With almost 160 different active clubs on campus, it’s needless to say it takes plenty of effort, planning and commitment to make sure each organization runs efficiently.
What many students may not realize is out of the 160 clubs on campus, more than half of them are considered general clubs.
General clubs at Sonoma State consist of a variety of different multicultural, professional, academic, departmental and honor society groups.
Although there are about 100 general clubs on campus, there’s only one General Club Adviser, Joanie Ly. Born and raised in both San Jose and Oakland, Ly gained much of her experience managing different orientation programs at Rutger University and Amherst College in Massachusetts. Soon realizing she wanted to be closer to her family, Ly made her way back to the Bay Area and began working at Sonoma State as the general clubs adviser in September 2016.
With many students participating in general clubs on campus, Ly has acquired many responsibilities with her title.
“I attend many meetings with students and clubs on campus, as well as supervising four student assistants, while working alongside the professional staff members Rob Smith and Jessica Roshak,” Ly said.
Although Ly has only been working at Sonoma State for a short amount of time, she has learned a lot about her students and the best way to accommodate them.
“I help support students through events such as club meetings. For example, I will attend FASSU meetings to make sure they feel supported and they have everything they need. I also work with clubs such as Multicultural Organization and Club Alliance,” said Ly.
Kierra Boykin, a student assistant with the Center for Student Leadership, Involvement and Service is one of four assistants that work with Ly on communicating with students and putting on Sonoma State events and programs.
“Joanie is very driven and determined to help all those around her. She inspires me to be a better person and work harder every day. Whether she’s meeting with students or faculty, her humor and fun personality leaves everyone feeling happier,” Boykin said.
“We just had our first annual award ceremony that [the center] puts on to honor and recognize the hard work student organizations and clubs do on campus,” Ly said.
At this ceremony awards such as Advisor of the Year and Community Impact Award were given to the different clubs on campus.
“It was really cool getting to see all these different student clubs and their student leaders that run and manage these organizations, come together and be celebrated for their hard work and accomplishments at Sonoma State,” said Ly.
Throughout these past couple of semesters, Ly has learned a lot about what it takes to be an effective and resourceful advisor for her students.
“The hardest thing about being the general club adviser is letting students know that I am here and I am available for them,” said Ly. “Many students come to me last minute when there’s already a lot of red flags, when they could have just come to me at the beginning and so I could help them along the way. The biggest challenge has definitely been outreach and communication with student leaders.”
Though Ly may find effectively communicating with students to be challenging, Bri Bartlik, the center’s marketing student assistant, feels Ly puts in the necessary effort to make that connection easier.
“Joanie is very involved with the clubs and the members. She goes above and beyond to make a connection with them,” Bartlik said.
Bartlik feels she too has a positive relationship with Ly.
“We have a straightforward relationship that is real, we are straight to the point and I love that about Joanie,” says Bartlik. “It is really easy to start a club and I highly recommend it. If there is anything you’re interested in, I guarantee you someone else is going to be interested in the same thing, so why not turn it into a club?” Ly said.