Managing student chapter

(Akshay Patel) #1

I am a member of ACM student chapter of my college. I have previously held the position of Technical head for the chapter. Now, my role has been passed to my junior and I guide the new council to carry out activities. So, it is kind of management role. Being new to it, I would like to hear from ODK forum about ways to manage a student chapter.

Currently major issue chapter is facing is procedures to be followed for conducting any activity.
E.g. If a session on Python has to be organized, what procedures should be followed?
It can be : Find interested audience, Take permission for classroom, Organize speaker,etc,etc.
Currently, there are no defined steps to do so. Everything happens as per need which has lead to issues of accountability of work.

What is the best medium of communication?
Currently, everything happens verbally or through whatsapp which has lead to communication issues.
I have thought of as a solution.

I would like to improve my management skills and feel there are many people available on this forum who can share their ideas.
Any suggestions regarding management skills are welcome.


This is a challenging thing to address, since student organizations have such a high turnover rate as students graduate and are replaced by new students. I just finished my MS degree at University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA, where we have a student chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration. Five years ago, this student chapter was only working on small projects and didn't have a good plan in place for continuity as officer positions experienced turnover. However, this student chapter received some campus sustainability grants and was able to establish a native plant nursery on university property. This is now the physical space where a lot of student activities occur, and where the group's communal property can be stored. The existence of this physical infrastructure/space has helped with continuity and organization of procedures. Also helpful have been the creation of a website for the chapter and a Facebook group where information on group events can be posted. The group also has an email listserv so they can rapidly send out event/volunteer information not only to their group members, but also to other students on campus who occasionally want to be involved. (For example, this group has weekly "work parties" where they recruit students to help rip out noxious invasive weeds on campus and replace them with ecologically sound native plant species.) They have been able to standardize their protocols and policies despite leadership turnover by having physical paper printouts of documents pertaining to the group's history, training curricula, and best practices in their physical space (the native plant nursery) on campus. They also organize some of this stuff on their website, but the challenge there is identifying who will be responsible for maintaining and updating it over time. I'm not sure which of these methods might be useful for your student chapter, but some might!

(Yaw Anokwa) #3

Whenever I'm facing a problem like this, I like to find people who have the same problem and see how they've solved it!

I would guess that there are other ACM student chapters in your city or state, so I would contact them and start there. What do they do? What has worked well and what hasn't? Do they have playbooks/checklists that you can build from?

(Akshay Patel) #4

Just to share the good news!!
PASC - PICT ACM STUDENT CHAPTER has been awarded best ACM student chapter of India.
(PICT - Pune Institute of Computer Technology)

Inspired by ODK, we are in the process of launching a forum (probably Discourse) for discussions.
I would also be talking about ODK in the next meet and invite others to contirbute to the community !!!

(Michael Downey) #5

Congrats @Akshay_Patel. :tada:

By the way, if you haven't already spent time there, be sure to check out (and regularly visit!) for advice in both setting up your Discourse forum, as well as some general community management tips!