Structure of Study Association VIP
It’s not easy to run an association with around 1600 members an 400 alumni. There are contracts that need to be signed, decisions that need to be taken, financials that need to be controlled, problems that need to be solved and contacts that need to be maintained. The association has more than 150 active members that all chip in to succeed in these tasks. But who contributes what?
Let’s start with the board, which includes 6 enthusiastic VIP-members who put effort into VIP nearly every day of the week. They are the people that make sure VIP keeps on going and are responsible for the main direction of the association. They make the important decisions and keep an eye on ‘the big picture’. The following functions complete the board: chairman, secretary, treasurer, internal contacts, external contacts, and acquisition. Every board-member fulfills a back-up (vice) function as well. If the chairman isn’t available for some reason, the vice-chairman will take over his duties.
There are too many tasks within the association to be taken care of by the board alone. That’s why they’re supported by committees. A committee is a group of people containing 3 up to 9 people (depending on the specific committee) that fulfill a specific task. The Study committee, for example, is responsible for the ordering and selling of study books, the event-committee for organizing parties and the career-committee to organize a couple of career-nights with topics like clinical psychology or industrial and organizational psychology (both master directions). These examples are just a few of the many committees of the VIP. The committees and the board meet often to make sure everything goes according to plan and the board keeps an eye on the committees because they are responsible. The board is also available for questions. Committees are being installed for the duration of one year (September up until September).
Are you interested in joining a committee? Then come to the committee market, a yearly event (in September) where you’re able to ask specific questions about specific committees (without any obligations). If you like the answers, you can sign up for a committee. Committee-experience always looks good on your resume but besides that, it’s a lot of fun!
Next, to the committees, the association has other groups with specific tasks as well; structures. Structures look a lot like committees; it’s a small group of people with specific tasks that are guided by the board as well. The main difference with committees is that committees are there to serve the members and structures are more to help out the board specifically. A few examples are the IT-structure that helps the board and committees out with technical problems and run the website, photo-structure takes pictures on VIP-activities, the promotion-structure help with making promotion material (posters, flyers) for activities and acquisition-structure that helps with signing sponsors. You can sign-up for structures on the committee-market as well.
To show the structure of VIP schematically, there is an organization chart of the entire association below. The black arrows symbolize ‘formal power over’ and the red arrows symbolize ‘to be of service to’. The board, committees and structures together form the active members of the association.
As you might have noticed, there are two parts of the association that haven’t been mentioned yet. First of all ‘the advisory body’ is a group of people containing ex-board members who are appointed by the board. These people are experienced and really involved with the VIP. They receive the board’s minutes (notes of board meetings) and give advice on difficult issues. Thanks to the advisory body the board is able to make better decisions and the knowledge about the association stays guaranteed. Although the advisory body is really important, its function is still to give advice. The board isn’t mandatory in any way to bring the advisory’s advice in practice. The board still has the final say in matters.
There is only one ‘organ’ that has a higher power than the board, the ALV* (algemene leden vergadering in Dutch, general members meeting in English). This meeting contains ‘normal’ people. Everybody who is a VIP-member (not necessarily active) is welcome to come and has a vote. The most important general decisions regarding the association are being made during the alv's. The new board is installed, the secretarial and financial situation is presented and the main direction is discussed during these alv’s. The ALV has the ability to overrule the board’s decisions. Sometimes there is a lot of discussions during these nights, but there’s always space for some humor. Do you want to share your opinion? Do you want to have a vote on important matters? Or do you just want to learn more about the association that you previously only knew from its cheap books? Then you should definitely come to an alv one time! Get to know new people, receive a free drink and even more important: don’t waste your vote!
To be clear; if one speaks of the ALV (with capitals) you speak about the people that are present at the meeting and who vote for the final decisions. If one speaks about an alv (without capitals) you speak about the meeting itself.