The importance of strong club leadership

If you want to start a club on campus, chances are, your goal is to encourage the student body to partake in a passion of yours through meetings that you hold, events that you organize and most importantly, through a vision that you have for your club.

Key word: you.

But when others get in the way of your vision, that’s when the line between your leadership and their input has been crossed.

Clubs on campus are student-initiated and led by students, meaning that they are the ones who thought of the club, planned each and every meeting, event and fundraiser, took the initiative to promote their club at Club Fair… the list goes on. Founders and presidents of their respective clubs should be the ultimate decisionmakers of anything related to the club because without them, their club would not exist. On the other hand, they should also be open to any suggestions and advice that members might have to offer, along with critiques from their fellow cabinet or governing board.

This is how the adviser and members who make up the club come into play.

First, let’s talk about the adviser’s role within the club. The adviser’s role is to supervise. Supervise meaning “to observe and oversee the execution of such activities” — not “to take over.” Though their advice and suggestions to help better the club are appreciated and welcomed, they shouldn’t go overboard in changing the structure of the club, the way it runs and anything that the officers have had in mind since the day the club contract was signed. An adviser should be an overseer for the leaders, someone who they might look to when they need guidance along the way.

Another important aspect to the club is the members’ voices. Because the members are what keep a club up and running (at least 10 are needed for a club to exist), their voices should be heard — to an extent. Members should feel free to pitch ideas on how to improve the club and have their voices be heard.

In Explore, the club that I co-founded, the officer team allows members to suggest what type of events they are interested in at every meeting. We do take their suggestions in for consideration, but nothing more that would alter the way the club was set to run. Key Club also sends out a “Member Feedback Form” to every member that asks what the club can improve on as well as a member’s specific preferences. Ultimately, members and their voices are a crucial part in keeping a club alive, and their suggestions should be valued and appreciated but not overriding.

The club presidents should be the only ones carrying out what they had intended to do from the start, alongside the supervision of the adviser and support and critique of the members. Advisers and member critique are crucial aspects to a club’s operation and values. At its core, however, club presidents should be the club’s main voice and vision.

By Olivia Chiang, Coverage lead
Editorial cartoon by Natalie Jiang