"Infrastructure" - William Li - Fall 2010
After several semesters of big ideas, it becomes necessary to take a step back and evaluate how to ensure the chapter will still function smoothly with an increased workload. The Fall 2010 semester was mainly spent building up infrastructure and ensuring that we have the capabilities to support and launch big projects like Pioneers in Engineering,E98, and Helpdesk - with the ultimate goal of winning the R.C. Matthew's Outstanding Chapter Award.
Off the heels of a larger-than-normal graduation of many longtime TBP officers, we needed to make sure that the newer officers would have enough knowledge to effectively carry out their officer duties,without running into too many roadblocks. At the same time, this provided a great opportunity for new bonds to be made among the officers and for motivated leaders to emerge. There were several key areas that were targeted to ensure that we have a healthy and motivated chapter.
First and foremost, I wanted to instill a culture of officer bonding, of hanging out outside of official TBP events. Even before the fall semester started, we had already participated in 22 fun events and 30 exercising events. Yes, that's right - we had more events during the summer than our chapter used to have in a standard semester. By creating a spreadsheet of potential activities, I made a lightweight summer planning document and encouraged others to plan and participate in events such as whitewater rafting, BBQs, trips to San Francisco, hiking, running, movies, Discovery Kingdom, parades, festivals, bonfires, laser tag, and even a trip to Chicago! We were off to a great start as we had over 30 people participate in our summer adventures.
The fun didn't stop over the semester either - we regularly used mailing lists and IRC to organize impromptu dinners, and even had several large gatherings at apartments. This was partially a response to the closing of Bridges Lounge by the college, apparently for a renovation. Of course, the renovation didn't get started until much later, but by then, we had already shifted into a different lifestyle. Regardless, by the end of the semester, I believe we had all gotten to know each other very well. This eventually led to a very healthy post-banquet and elections turnout. We ended up initiating about 70 candidates and held over 80 events - it may sound impressive to some, but that's pretty much business as usual at this point in our chapter's life.
In addition to the social life, we needed to ensure that our server (which we have become completely dependent on) was functioning well, especially since we were still rebuilding from the loss of our hacked server. Since I had a strong IT background, I contributed and had an active voice in the workings of our server. There were many projects that would make chapter functions much easier, reducing menial workload and increasing morale. The projects were concentrated around the several key areas: industrial relations (resume book), student services (course surveys and exam files), and cleanup (website redesign).
Our chapter has always been strong, but one of the goals for the year was to win the R.C. Matthew's Outstanding Chapter Award. At the Fall 2010 National Convention, our chapter received an Honorable Mention for R.C. Matthew's, a Membership Award, and the Secretary's Commendation for the 2009-2010 school year. After talking to some of the other delegates at convention, one of the themes that emerged was that we needed to have big, relevant service projects. As such, supporting our endeavors (especially Pioneers in Engineering, our high school robotics competition) is absolutely critical if we wanted that award.
Unfortunately, not all was well with the inner chapter workings during this semester. Due to our Indrel committee's amazing work, we actually breached an IRS threshold and needed to file a different form than usual. During the handoff of the treasurer position, some records were not transferred over cleanly, and we needed to spend many hours meticulously piecing together our expenses and income using emails, receipts, and our collective memories. A lesson for the future: make sure your financials are absolutely impeccable - it'll make your life much easier should this problem arise in the future. Tensions ran high at times, but we made it through the semester in one piece.
By the end of the semester, the chapter was in great shape to launch into the future. The house system was running very smoothly, our committees were becoming more and more ambitious with events, and our financials were very strong. With improved officer camaraderie and several large projects to tackle, it was a great time to be an officer. Keep up the great work and never be afraid to think too big. In an organization as well-run as TBP, there will always be friends ready to help out. TBP has given me so many wonderful memories over the years - I wish the chapter great luck in the future.
Important Contributions and New Traditions
- A record 52 summer events.
- A complete redesign of the look and feel of our website. This included a newsreel promotion front page, so we could have announcements and large pictures cycle through when people land on our home page.
- Creating an Indrel site for companies who are looking for infosessions or sponsorship opportunities.
- An online resume book website so companies can easily browse and filter resumes.
- Relaunching of the course surveys and exam files portion of our website.
- First (and hopefully only) filing of the 990-EZ form.
- Kept the little big game axe (of course)
- R.C. Matthew's Honorable Mention,Membership Award, and Secretary's Commendation for 2009-2010 (awarded during my presidency) and for 2010-2011 (awarded as a result of my presidency)