Identities and leadership: an explorable social justice issue within organizations

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Remember all those MAP-Works surveys all first year students had to take? There are a lot of hidden gems of information buried in all this data.

Early this semester, students took the spring transition survey, to recap how they did last semester and examine their goals for this semester. Part of these questions included, “During this term, to what degree do you intend to: Participate in a student organization?” and “During this term, to what degree do you intend to: Hold a leadership position within a college/university student organization?”

 

Gender

Ten percent more of women want to participate in student organizations than men, 29 percent to 18.9 percent. The university has about 1,000 more females enrolled at this instution in comparison to men. However, 9 percent of men intend to hold a leadership position, compared to 12 percent of women.

This means out of those getting involved in student organizations (with women being the primary involvement), men are more likely to want leadership positions within them. Ultimately, this could make a good balance of men/women on executive boards, but it prompts the question why are our women interested in supporting organizations, but not leading them? Are patriarchal views suppressing our women from desiring to claim the title of leader?

 

Residence

About 2,700 of the university’s 10,500 student population are those who live on campus. Several Student Association representatives commented in their applications that commuter students are less likely to get involved and would like to get them more involved. To my understanding, up until now, commuter involvement has been an observed issue with no concrete data supporting the claims. But these observations would prove correct.

Nearly twice the number of residents are interested in getting involved in student organizations than commuters, 28.7 percent to 15.8 percent.Of these, half of the residents intend to take on a leadership position, and one in three of those involved commuters plan to take one on. Therefore, only 5 percent of the commuters around campus will ever be able to put a student organization executive position on their resumes.

These commuters may be saving some money by taking the beds they sleep in away from their world of academics, but it could be costing them things more important than just money.

 

Race

About 77 percent of this campus is white, 9 percent of the campus population is black and 2.5 percent is Hispanic.

One in four white students intend to get involved, and one in ten white students plan to have a leadership position.

One in four black students intend to get involved, and 17 percent of black students plan to have a leadership position.

One in three Hispanic students plan to get involved, but only 12 percent plan to hold a leadership position.

This means  about 160 black students intend to hold leadership positions and 31 Hispanic students intend to hold one. Compare this to the 813 white students wanting leadership positions.

I’m not entirely sure why white students are less inclined to want involvement or  leadership positions, but in terms of creating diverse student organizations, this data is likely beneficial to the campus community.

 

This data shows us a lot about the environment of the university and the areas students, faculty and staff need to strive in. There will, of course, be lots of unknowns about the reasoning behind the data, but it can be the start of conversations that can lead us to making the Saginaw Valley community represented by all identities.