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Texas Tech

July 11, 2009

I spent the weekend working with my colleagues at Experiential Adventures training the student orientation staff at Texas Tech University’s Center for Campus Life in Lubbock, Texas. It is always enjoyable to work with fellow professionals that have a slightly different skill set than you do and see how they bring their strengths to the task at hand. We had worked with these student leaders for three days in March helping them to create a tight knit community and teaching them about leadership, customer service, and mentorship.
This past weekend our challenge was to help them develop the knowledge and skills to be able to facilitate community building activities and initiative games that would assist orientation students learn about university life at Texas Tech, build a sense of community, and have fun. In addition we helped them develop a full-value contract for their work together. That’s a lot to accomplish in fourteen hours.

I think we were largely successful and I like to think that our success came about from using a Student-centered, Problem-based, Experiential, and Collaborative (SPEC) approach. On Saturday, working in small groups of 10-12, we laid the foundation for the full-value contract by using the IP3 Debriefing and Planning tools. In addition we modeled a variety of ice breakers, energizers, and initiative activities. Late in the afternoon we gave them a challenge, working in pairs, to plan a series of activities that they could use during their Red Raider Orientation. On Sunday the pairs worked together to lead one ice breaker/energizer activity and one initiative game they had researched. We wrapped up by distilling their previous day’s IP3 work into a full-value contract that they could all agree to try to live by.

It was a busy weekend as we were either facilitating or planning the next day’s activities. Zach Manning of the Center for Campus Life was an excellent host and helped make everything go smoothly. I’ll be interested to hear how they debrief their work together in terms of their full-value contract.

Although I found Texas to be too hot for my cold weather body I couldn’t complain because as much as I like cooler weather I didn’t feel bad that I missed the weekend snow flurries here in Saranac Lake.

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