The specific duties of the President may be divided into four categories; guiding the policies and activities of the chapter, presiding at meetings, appointing committees and seeing that they function, and optimizing public relations.
Guiding the Policies & Activities
Every organization, if it is to be worthwhile, must have a purpose, policies and activities to implement that purpose. The most important single individual in fixing policy and directing the activities of the organization is the President.
The President’s first step should be to make himself or herself thoroughly acquainted with policies, objectives, and purposes of the Society as set forth in the National Constitution and this Manual. Conferring with the Advisor and attending state and national meetings of the Society are very important to a full and proper understanding.
The President must know thoroughly the chapter By-laws; and, with the help of the Advisor and the chapter Executive Committee, see that the policies stated therein lie within the general circumference of the national Constitution by action of the National Senate, and he or she must make certain that the provisions of both documents are followed. The President and Advisor must collaborate on the completion of the Chapter Report for the school year. That report is due at Headquarters postmarked no later than June 21 of each year (Report Form is Appendix XIII).
All chapters of Gamma Beta Phi must be active in projects and programs that implement the purposes and objectives of the Society. A chapter that accomplishes little will not command the respect of the student body, the faculty and administration, nor indeed, of its own membership. In planning activities of the chapter, the President again should work closely with the Advisor and Executive Committee and be sure that the activities planned have the blessing of the administration. (See Chapter Timelines Document for ideas).
Presiding at Meetings
All meetings are called to order by the President, who acts as chair and directs the proceedings. Should the President be unable to attend a meeting, he or she must request the Vice-President to take over. If neither the President or Vice-President can be present, the Secretary will preside.
After the meeting is called to order. The President should follow certain established “rules of order.” If it is a business meeting the general procedure is as follows:
- Roll Call – if the chapter is large, it is a waste of time to call the roll.>
- Reading of the minutes by the Secretary.
- Reports of other officers (at this time the Secretary reads letters which do not require action by the chapter; the Treasurer’s report follows).
- Reports from committees – permanent and temporary (these may be received as information; or, if action is called for, motions for action will be made and disposed of).
- Consideration of unfinished business (the minutes of the preceding meeting will reflect any such pending business).
- Consideration of new business (the agenda usually sets forth what matters are to be discussed and acted upon; and when these have be dealt with, members should be given an opportunity to bring up any pertinent matter not on the agenda).
- Consideration of time and place of next meeting <(if such are not provided for in the By-laws or by established custom).
The President should follow regular parliamentary rules and thus should obtain a book on parliamentary procedures and study it thoroughly. The membership should also be made familiar with accepted procedure by some feasible mean, since one of the objectives of the Society is to increase its members’ leadership. Many chapters appoint or elect a chapter Parliamentarian. The Constitution establishes Robert’s Rules of Order as the parliamentary authority within the Society.
When presiding at a business meeting or any public function, it is the President’s duty to preserve order and to see that the meeting runs smoothly. This can be done by good preparation and planning and by firmly and impartially requiring that everyone conform to the rules of order and common decency. A President should lay aside all personal prejudices and act impartially toward all members, and equal hearing should be allowed to each side of any controversy. A President should make sure that members understand all proposals and what their effect will be. A President must be firm and decisive, yet not dictatorial; courteous and patient, yet alert to insure that the meeting is moving ahead so that the business at hand is accomplished.
When presiding at a social function, the President first addresses the guests with words of welcome, then at the close of the meeting, the President will make appropriate comments and announcements before declaring the meeting concluded.
The Appointment of Committees
Committees can be categorized as either permanent or temporary–sometimes designated as standing or special. Committees generally do not transact business, but simply prepare it and present it, usually with recommendations, to the full meeting of the organization for final action. However, many special committees are “task,” rather than “report,” oriented.
Permanent committees are either elected or are appointed by the President, as provided for in the Chapter By-laws. They deal with matters that pertain to the continuing operation of the organization. Temporary committees are appointed by the President and deal with matters of a special or non-recurring nature, and when they make their report or complete their task, they are automatically dissolved. Temporary committees must always report their findings and recommendations to the full meeting. A permanent committee may take a matter under advisement and dispose of it by “killing it in committee,” that is, letting it die by not reporting it to the full meeting.
The permanent committees of a chapter are specified in the By-laws. In addition to the Executive Committee, other possibilities include Program Committee, Social Committee, Publicity Committee, Projects Committee, and Induction Committee.
The Executive Committee is the major committee of the chapter. It normally consists of the officers and committee chairs (it’s makeup should be specified in the By-laws). General policies and activities are planned by this committee for presentation to the membership. This committee is responsible for seeing that the standards of membership are maintained and it handles all disciplinary actions (see Article VII, section 4), of the Constitution. The President normally would chair this committee, unless the By-laws specify otherwise. The Advisor is encouraged to attend the Executive Committee meetings and thus should always be invited. His or her counsel is of great importance.
The Program Committee makes up a schedule of proceedings for regular and special meetings of the chapter, secures outside speakers, and prepares printed programs for banquets and induction ceremonies.
The Social Committee plans and arranges social meetings of the chapter. Among its duties would be arrangements for refreshments and decorations.
The Publicity Committee is responsible for publicizing the chapter’s accomplishments to the public in a dignified and circumspect manner. An organization’s vitality and usefulness is frequently judged by its publicity. Good publicity not only gives the public interesting and encouraging information, it also makes for good morale among the members and builds up a sense of pride in the chapter and the Society. When the organization is held in high regard for its ideals and achievements, it encourages greater effort on the part of all. The Vice-President should serve as chair of the Publicity Committee because of his or her need to be fully informed on all activities of the chapter. Many chapters prepare a chapter newsletter to send the members each month. Sending news and pictures for publication to the National Headquarters and preparing a chapter scrapbook are important aspects of this committee’s work.
The Projects Committee is responsible for planning the chapter’s projects designating a committee member to lead each project. The committee must be careful to involve as many members as possible. This committee should work closely with the Publicity Committee to insure that projects are given proper publicity.
The Induction Committee is responsible for conducting the membership drives in a thorough and efficient manner.
Each chapter is responsible for establishing appropriate standing committees, and the size of the chapter may be an important factor. If the committee structure decided upon does not work, change it!
Special Committees should have their functions and duties specifically designated by the President when he or she appoints the committees.
In the election or appointment of committees, the membership and the President should be careful to select personnel who can best do the job. A committee member should fulfill the following requirements:
- Knowledge of, and interest in, the matters to handled by the committee.
- Attend called meetings.
- Work harmoniously with the other committee members.
Committee reports should be made in writing and a copy submitted to the Secretary. After the report is made, the Chairman should move its adoption. Then, if and when it is duly seconded, it may be discussed and action taken.
The President’s action in the appointment of a committee is a matter of vital importance to the success of the chapter. This sensitive and important responsibility should be exercised carefully.
It is also the duty of the President to keep watch over the committees and see that they do their job. If they do not, he or she must take prompt and appropriate action.
Every President must be careful to guard his or her personal actions, always remembering the good name of the organization is at stake. This is, of course, true of all officers and members.
The President should also communicate with the National Headquarters.