Published on: 17 April 2020
Written by: Jamie Aartsen
Up until the beginning of this academic year we had two set moments in the year where you could easily join committees as well as leave them. However, this year we are working with a new system, namely an ongoing one. To make sure everyone has a clear view on how the new system works and why it changed, this blogpost was made.
This blogpost was mostly written before the COVID-19 precautions. But just because we can’t organize physical activities, does not mean that committees are not doing anything in the current situation. They provide new online activities, are already working on activities planned next year for you to look forward to, or are just continuing to work on our amazing website and yearbook. Especially now that there is more free time due to cancelled activities, a committee is a good opportunity to spend your time productively while also having lots of fun. You get to socialize and chill online with your committee every once in a while and learn a lot of skills. So, if you are interested in joining a committee and want to know how or you are already in one of our committees and want to know what the new system entails, be sure to read on. 😊
What exactly changed?
There are no more set sign up moments, meaning you can sign up at any time in the year whenever there are open spots in a committee. If a committee needs members, it will say that the committee has open spots on the committee page and in the weekly mail. Instead of signing up via a form you can just send an email to me (email@example.com). Make sure to include “Committee application” and the committee you’re applying for in the title and include your name + a small motivation on why you want to join the committee in the mail.
I want to join a committee, but it does not have open spots according to the website!
If this is the case you can still try to mail me, I will then take a look on whether this committee can still use an extra member. If this isn’t the case, I will make sure you are on the committee notification list. What this means is that I will notify you once there is a spot open in the committee. You will still have to apply via the regular way once I notify you though, to make sure everyone has a fair chance on joining the committee.
And what if I want to leave a committee?
You are a member of a committee until you let me know otherwise. This also counts for the summer break, if you don’t let me or my successor know that you want to leave we will assume you also want to stay in the committee in the new academic year. This however does not mean we force you to stay! You can just leave at any time in the year by sending an email to me in which you state your name and the committee you are leaving. Important: you do not have to share a reason for leaving if you do not want to, just stating that you want to leave is totally fine! If you however do want to share a reason, know that it will stay between the two of us. I will not share any confidential information without your permission, not even with my successor.
But what happens to the start-up meetings and how does it work with changing functions?
There will not be any start up meetings anymore. The election of the chair, secretary and treasurer will still happen at least yearly or earlier if someone in function wants to step down. The chair of the committee (or if the chair is unavailable, another experienced member of that committee) will also lead the meeting if there are elections. A board member will join this specific meeting as well to make sure that the elections are unbiased and that everyone that wants a function gets a fair chance to get chosen for it. After the elections you as committee can just start or continue with your tasks, instead of having to listen to the same information every start-up meeting again.
I don’t have any committee experience though, if information about how committees work is not given during start-up meetings, then how will I know what to do?
No worries, you will receive a mail with all the information you need, most of this information is also accessible on the CognAC cloud which you will get access to once you join a committee. Furthermore, you can always contact your fellow committee members or me if you have questions about committee related stuff.
Are there any exceptions for this system?
Yes, there are. The First Years Committee will still have a start-up meeting and will have new members every year. This committee is an exception because you are only allowed to join it in the first semester of your first year. The Lustrum Committee only exists once every 5 years and thus is a pretty exclusive committee. We want to make sure as many people can join the committee once, hence it will not be continuous to give new members a chance. The Almanac Committee will not (yet) be continuous, because making an almanac takes one and a half years, while it needs to appear every year. This would mean that one committee needs to work on two almanacs at the same time, which is not possible. So, a new Almanac Committee is formed each year. Obviously, the Audit Committee and the Board Application Committee also are an exception, because the General Members Meeting (GMM) needs to decide on the first committee and the board, senate and GMM decide on the second committee yearly.
But why did it change?
First of all we wanted to make the system more lenient. Making it easier to join a committee at any time and leave a committee anytime, gives the possibility to anyone to join a committee whenever and for however long they have time for it. So, if for instance you are going abroad for one semester but still would like to do committee work in the other semester, there should still be enough committees for you to join for that time period. Secondly, by doing an ongoing system there is overlap in members. This means that in most cases there will be new and experienced members in a committee instead of possibly only new ones. This keeps experience in the committee, which can be used to keep improving the activities a committee organizes, or the products it makes, instead of mostly having to start from scratch each year.
If there is still something you'd like to knwo regarding committees, always feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!