The committee is the driving force behind the chemical society. Therefore, it is vital to have people who want to be part of a committee and that they are in the appropriate roles.
|President/Chairman:||They need to be able to guide the committee, keep them motivated and ensure that everyone is pulling their weight. A good chair will guide discussion, not lead it.|
|Secretary:||They need to be well organised as they will be responsible for the agenda/minutes, arranging meetings and events.|
|Treasurer:||They need to have a good head for figures as they will be responsible for the finances, including looking after the books and getting funding. They will also need to be able to sell the society to potential sponsors.|
|Year Reps:||They should be well known within their year so that your message will get back to the year groups. Endeavour to have a healthy mix between undergraduates and postgraduates.|
|RSC Liaison:||The vital link between your student society, the RSC and the Student Chemical Society Network.|
|Staff:||A member of staff gives your committee credibility and enables more communication to the rest of the staff in the department.|
|Other roles include:||Social Rep, Sports Rep, Magazine Editor, Publicity Rep, Webmaster/designer|
Teamwork and good organisation is essential if your committee is going to be a success.
Choosing Committee Members
Committee members can be either elected or nominated. Some societies hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) at which the new committee is voted for by members of the society. Other committees are established less formally when a willing group of people forms the committee of their own accord. Either way is acceptable but remember that elected committee members carry a greater legitimacy and are more accountable to their members. If you are appointing a committee make sure it is fair. A committee with the impression of being a clique of friends will not attract many members.
Meetings are essential for ensuring that the committee is communicating and should be held on a regular basis, e.g. once a week/fortnight.
The meeting will have more structure if you draw up an agenda beforehand. Send an email to all committee members asking if they have any items for the agenda. Keeping to the agenda helps to cover all the necessary items and will hopefully keep the meeting short.
Below are some guidelines for putting together an agenda:
- Give full information as to the date, time and venue of the meeting
- Item 1 - receive apologies for those who are unable to attend the meeting
- Item 2 - to approve the minutes of the previous meeting. This is to ensure that everyone is happy with the content. Should any corrections be needed, they should also be done on the copy in the minute folder. The Chair should sign and date the minutes when everyone is satisfied with the content
- Item 3 - receive matters arising from the previous meeting
- Item 4 - receive matters at the discretion of the Chair
- The date and venue of the next meeting should always be included on the agenda
- AOB - 'Any other business'
The Chair should be consulted when drawing up the agenda and all accompanying papers should be approved. The agenda and supporting papers should be sent to all members of the committee, plus any invitees or speakers, well before the meeting.
The venue is very important when deciding where to hold your meeting. It's worth noting that having your meeting in the pub may seem like a good idea, however, you probably won't decide on anything more important than who's got the next round.
Taking minutes is a good way to keep everyone on the committee well informed. Alternatively, action based spread-sheets may prove more reader friendly.
Below are some guidelines for taking minutes:
- Give the name of the committee, the date and venue of the meeting
- List those present at the meeting, giving the titles of Chair and Secretary after the appropriate names
- List those who gave apologies for not attending the meeting
- Minutes should always be in the past tense. They should be kept brief, without losing the sense of the discussion
- Matters agreed should always be clearly stated and, where appropriate, action points should be included. These points ensure that everyone knows what they are meant to be doing
- Generally speaking, where there is discussion, it is not usual to 'name names'. It is sufficient to say that 'the committee agreed', or words to that affect
- Minutes need to be approved by the Chairman before circulation. It is also courteous to allow speakers to approve their minute, once written
- Remember to send copies of the minutes to all those present at the meeting (and all those who should have been there). It would be probably be easiest to have an email circulation list
- It is useful to publish the minutes in the department. This keeps everyone informed about what you are doing and maintains the profile of the society
- All the minutes should be kept in a folder as a permanent record. They should be handed from committee to committee as they will provide a useful record of what has happened over the past year and what has been successful
As an alternative to lengthy minutes, you may find it simpler to put together an action based spreadsheet. This being a spreadsheet of agreed actions that each committee member is to undertake before the next meeting.