One Last Time

Teach Them How to Say Goodbye

Jamie Lloyd

Thu Mar 22 2018 08:03:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Rock Balancing

Each year as it starts to feel more like spring on campus I am reminded that in a few short weeks RHAs, NRHH chapters and community/hall councils will all be clamoring to create closure for the year. On many campuses that may look like a series of final programs, celebrations and banquet to mark the end of the academic year and the transition of leadership roles between students.


There is a theory about group development that says the last phase for a group is “adjourning” a time that involves terminating the task behaviors that the group has been engaging in like planning events, meeting as a board or serving as a representative and instead is replaced by a steady disengagement from that set groups relationships. Planning this conclusion may include recognition for not only the achievements of the group but also participating in the group which allows for members to say goodbye. For some this might create more apprehension than excitement especially for leaders who might be concluding their time in the residence halls or as a student at the institution. To make this adjourning period successful leaders of group have to find methods for the group to say goodbye.


Some ideas for facilitating adjournment:

  1. Host a final gathering with a favorite dessert or snack that the group enjoys

  2. Create opportunities for group members to recognize each other as members, people and contributors to the organization.

  3. Attend or plan a banquet for the group

  4. Review pictures, videos or moments the group had together.

  5. Create a space for members to reflect on what they’ve learned about themselves and the group members.

  6. Make or purchase a take-away memento that can be kept by each member.


As you start planning for the end of your academic year what ways will you ensure that your team or the teams around you take the time to adjourn the year? If you host a banquet on your campus do you have opportunities for members to reflect and be recognized?


Another place where a lot of adjourning takes place is at the NACURH Annual Conference. If NACURH 2018 will be your last NACURH, how can you create opportunities to adjourn this part of your student leader world? If NACURH 2018 is your first conference or you are returning next year, how can you support those around you who might be struggling with it being their last conference? 


Taking the time to plan how your group will say goodbye will make for a memorable experience and allow for each member to acknowledge the role that their involvement played in the organization’s success this year.


Tuckman, B. & Jensen, M. (1977) Stages of Small Group Development. Group and Organizational Studies, 2, 419-427.

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