Cody Rapp had one message to the group of students working on Clarion’s Communiversity Relations project. Have a “take away” – something to be gained from that experience.
Rapp, the assistant to the director of the Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry, talked to three student intern teams working on arts and culture, agriculture and business and the economy on Oct 22.
He spoke of the importance of retention with the idea of recruitment being the biggest influence. “Good recruitment will reap great retention,” Rapp said. “Retention is a part of everything. Really, anytime you’re involved in a membership organization, retention is automatically a part of something you do.”
He added that creating a feeling of exclusivity for each of the members is also paramount. Equally as important is finding a purpose and ensuring the leader understands and communicates it effectively.
“Everyone has to have a purpose,” Rapp told the group. The intern teams decided their purpose was to make the Clarion community a better place.
A 2012 Clarion graduate, Rapp stressed credibility. “Values will determine your actions,” he said in the hour-long presentation. “Do what you say you’re going to do.”
Rapp explained to the group the importance of following through with plans and goals, and he advised them to continue communicating with participants throughout the process.
Above all, Rapp said caring about the project would cause others to buy into its goals. He quoted leadership speaker John C. Maxwell, saying, “People don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care.”
In dealing with large group projects, creating clarity through communication was a focal point. Rapp explained to do that, the group must act in accordance with the purpose and communicate in order to fulfill the goal.
It’s sometimes a difficult task. He told the group the most effective ways to accomplish it is through having a time commitment, creating a share vision, applying past lessons and being respectful.
Rapp spent extra time discussing applying past lessons, admitting that mistakes he made helped him grow and adapt.
Sponsored by a High Impact Practice Innovation Grant, the Communiversity project is described on the university website as “a program that unites college students and community members to build dialog, partnerships, and action plans.”