Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

From community service clubs to culture clubs to obscure hobby clubs devoted to World of Warcraft or the likes, clubs constitute a huge part of the average high school student’s extracurricular involvement. And with clubs becoming less of a plus and more of a given in terms of college applications, more and more of these students are vying for officer positions in clubs. But it’s not all sunshine and resume padding; if you want to be an effective club officer and not just ones of those people who do it for the boost, you have to fulfill all the various duties and qualities that each unique position necessitates.

The president and vice presidents of a club are the heart-and-soul of a club’s operations. They require a lot of work and involvement in every aspect of the club’s many operations such as events, meetings, and member outreach. They are the ones who make sure all the other officers are fulfilling their duties and that the club is running smoothly. In most cases, they also act as a liaison between the teacher advisor and the rest of the club. Keeping a good relationship with the advisor will come in handy for accessing certain resources not available to students.

A good way to make sure the rest of the officer board is keeping up with all the workload is through officer meetings. Although most clubs have weekly or monthly member meetings helmed by the officers, it’s also a good idea for meetings to be held with just the officer board present. It will give clarity to exactly what each person is doing so that there’s absolutely no room for excuses if something doesn’t get done. This does not mean that the president or vice president is allowed to be entitled and assign their workload off to other officers or members. The point of a president or vice president is to help alleviate and organize the work, not compound the problems by being lazy. As a president or vice president, it’s important to attend every event and meeting. How can someone who runs the club expect other members to be active when they themselves aren’t? Also, it’s important to keep in mind that being the head honcho of a club doesn’t grant bragging rights. It’s really not even that big of a deal, and people won’t like a club if it’s run by some pretentious and overbearing weirdo. Talk to members, be personable, be proactive. That’s all it takes really.

Another vital officer position in any club is the treasurer. A treasurer should be very organized and up-to-date on all club’s current funds, accounts, and expenditures. Money is an extremely sensitive and important part of the club’s operations. It can literally sink a club if a treasurer is negligent and disorganized. In actuality this position doesn’t require actual math skills beyond simple algebra, but rather an effective use of tools such as Excel and meticulous ledgering to keep track of incoming and outgoing money. Don’t forget that a receipt book is a treasurer’s best friend, keeping track of who paid for what and having proof is important when student members can often be scatterbrained or wishy-washy. “What are you saying I didn’t pay for my membership dues? I paid it last week!” And then you can show them the receipt book and solve all the problems.

For a secretary, much like a treasurer, the job entails efficiency and orderliness. The secretary is usually responsible for reporting meetings, recording hours, and keeping track of events and members. Seriously, Excel and spreadsheets are a must for any secretary. Spreadsheets can be used for taking attendance at meetings and recording members hours and activity involvement. Plus it can be all done in one master spreadsheet!

Public relations or marketing officers are tasked with getting the club’s name out there and getting people to join. It requires an engaging, outgoing, and creative personality. Just letting people know what the club is about and what kind of events it’s up to is important in attracting members and keeping the club relevant. Making use of the school’s PA system or any other school-wide announcement system is a way to ensure everyone in the school hears about the club. Also a good idea is to use the school newspaper or even the local newspaper to get the word out. Granted, parents usually read the newspaper more than actual students, but this isn’t a bad thing. Parents are an invaluable resource in spreading the word. Posters, flyers, and social media accounts are important in catching someone’s interest. Definitely don’t underestimate the power of social media. Having a Facebook and Twitter account for the club not only appeals to potential members but it is also important in keeping current members in the loop.

Activities and events coordinators are, as the title suggests, in charge of organizing all the events and activities. First off, it’s important to get people to sign up for participating in a planned event; this can be accomplished by working with the PR officer. Also important is designating where the event will be taking place, from what time to what time, if anyone will be supervising, etc. Keep notes and make sure to keep everyone informed at all times if there’s an update. For community service clubs, it’s vital that the officer is always keeping a pulse on what is going on in the community and if there are any places that need volunteers. For example, the local soup kitchen could be having an annual holiday dinner that requires extra helping hands. Establishing relationships with people who are in charge of certain charities and organizations will be immensely helpful in finding new events for members to participate in. Little things like helping arrange rides for younger members who cannot drive to events or providing little snacks or drinks at said events can help make the event be a lot more welcoming to everyone.

And most importantly, no matter what officer position you’re in charge of, it’s important to remember to be open to suggestions and comments from other officers and members. Listening is one of the most important parts of leading.

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the author

Jilliann Pak hails from the suburbs of SoCal but is currently attending school across the coast at Johns Hopkins University. When she’s not complaining about the cold weather or sleeping in the library, she’s probably eating, cuddled up into a blanket burrito, or watching Parks and Recreation, preferably all at once.

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  1. Jessica Zhou on December 18, 2013

    ah that first paragraph, and this entire article in general was ON POINT.

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