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Virtual elections & training for new chapter officers

  • 1.  Virtual elections & training for new chapter officers

    Posted 04-24-2020 12:11
    For many of our AIChE Student Chapters, this is typically the season for electing and training new chapter officers, which is critical to our chapters' long term success. How are your student chapters handling new officer elections and training in the face of campus closures? Do you have any tips for chapters that are considering a virtual approach to elections and training?

    @James Owens @Bailey McCrea @Cameron Young​​​​ @Hannah Boyce@Kendra Jones

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    ChEers,

    Emily Miksiewicz
    Membership Associate, Student Programs
    AIChE
    New York, NY
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  • 2.  RE: Virtual elections & training for new chapter officers

    Posted 04-24-2020 13:43
    We have moved all chapter activities to a virtual platform and everyone has adapted very quickly. Elections at our chapter may be unique in that we ask candidates to step outside after speeches to allow for general members to advocate for a candidate. Most virtual platforms have a 'waiting room' that can serve this purpose. Voting was carried out through an anonymous online form.

    The transition to the new cabinet has been the main topic at our weekly cabinet meetings in order to cover some new questions and begin long term planning for next year. We also asked our current officers to meet one on one with their respective officer elect to train and offer any advice that would have helped them when they started the position.

    I would suggest during any meeting asking anyone speaking to turn their cameras on to put a face to your name. Also, it is a good general practice to hold a brief round table to make sure no one is left out of the discussion.

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    Bailey McCrea
    Ames IA
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  • 3.  RE: Virtual elections & training for new chapter officers

    Posted 04-27-2020 11:23
    Thanks Bailey.  Those are some great tips for elections, officer meetings, and general chapter meetings.   I really like the idea of holding a brief round table to ensure you are being inclusive.

    How have other student chapters adapted their elections, training, and chapter meetings to a virtual format?​

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    ChEers,

    Emily Miksiewicz
    Membership Associate, Student Programs
    AIChE
    New York, NY
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  • 4.  RE: Virtual elections & training for new chapter officers

    Posted 04-27-2020 20:23
    This term has certainly been unique for our chapter and we are spending most of our efforts in advertising elections and making sure next year's committee sets off strong! We have moved to virtual meetings via Zoom and continue to utilize Slack for communications. Unlike some chapters, our elections are just about to begin. Our student class representatives are announcing in their Zoom classes that we will be having a couple of general body meetings to: 1. describe each position and answer questions that people may have about joining the officer team and 2. hold elections.

    We are taking advantage of social media by doing an egiftcard giveaway to 3 students that follow reposting/tagging directions for our chapter on Instagram. We hope this will increase advertisement and excitement. After our general meeting that will describe all the positions, members are encouraged to send in a slide about themselves and what position(s) they want to run for.

    At our election meeting, slides for each candidate will be shown and that individual will have time to defend why they are running for the position. The slides and meeting minutes will be sent out to the general members and voting will occur over several days. We will also be utilizing social media to promote voting.

    Once new positions are filled, we are going to hold a virtual meeting and utilize breakout rooms to start the training between the incoming and outcoming officers for each position.  At that point, we will have time for two more meetings which will be used to continue training officers and plan events for next year.

    Our virtual meetings have been going well, however we find that officers who chose not to show their face during meetings are not engaged in discussions. We do "around the rooms" where every officer has to say what they have been up to regarding the club and defend why they have or have not been doing anything. This is a bit harder to do when everything we had planned has been cancelled, but it is still effective.

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    Kendra Jones
    Oregon State University
    Corvallis, OR
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    Kendra Jones
    Fairview OR
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  • 5.  RE: Virtual elections & training for new chapter officers

    Posted 04-28-2020 11:32
    Thanks Kendra.  I really like some of the steps you are taking like holding a preliminary meeting to educate the chapter on all of the available positions, asking candidates to provide a simple slide about themselves and their desired positions, and utilizing social media and giveaways to promote behaviors like voting and spreading the word about your chapter.

    Bailey commented that having folks turn their cameras on helps chapter members to put a face to a name, and your comment points out an added benefit of having cameras turned on - increased engagement.  I think that's really important.

    I'd be interested in hearing how the breakout rooms work out for you once you've started new officer training. I'm new to Zoom and haven't explored that functionality yet.  Keep us posted!

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    ChEers,

    Emily Miksiewicz
    Membership Associate, Student Programs
    AIChE
    New York, NY
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  • 6.  RE: Virtual elections & training for new chapter officers

    Posted 04-27-2020 20:49
    We have held online elections for several years as we feel it is the best way to connect with our entire membership. Essentially we have one week where members apply for a position and provide a written speech on a Google form and then the next week we hold "elections" where members are provided with an anonymous Google form and can vote for the new officers based on the provided speeches. We have found that this works pretty well for use and allows for the greatest amount of election participation.

    In terms of officer transition, we have having one-on-one meetings to facilitate transition, as well as group discussions on Zoom.

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    Cameron Young
    Medfield MA
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  • 7.  RE: Virtual elections & training for new chapter officers

    Posted 04-28-2020 11:59
    Thanks Cameron!   That's really interesting that your chapter has been holding online elections for years.  To your point, even when everyone is on campus,  students can still have conflicts that prevent them from attending all chapter meetings.  It's great that your chapter has developed a process for elections that engages as many members as possible in the important task of electing your chapter's leadership.

    I am also intrigued by the concept of a requiring a written speech from all candidates.  While I'm all for giving students more opportunities to practice their presentation skills, I feel like reviewing a written speech gives voters the chance to understand a candidate's vision, ideas, and goals for the chapter without the distraction of a nervous/novice presenter.  This approach could also potentially give students with great ideas but who may not typically throw their hat in the ring a shot at some excellent leadership experience.  I wonder if any other chapters have considered this method!

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    ChEers,

    Emily Miksiewicz
    Membership Associate, Student Programs
    AIChE
    New York, NY
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