How to run and structure a committee

How to run and structure a committee

Last updated: 4th October, 2023

The following section contains suggestions on how to structure a committee. University EA groups are usually affiliated with their university, which usually require formal committee structures. However, small uni groups can use their committee structure flexibly. City groups may want to use these structures if they become larger.

1. General tips

  • Organise by projects, not tasks. It can be inefficient to have multiple people working on multiple tasks within the same project (for example, if one person books the room for an event, while another gets food and drinks for the same event). We recommend assigning people responsibility over projects, whether one-time or ongoing. There may be some overlap in roles (e.g. your Fellowships Manager may go to your Communications Manager for help with a flyer), but as long as you make sure it is clear who is responsible, things can be smoother.
  • For large groups, consider having one or two layers of management. For example, you may have a Community Manager who manages a Retreat Coordinator and Game Night Coordinator. This works particularly well if your committee members need extra encouragement and structure to complete tasks. Highly motivated members who take on responsibilities readily, however could hinder them.
  • Keep your committee structure flexible. Your needs may change over time, as can the interests of incoming students. Tailor your roles to your priorities as a group, as well as the skills of your board members.
  • Consider electing two presidents, or a trainee and a trainer, to ensure group continuity. Some uni groups have chosen to have two co-presidents that take on their role for two years – one further on in their course, and one earlier on in their course. Each president gets elected with two years (or more) of university remaining, so there is always one co-president continuing in their role at the end of the academic year. Other uni groups have chosen to elect presidents in their second to last year of university, and then take the role of immediate past president in their final year to support the new president. Similar strategies can be used for other committee roles.

2. Example committee roles/structure for a group

  • President(s) – calls committee meetings and is the default chair; ensures that the group organises regular, successful events and activities; ensures a smooth handover to the next committee, liaises with external support such as CEA.
  • Treasurer – updates the committee on budget and shares projections of future income and expenditure; manages the group’s bank account if they have one. Note: You may not need a treasurer if you aren't handling income and expenditures, but many universities require one.
  • Publicity & Communications Manager – designs publicity materials; ensures that events and activities are well publicised; manages the group’s social media presence; sends communications to the group’s mailing list; coordinates tabling and other outreach activity.
  • Fellowship Manager - reads applications for the fellowships and selects participants; finalizes the curriculum using CEA's materials; finds (or acts as a) facilitator(s) for fellowship co-hort(s); evaluates each fellowship and continuously improves them
  • Fellowship Facilitator - leads discussions during fellowships
  • Community Manager(s) - plans social events, retreats, and/or 1:1s
  • Partnerships Manager - works with other clubs on campus or in the city to collaborate on events and other programs

3. Sample EA group role descriptions

Both examples below are from university groups:

  1. EA at Georgia Tech Role Descriptions (you can view their current team here)
  2. EA Eindhoven's list of organizer vacancies

The resources above may not apply as much to new or small groups, where often 1-2 organizers have to do whatever is needed for the group.

4. Incorporation (for city and national groups)

If you are considering whether or not to incorporate your EA group (especially for city and national groups), it is important to check the legal regulations that your group will adhere to. If your group is not very large or your members do not have a lot of time, the organisational overhead may not be worth it. EA Melbourne shared the considerations that they made.