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OTM Writing Tips

The Key to Writing Successful OTMs

What is an Of the Month award?

Of the Month (OTM) awards are given out each month in several categories. Their purpose is to reward individuals and groups who are working to positively impact the residence hall community. Anyone may submit a nomination form. Awards winners are determined by the Residence Hall Association, and winners are selected at the end of each month. All nominees will receive letters informing them of their nominations, regardless of whether they win.  OTM’s are due on the first of the month for the previous month.

What are the categories of OTMs?

Advisor of the Month

Advisors need to create a supportive environment for the leaders they work with. The focus of the Advisor OTM should be based on the advisory role of the person rather then their professional role. Personal examples are often the best way to express the intangible contributions of an advisor. The nomination should display how the advisor was instrumental in helping the leaders they work with grow, learn, and develop.  

Bulletin Board of the Month

This award recognizes the effort that goes into creating quality bulletin boards in the residence hall environment.  In writing this nomination keep in mind that it is a requirement to do bulletin boards and there is a difference between creating an amazing board and just doing because you have to.  Be sure to describe the bulletin board fully, discuss whether it was fun, educational or both.  Also add how this board impacted residents in the hall or complex.

Community of the Month

This award highlights floors, suites, apartments and other forms of residence hall communities who share an uncommonly close bond. Be sure to include examples of what this community did to deserve this nomination.  Also describe how the community contributed to the overall community of the building or complex.

NCC of the Month (National Communications Coordinator)

NCCs put in a lot of effort behind the scenes to keep RHA recognized nationally and to ensure SUNY Cortland students voice is heard nationwide.  In this nomination, please describe how the NCC went above and beyond their duties during the month of nomination?  Did the nominee use the resources available to them through NACURH or any campus resources?  What outstanding contributions were made by the individual during the month of nomination?

Executive Board Member

This award is to recognize someone who holds an executive position either in RHA Governing Board or on a Hall Council Executive Board.   Try to bring out the nominees special efforts, not just fulfilling the job requirements of the position.  Consider how the executive board member has exceeded the responsibilities of his/her position during the month.

Resident Assistant of the Month

An important thing to keep in mind is that there are different job/programming requirements on various campuses. You may include the requirements that they have fulfilled based on their responsibilities, but try to show what they have done beyond that during the month of nomination. When writing the nomination, be sure to include any unique contributions to the position the individual makes.  Also consider if there are any special projects the RA participated in this month in support of RHA in their hall or across campus.

Spotlight of the Month

This is the "catch-all" category for anyone else who has worked to make the residence halls a positive place to live. Nominees could be custodians, hall directors, faculty members involved in the hall, etc.  Make sure to describe the contribution that the individual or group made to the residence hall during the month.

Student of the Month

This award is intended to highlight a resident in any of the residence halls who has positively impacted the lives of others. Perhaps they have responded in an emergency situation, assisted another resident in a time of need, provided comic relief for the floor ... the possibilities are endless!  Please include the organizations and activities that the individual was involved in during the month.  Describe the interaction of the student with RHA or their residence hall.  Discuss how the student worked to motivate others and if there were any outstanding contributions made by the individual this month.

Programs of the Month

This award can be given to a RA, Town Hall, or even a resident who plans and implements an excellent floor or building program. Celebrate their success!  There are four program categories to nominate for; they are Social Program of the month, Educational program of the month, Community Service program of the month, and Diversity program of the month.  In your nomination make sure that you select the correct category for the program. Discuss what made the program unique from what is usually done?  How can the program be adapted to other campuses?  Did the program have lasting effects on residents? Did the program meet all the goals that were set?  What was the quality or evaluation of the program?

Tips for writing award winning OTMs

  1. Campus Level OTMs are due on the OTM database by 11:59 p.m. on the first of each month following the month of nomination (this is subject to change).
  2. Use specific concrete examples in your OTM
  3. Get to the point…avoid fluff.
  4. Utilize the spell check and grammar check features on Word or proofread your submission.
  5. For programs try to show their effectiveness
  6. Identify what is normal for the position/program and show how the person went above and beyond.
  7. Be descriptive, creative, and inventive when talking about people and events
  8. Write OTMs immediately following the program for which they are written. It will be easier to remember all of the details and events that occurred.
  9. Don’t use abbreviations/define acronyms. These aren't always universal! State exactly what you are talking about
  10. Make sure you are nominating someone or something in the correct category.
  11. Make sure a nomination is MONTH SPECIFIC! Use phrases like "in the month of ____ they did...”. Maintain this consistency throughout the OTM.
  12. Have fun! Realize you are doing this to honor someone else. Try and imagine their face when out of the blue they receive an award congratulating them for a job well done!

These tips are the criteria that the committee uses to judge OTMs.  To ensure your submission is strongly considered, please make sure you meet all the criteria.

Submitting OTMs /Setting up your OTM account

Step 1: Go to http://otms.nrhh.org

Step 2: Click on the “Create Account” link

Step 3: Follow Instructions and Fill out form!

Step 4: Submit and wait for confirmation of your account activation!!!

Step 5: Login and start submitting OTMs

**Don’t want to register?  That’s fine, just click “General Category” or “Program Category” under Submit OTMs on the left hand side of the webpage.

Top Ten ways to NOT write an award winning OTM:

1. Don’t use any information in the Key to Writing Successful OTMs.

2. Nominate someone or something in the wrong category

3. Do not make a nomination month specific

4. Leave parts of the form blank.

5. Submit your OTM late

6. Start writing an OTM at 11:55 p.m. the night it’s due.

7. Only write a few sentences about the nominee

8. Be very generic…ie. She is such a great person, everyone loves her.

9. Under any circumstances do not proofread the OTM for grammatical and spelling mistakes.

10. Don’t submit an OTM at all.