February 24, 2024

Why Chapter Standards Matter at Student Organizations

Author: Online Learning Tips Staff Writer
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Start a degree program at American Public University.

By Janet Athanasiou, Student Affairs Liaison, APUS and Michelle Gilbert, Student Affairs Liaison

Chapter standards for our student organizations are very important at APUS. They are a way to ensure that the university’s expectations for that organization are met and also provide a way for chapter achievements to be recognized.

In 2013, the APUS Office of Student Affairs created the Chapter Standards Program. This program helps student organizations create opportunities for leadership and engagement as well as build a sense of community among organization members.

In addition, the Chapter Standards Program helps our student organizations to build and promote programs for their members, including guest speakers, fundraisers and social media contests.

Student Organizations’ Performance Is Judged According to Chapter Standards Program

Under the Chapter Standards Program, student organizations’ performance and community involvement is evaluated in five categories:

  • Leadership
  • Professional
  • Academic Recognition
  • University Service
  • Community Relations

To be recognized in these categories, student leaders collaborate with other organizations, volunteer in their communities and build their networks. Student leaders also acknowledge the academic accomplishments of their organization’s members and contribute to the university community by sharing student successes and creating a vibrant student life outside of the classroom.

Maintaining Chapter Standards Affects Student Organizations’ University Standing

There are a few requirements that student organizations must follow to maintain an active standing with the university. These requirements include:

  • Registering Chapter Officers in the campus leadership program
  • Reviewing and updating chapter constitutions
  • Completing an annual plan that outlines what the organization intends to accomplish throughout the year
  • Submitting an officer transition form to advise Student Affairs of any change in chapter leadership
  • Attending quarterly round-table meetings with Student Affairs
  • Participating in the annual Student Organization Survey
  • Monitoring the organization’s virtual communities and social media contributions
  • Welcoming new members

The more activities and involvement that a student organization has, the higher the university standing it receives.

University Standing Impacts Student Organizations’ Funding

A student organization’s annual funding is based on its chapter’s university standing. To indicate its university standing, the organization is awarded one of four medals:

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum (new for 2019)

What Did APUS Student Organizations Accomplish in 2018?

In 2018, student organizations reported over 1,500 activities to the Chapter Standards Program. Some highlights of organizations’ activities include:

  • Multiple chapters participated in Wreaths Across America in cemeteries all over the country.
  • The Newman Center won the Outstanding New Organization Award.
  • The Newman Center sent representatives to the Catholic Church during the World Affairs conference.
  • The R.E.A.D. Book Club hosted a talk by author Anna LeBaron on her book The Polygamist’s Daughter.
  • Active Minds held a two-day Suicide Prevention Awareness Symposium.

APUS Student Organizations Continuing to Grow

Over the past five years, our student organizations have grown tremendously. Several new organizations, including Active Minds (focusing on promoting mental health awareness in university students), the Newman Center (providing a forum for university members to grow in their Catholic faith), the Model UN Club and the Math Club, have also been added to the Chapter Standards Program.

Student organizations’ achievements have not gone unnoticed. We have now awarded bronze, silver or gold medals to 50 student organizations.

For more information or to get involved with one of the more than 65 student organizations available to you, visit the Student Activities Center or contact studentaffairs@apus.edu.

About the Authors

Janet Athanasiou has worked for American Public University System since 2011, holding positions such as Academic Advisor, Senior Manager of Advising Schools, and Graduate Academic Advisor. Previously, she worked as a Residence Coordinator for the University of Alberta in Canada. Her academic credentials include a bachelor’s degree in history from Dalhousie University and a master of education degree in counseling psychology from James Madison University. Janet is currently working on her doctoral degree in higher education and higher education administration at George Mason University.

Michelle Gilbert has been with American Public University System since 2010 and joined the Office of Student and Alumni Affairs in 2013. Michelle works closely with student organization management, primarily focusing on the Chapter Standards Program. She builds relationships with students, alumni and university leaders to oversee co-curricular programs. Michelle received her bachelor’s in public relations from Heidelberg University in 2008 and her master of arts in management from American Public University System in 2014.

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