Diana Nguyen - Spring 2005
This semester's theme was "self-reflection." This semester, we tried to identify and address the internal problems within the club.
At the start of this semester, I realized that,for the most part, TBP was a well-oiled machine. We had a very dedicated officer corps of 45 individuals, who all pretty much knew what their responsibilities were and how to get them done. Furthermore, in the past few semesters, we have increased our resources (Course Surveys, Exam File, Graduate School Panel, Summer Internship Panel, Unofficial Guide, etc.) so much that even the flow of new ideas has decreased. Therefore, (finally), we focused upon our internal issues.
First off, we realized that our officer corps was really large. After many discussions, we still have mixed feelings over what to do. On one hand, having an unlimited number of officers seems to be the best way to keep members active. On the other hand, officer meetings were growing increasingly inefficient. Throughout the semester, we toyed with different ideas such as creating an ex-comm to attend officer meetings and relay information to their committee members. In the end, we decided that officers enjoyed the meetings and rather than cut individuals out of the meetings, we just needed to structure the meetings better. It seemed that the best solution was simply to have a more detailed agenda and have the president be sure to check in with individual officers.
The question of the structure of the club brought up another issue: can we move our focus beyond the candidate semester? We thought that by addressing this, we would simulataneously address the problem of member participation. Hence, it was proposed to create a committee system for the candidates through which they could begin to see the interworkings of the club. It is hoped that this will encourage more candidates to become officers, or at the least, stay involved. After many, many discussions, we resolved to hold a so-called trial run for next semester (Fall 2005) during which candidates have the option to join a committee (allowing them to bypass some other candidate requirements).
The third major issue that we addressed was the behavior of the officers. Over the years, this group of officers has become very tight-knit. Many of our officers are involved with the club on a daily basis, and whenever there is a shortage of official candidate events, someone will initiate an unofficial event. Many officers have found, through TBP, a group of close friends. The problem, however, has been that some individuals have become "too" close. The result was a clickiness that left other officers feeling alienated. We experienced issues with inside jokes and inappropriate comments. This behavior was broadly reprimanded at an officer meeting and personally dealt with between the President and those involved. Nevertheless, the problem persists and continues to be an issue for the future.
As a whole, I thought that this semester was among the best semesters that I've seen for TBP. The candidate semester ran smoothly, we held a remarkable number of events, and our officers are happy. I think that whenever things finally seem stable, new problems are bound to arise. We had our share of bumps and we are still trying to find solutions. Nevertheless, I still feel like this is the Golden Era of TBP.
Important Contributions and New Traditions
- developed and passed the voluntary committee system for candidates (to be implemented in Fall 2005)
- headed the effort for the 2008 National Convention Bid
- strengthened officer friendships
- resolved numerous internal conflicts
- increased member participation
- reinitiated the "Yu-Han Chen Outstanding Member Award"
- initiated the Unofficial Guide to Engineering and the Tau Beta Pi DeCal class (New Projects)
- created new TBP sweatshirts and T-shirts (Publicity)