Fresno State students have the opportunity to establish and build upon skills such as professional development and networking.
Sydnie Rini, president of Fresno State’s Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) chapter, talks about the significance of the chapter.
“We have a lot of opportunities, a lot of advice and we get to have a lot of one on one time with advisors and students,” Rini said. “I met a lot of great people and made a lot of friends, too.”
According to the Craig School of Business’ (CSB) website, the national SHRM “is a professional organization for human resource professionals, which provides students with access to Fresno’s local SHRM chapter, Central California Society for Human Resource Management (CCSHRM).”
The Fresno State chapter, which was founded in 1980, is affiliated with the national SHRM, and it is open to all students.
Last semester, the chapter had about 60 members, including the board members. Zhanna Sahatjian, associate professor of management and advisor for the SHRM chapter, said that there are eight board members in the chapter.
Board members run the meetings, while the other members are there to hear about what the chapter is doing, as well as enjoy the activities that happen during the meetings.
The members include Rini, Vice President Jacob Leider, Treasurer Araceli Bruno, Secretary Michelle Rico, Director of Media Technology Amairany Rodriguez, Director of Public Relations Joseph Montoya, Director of Fundraising and Events Cameron Ferraro and Member at Large Alan Bradshaw.
The university’s SHRM chapter holds monthly meetings and during these meetings, students find out about what is happening in the club. There are also guest speakers who attend the meetings and impart management advice to the students. According to the CSB’s website, the guest speakers “are generally professionals in the field of human resources.”
But with the COVID-19 pandemic, the university’s SHRM chapter has faced many challenges.
“We don’t get to be together and meet each other so a lot of the board members I’ve never met before, and so meeting them over zoom is hard because there’s a lot that the board members need to do,” Rini said.
Despite the chapter not being able to meet up in person, they are figuring out how to operate effectively during the pandemic, through advertising on social media and Zoom meetings.
Sahatjian said that the exact number of students in the chapter is yet to be determined.
“Rush week just happened, and several new recruits signed up, but again, we won’t know how many actually join until they complete the membership form and pay the $20 dues for the semester,” Sahatjian said. “We must have the actual form on file before they can become members.”
Rini said that the chapter can be beneficial for a student’s future career. “We highly recommend having something HR [human resource] related on your resume to make your resume more attractive to getting a job later on,” Sahatjian said.
The CSB’s website also mentions that the chapter also holds events such as fundraisers, social events, and volunteer events in which students can participate in.
Members of the SHRM chapter are also able to attend events organized by Fresno’s SHRM chapter, Central California Society for Human Resource Management (CCSHRM), which include luncheons, mixers, fundraisers and conferences. These events allow Fresno State students who attend, to be able to network with professionals, as well as find opportunities for jobs and internships.
In past years, the chapter has received awards, including the 2019-20 Superior Merit Award from the national SHRM.
According to a news release from Fresno State, the “Society for Human Resource Management student chapter merit award program encourages the development of more effective student chapters and distinguishes outstanding activities and projects.”
There is another type of award — the Outstanding Award. Fresno State’s SHRM chapter has yet to receive the outstanding award. In order to receive the merit award, the SHRM gets a workbook which needs to be worked on for the entire year.
Rini said there are requirements in order to receive the merit award including, having eight board members, having a SHRM chapter on campus, having general meetings and having board meetings.
President and CEO of the SHRM Johnny Taylor Jr. explained that those involved with the club will play a vital role in society in the future.
“Today’s members of our student chapters are the HR leaders of tomorrow. They are the movers and shakers of the future, and we cannot understate the vital role they play in [the society’s] success,” Taylor said. “The Fresno State student chapter is evidence that the future of HR is, indeed, in good hands. I applaud their accomplishments and ability to fiercely move forward during a time of such change and uncertainty in the workplace.”
The club is important, particularly when it comes to networking, Rini said.
“I was never a part of a fraternity or sorority because I didn’t have that much time to commit to one,” Rini said. “Joining SHRM was the perfect networking place for me to go meet students, faculty, and also members of the community, which I loved because I had nothing on my resume.”
And for all parties involved, Rini said Fresno State’s SHRM chapter has a very positive impact.
“To find something that relates not only to my major, but like my passion as HR, it means a lot for me to have such a fun role,” Rini said. “And to be involved and to meet new people and just know that I’m going to have a lot of resources, when I graduate.”