices, like the Office of Veteran Services, that work with specific populations, but the new structure will help the two departments work together, Miller said.

Ten staffers will move from positions on year-based teams to a team devoted to graduate students, special populations and programs like GW Trails, which Miller said will lead to a greater focus on programming.

Four staffers will seek to improve graduate student support services, and one staffer will support veterans, first generation students and international students.

“In the end this will be a better service to students. They won’t see any difference here as far as a drop-off, but they will see a much stronger focus from these areas, which I think is always the goal,” Miller said.

The former head of the Office of Greek Life, Christina Witkowicki, will move up to oversee all student organizations instead of directly advising groups.

“This new role will allow me to be more involved in strategic planning in the areas of overall student involvement, including student organizations and Greek Life,” Witkowicki, now the director for student involvement and student life, said.

The reorganization is cost-neutral, Miller said, because no new staffers will be hired.

The University’s more than 1,000 veterans are known for having a strong base of support, and Miller’s hope is to work with existing offices and networks to continue supporting the population.

Chris Hebdon contributed to this report.

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