About Chapter Officers
Most chapters choose student officers to assist the Chapter Sponsor(s) with chapter leadership, striving for active members and a vibrant chapter. Although chapters are not required to have student officers, Sigma Tau Delta encourages student-generated and student-directed activities and supports efforts to have democratically and fairly elected officers. Chapters decide which (if any) officer positions suit their needs, and establish their own policies and procedures to fill these positions. Tips for choosing officers and examples of popular officer positions are provided below.
Choosing Chapter Officers
Chapters decide for themselves which officer positions will be beneficial and may have as few or as many officers as they need. One benefit of having many officers is that more students are actively involved in chapter management; a benefit of having fewer officers is that it often is easier to reach consensus and make decisions. Some choose to model their chapter officer positions after Sigma Tau Delta’s Executive Committee, using a similar list of officers and even referring to them as the chapter’s Executive Board, but this is not required and, in fact, some aspects (such as term limits) generally need to be modified for chapter purposes.
One-year terms are most popular, though some chapters use a semester term. It is rare for chapter officers to be chosen for terms longer than one year, but many chapters allow incumbent officers to be eligible for additional terms.
When officers are selected is up to the chapter. According to Sigma Tau Delta’s 2012-2013 Chapter Annual Report/Survey, 60 percent of respondents said they elect officers in the spring; 17 percent reported in the fall; and 23 percent said it varies. An advantage to electing officers in the spring is that retiring officers can meet with new ones to discuss chapter operation and job duties.
Most chapters elect their officers, with each chapter member having one vote. Other selection methods, including appointment by the Chapter Sponsor, are occasionally used, particularly when there are not enough active members to hold an election. When possible, however, chapters tend to prefer elections. In fairness to all, there should be ample notification of when and where elections will take place and all current members should be invited to attend and vote.
Like other selection policies and procedures, eligibility for chapter office is determined by the chapter. Most chapters allow only active members to run for officer positions (those who already have been inducted as members of Sigma Tau Delta International and who have active status in Write Away, the Society’s online chapter management system).
New officers should be installed with an appropriate ceremony to impress upon them the seriousness of their undertaking. View a sample officer installation ceremony.
Popular Officer Positions
The President is truly the key to a successful chapter. An effective President presents a model of leadership for the chapter and the campus.
As Chapter President, you may have the following duties.
- To ensure continuity from year to year, plan an orientation for new officers as soon after the election as possible. Organize this activity with the help of the Sponsor and the outgoing President.
- Ask the outgoing President for the President's notebook. With the outgoing President, go through the notebook. Inform the Sponsor that you have received the notebook.
- Use this website. Under Chapter Life you will find a wealth of ideas in the sections on Noteworthy activities, campus events, field trips, fundraising, service, and writing and publishing.
- Assess the interests and needs of your chapter as you plan the agenda for the upcoming year, achieving a balance among programs, parties, fundraisers, and service projects.
- Early each semester, set up and publicize a calendar of events, such as meetings, programs, initiation(s).
- With the advice of the Sponsor, fill appointed offices and set up committees.
- Authorize all drafts on checks. Be aware that financial regulations of student accounts vary from school to school.
- Learn your school's system for handling financial duties and work closely with the Treasurer and Sponsor on these matters.
- Officiate at induction ceremonies at least once a year, possibly each semester.
- Delegate duties to officers and chapter members, trying to involve as many members as possible.
- Communicate your enthusiasm about Sigma Tau Delta to other members, to other students, and to the faculty.
- Be a liaison (or appoint a member to be a liaison) to other organizations on campus, to the student government association, and to the faculty.
- Collaborate with the Sponsor and the other officers on completing the annual report for the Central Office.
- Be aware of Sigma Tau Delta beyond the local chapter. Learn about the international conventions and regional conferences and encourage your members to submit papers and attend.
The main duty of the Vice President is to assist and support the President in presiding over the chapter, being able to assume the responsibilities of the President if the President is unable to serve.
As Vice President, you may have the following duties.
- Serve as the program chair. Consult Chapter Life on chapter activities, service, and chapter development. Form a committee to help plan and implement programs and service projects for the year. Ask the Central Office for its publications on activities.
- Plan and put on fundraisers.
- Keep a notebook of ideas for programs, fundraisers, and service projects, noting the ones that have been particularly successful on your campus. Pass this notebook on to the next Vice President and inform the Sponsor that you have done so.
- Investigate the possibility of co-hosting a program or an activity with another organization on campus or with a Sigma Tau Delta chapter from a nearby college or university.
- Participate in the induction ceremonies.
The Secretary is a vital part of a smooth-running chapter. This officer should work closely with the other officers, being aware of local and international deadlines and maintaining good communication by sending out information to chapter members in a timely fashion.
As Secretary, you may have some of the following duties.
- Attend all meetings and keep accurate minutes; distribute the minutes soon after each meeting.
- Prepare and send out mailings to members.
- After the calendar for the year has been set, remind members by mail or by telephone of upcoming events.
- Send invitations to prospective members.
- Keep the membership list up to date.
- Be responsible for all chapter correspondence, including notes of thanks.
- Consider working with other officers to prepare a chapter newsletter.
- Keep the Secretary's notebook up to date and pass it on to the next Secretary. Inform the Sponsor that you have done so.
- Participate in induction ceremonies.
- Assist the Sponsor in completing all chapter reports.
The Treasurer is also vital to the smooth functioning of a chapter and should attend all events where money is collected or disbursed. (It is a good idea to have the Sponsor and possibly the President as co-signers on the checking account.)
As Treasurer, you may have the following duties.
- Obtain bank statements and the Treasurer's notebook from the outgoing Treasurer.
- Balance the checkbook each month and have a Treasurer's report ready for each meeting.
- Collect receipts for expenditures and write reimbursement checks to members.
- Keep track of the Income Tax ID Number if the chapter has one.
- Be aware that financial regulations of student accounts vary from school to school.
- Collect and deposit promptly any chapter dues or special fees.
- Collect initiation fees from new members. Working with the Secretary and the Sponsor, send one check for the total amount to the Central Office.
- Participate in induction ceremonies.
The Historian is the keeper of the chapter's memories. This officer ideally has a camera and takes photographs of the various activities of the chapter.
As Historian, you may have the following duties.
- Maintain all records, such as the scrapbook, the written history of the chapter, videos, photographs, souvenir programs, sample T-shirts, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and convention materials. Display these materials appropriately at Sigma Tau Delta functions.
- Caption and date all photographs and label all other materials.
- Make entries in the scrapbook periodically, rather than waiting until the end of the year to compile everything.
- Participate in induction ceremonies.
The Public Relations Officer is the chapter's link to the university and the community. The way in which the chapter is perceived is, to a large extent, the responsibility of this officer.
As Public Relations Officer, you may have some of the following duties.
- Locate the campus media services office and find out if this office will send news items and photos to the local paper. Some media services offices will send an initiation announcement to the hometown newspaper of each initiate if the hometowns are listed in the article.
- Locate the office for the campus newspaper and find out which staff writer would most likely print your Sigma Tau Delta news stories.
- Try to publicize meetings, programs, and fundraisers in the campus and local newspapers.
- Work with the Historian to take photos that may be used in the newspaper.
- Arrange for a group photograph of the chapter members for the campus yearbook.
Other chapter officers may include, but are not limited to, a Membership Officer, an Alumni Liaison, and a Webmaster.