February 24, 2020, by Charli
Committee roles, yay or nay?
Is being on a committee all it’s cracked up to be?
We’ve all been there, innocently enjoying a year of our favourite sport or society at uni, until suddenly they spring it on you: committee elections.The wonderful student group you’ve grown to love can’t go on without a new set of fresh-faced committee members. But how do you know what you’re letting yourself in for? As someone who’s held three committee positions over time and is about to nominate herself for a fourth, here’s what you should know.
What’s it like?
The answer to this question is: it depends on your committee! Some committees are very small, so you all know what’s going on with everyone’s roles, and you have a varied workload helping one another out. Others are much larger, so you end up with smaller committees within your committee that can each focus on a different aspect of society organisation. It can take a little while for a committee to become happily established. There will always be teething problems as you get used to what is expected of you, but eventually you work out how best to work as a team, and with one another’s support, you can achieve great things for your group. Expect to need to keep a close eye on the group chat and take on jobs that you didn’t expect, but with an open mind, you can end up having the most fun this way!
What’s the workload like?
A safe bet is to assume that it’s going to be more work than you think. Filling out paperwork (especially on your first try!) always takes more time than you expect, committee meetings tend to overrun, and you usually have to turn up to society events earlier and leave later than everyone else.A committee position typically brings a never-ending to-do list with it, and you may end up covering for other committee members who need help with their tasks. Over the year you will have to make time for committee training, buying society stash, filling out paperwork, organising events, applying for STARS points, writing a handover document, and of course all the things specific to your society that take time.Understandably, these things can stack up if you don’t keep on top of them!
What do I get out of being on a committee?
On one level, positions of responsibility look great on your CV! Being on a committee teaches you a lot about working with other people. You work out how to keep a personal and a professional life, balance your schedule, and keep track of tasks that need doing.
But arguably more importantly, it allows you to give back to a society you love. There’s not much that’s more rewarding than taking your group to new highs – whether it’s winning a tournament, putting on a show, or simply investing in some much-needing equipment. In my second year as president of the theatre society on SB, I applied for some grant funding (£1000!) which we were successfully awarded, and used to buy new curtains for our stage (which we were desperately in need of!). I love that I’ve left a legacy of sorts to the society that has been my uni family for 4 years!
Should I do it?
Yes, absolutely yes! I’m not saying it’s going to be easy the whole way, but it’s definitely an example of one of those things that feels more rewarding when you’ve had to work hard for it. If it’s a question of having the time, I can promise you you do! It’s all about managing your schedule and saying ‘no’ when you need to. You’ll learn so many new skills, and the rest of your committee may just end up being some of your closest friends! You never know, maybe you’ll be the one that takes your group on to achieve something completely new!
If you’re running for a committee position this year, good luck, and have a blast!
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