I’ve Started a Chapter, Now What?

Here are some tips and ideas to help build and sustain your Chapter year after year.

Social Media Tips
Websites and blogs are great ways to publicize events, and give members a platform to publish their own work. Some examples of published content include: interviews with program alumni or other industry professionals, reviews of archival film screenings and industry events, and write ups of Chapter sponsored events.

The media archiving field is very active on Twitter. A Twitter account for a Student Chapter is a great way to publicize events, connect with other professionals and students, and interact with the community. Some Chapters live tweet events that they host or are participating in for the larger community.

A Facebook account can be very useful for connecting with professionals, incoming students and others in the field. Chapters can share industry articles, publicize their events, and share photos of what members are up to.

An Instagram account can also be a quick and easy platform to share photos during Chapter events.

Many Chapters use their Facebook and Twitter pages to publicize the content they produce on their website or blog. Using hashtags and keywords can help social media posts be more easily found.

It is recommended that there is one board member whose responsibility it is to create and publish social media content. Some groups have found that staying on top of social media can be a daunting task, unless there is one person consistently in charge of posting content.

Election Tips
Each Chapter must have a structured board, usually with a President, Treasurer and Secretary. Some Chapters also have a Vice President, Outreach Coordinator, PR, Communications Officer, and Webmaster. Chapters can also include a liaison position between the AMIA Student Chapter and other student groups with shared interests on campus to share information between groups, and coordinate events to make sure there are no conflicts. The exact positions can be decided by the Chapter based on the program, student commitments, and needs of the Chapter.

It is recommended that upon electing the new board, the requirements, goals, and required commitments of each member are thoroughly discussed to facilitate a smooth year, with no member being stuck with more responsibilities than they can handle.

Many boards have found success in including new members and returning board members in their board structure. Some examples of this are: President and Vice President are returning students and the Secretary and Treasurer are new students, or the Vice President is a first year student who commits to being President in year two. This helps in creating a smooth transition from year to year and creating interest about the group with the incoming class.

Some Chapters elect a President at the end of the school year, and then the remaining board in the Fall. This allows first and second year students to be on the board, while also having someone in a leadership position to begin activities, meetings, and elections in the fall.

Event Tips
Chapters have found that planning events in the beginning of the school year allows for greater planning time and more participants. As school work becomes more intense throughout the year, it becomes harder to create and attend events. Additionally, planning events as far in advance as possible allows Chapters to better organize their year, and plan larger events.

In addition to using social media to publicize events, many groups use their school or department’s events website or newsletter  as a resource for getting the word out about events to the larger community.

Tours are a great way to host a free and educational event with minimal planning. Student Chapters have taken tours of archives, museums, film laboratories, film equipment rental and repair houses, and film festival offices. If these facilities are not close to the school, many Chapters have created a trip around visiting multiple archives. These events show Chapter members practical jobs in the industry, while allowing students to learn from and network with professionals.

Some Chapters feel that they are not given enough hands-on experience in the classroom, so they create practical workshops to educate themselves and the community. This can include film handling and projection workshops, digitization workshops, and basic AV Archiving workshops.

Many Chapters plan or volunteer at a local Home Movie Day event. This is a great opportunity to reach out to the local community, and gives volunteers a hands-on opportunity to inspect and project film and video tapes.

Holding mixers or Happy Hours at a local bar or restaurant is a great way to socialize outside of class and introduce other students or community members to the AMIA Chapter. Chapters can either sponsor the event by purchasing food or drink tickets, or, for a low-cost event option, reserve a space but have a no-host bar.

For a casual and entertaining event, Screening Nights are an option. This can include screening older movies, documentaries with archival content, or projecting 16mm or 8mm films. This can give Student Chapter members experience with film projection and programming, and can potentially be used as a fundraising event (as long as all copyright and licensing laws are followed).

Planning a trip or an event around a conference or film festival allows Chapters to offer professional development and networking opportunities to members, while also having fun and enjoying movies and other media content.

Many Chapters have ended the year with a Symposium or Panel that allows students and professionals to present on topics in the Media Archiving field. This is a great way to learn from colleagues and students about the industry, network with professionals, and practice presentation skills.

Financial Tips
The Treasurer maintains an accurate accounting of the chapter’s finances and facilitates reimbursement and funding requests, as needed. The AMIA Office holds the funds for each student chapter. When funds be withdrawn from the student chapter account, the treasurer contacts Kristina Kersels at AMIA (kkersels@amianet.org) and forwards the necessary paperwork to her attention.

Each school might also have their own funding sources and it is recommended that students check with their school’s student organizing body for additional funding opportunities. Some schools have funds available through their department. Check with your department’s faculty or administrators for more information.

Collaboration with other local organizations, archives, or student groups can bring together shared resources for an event. Often local organizations can donate a space or equipment, publicize to a wider audience, or pool together limited funds to create a larger event budget.

Many Student Chapters have held successful fundraising events including: selling old AV materials, or holding a bake sale.

See the above Event Tips for suggestions of free or low cost events if funding is not available.

Board Transition Tips
We understand that it is hard to transition from one board to the next, especially since many of the programs are only 1-2 years. It is recommended that each board creates a document with all of the important information, including social media handles and passwords, and financial information, to pass down from one board to the next. You can share this document with your advisor, or with the AMIA Education Committee to make sure the information is received by the new board.

Many groups have also created a gmail address for the Chapter and store their transition information in the account’s google drive. This also allows AMIA and the Education Committee to have a reliable way to contact the Chapter leaders year after year. In addition to transition information, the google drive can also archive Chapter’s logos, meeting minutes, presentations, and other materials to be kept within the organization.

General Tips from Current Chapters

Surround yourself with good people, who are interested in achieving the same goals and do as much as you think you can. If you do not think you can do events, talks or tours simply run social media and get to know the people around you. Networking is key. – Krystel Brown, University of Amsterdam Student Chapter

Be enthusiastic about what you’re doing. If you’re not, no one else will.. – Christine Abram, Simmons College Student Chapter

Promote yourself within your program. Don’t be afraid to talk to other people (students, professionals, people you think would be cool to know and could offer advice to students)! – Cate Henderson, McGill Student Chapter