This section covers various useful notes for the CSC president, ranging from who to call for room bookings to when the term should end. I'll rant some more later.
What to do
The President is the person responsible. As ungrammatical as that may seem, it is exactly accurate. He or she is responsible to make certain that everything the CSC is involved in gets proper attention. Specifically, the President's duties are:
- to call and preside at all general, special, and executive meetings of the Club;
- to appoint all committees of the Club and the committee chair of such committees, except the chair of the Programme Committee;
- to audit, or to appoint a representative to audit, the financial records of the club at the end of each academic term.
Wherever possible, the President should delegate tasks to others. Not doing this can overburden the President.
As listed above the president is responsible for appointing committee chair's and other positions. So, it is basically up to the president to decide whether or not there is an explicit office staff. How do people become office staff? Must the office close every day? What do the members expect to get out of the club in this term?
The CSC is a MathSoc club as such you should know the MathSoc club policies and know that the president is a non-voting member of MathSoc council, like MathSoc directors.
See SCS Guide for how to deal with the School of Computer Science.
Planning events is a useful thing to know, so go read the Vice-President's section.
This section covers various useful notes for the CSC vice president, ranging from who to call for room bookings to how to promote your events.
So, you're the CSC Vice President and you want to (hopefully) have the CSC host some really cool events this term. This chapter should help you get started with that. For starters, the most important thing to remember is this: plan your events early!. I recommend about 2 to 3 weeks in advance. This rough timeline should help:
- 2-3 weeks in advance: Get a title and abstract for the event from the speaker as well as a date and time.
- 2 weeks in advance: Book the room and any necessary equipment (projectors etc). Make posters for the event. Make initial announcements on Usenet and possibly by e-mail.
- 2 Days in advance: E-mail Chris Redmond (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get the event into the Daily Bulletin. Include a short (one-paragraph) description.
- 1 day in advance: Speak with ICR (in DC, first floor) about getting the speaker a parking pass if needed.
- Day of the event: Try to be at the event, or find someone who will be to make sure things go smoothly. Remember to get the projector if necessary. If there are people in the room you booked, ask them to leave politely. Mention that you have the room booked. Get refreshments to the room as necessary. Introduce the speaker.
- After the event: Thank the speaker in front of the audience and applaud. Offer to take the speaker out for dinner. Clean up the room and return any loaned equipment. Write him or her a cheque for any expenses if necessary. For out-of-town speakers a small gift might be nice.
The rest of this section will outline various tips that should be useful when running events and suggest some events that you might want to run.
Getting ideas and speakers for events
Obviously you will have to start your planning by coming up with an event. Here are some types of events you might want to hold:
- Talks held by CSC members. Ask around, there are probably a few members who have interesting things to give talks on. In the past CSC members have given talks about programming languages they like, Operating Systems, research projects, etc.
- Talks held by Faculty: Simply ask your CS profs, or get other exec to ask their profs or interesting faculty. Approaching faculty in person might get you better results than e-mailing, but be sure to follow up with an e-mail so that you have something written to remind them.
- Out-of-town speakers. The ACM student chapter website has a section called "Lectureship series" where you can find information on getting an ACM Distinguished Lecturer. You can also simply approach interesting people (in Academia, Industry or the Free Software scene) by e-mail and ask them if they'd like to come and give a talk (or a few talks). Don't be afraid to ask high-profile people, the worst you can get is a "no." Be sure to have the treasurer budget money to pay for the guest speaker's expenses. If you can, try to pay for travel expenses (unless the speaker offers), but at the very least arrange for meals and accommodation as well as transport from the airport or bus/train station if necessary.
- Special events. In the past we've had an event called "Pints with Profs" where we invited the CS faculty (email@example.com) and any interested CS students to come out to a pub. The Bomber is a convenient location but we've found their catering to be expensive. Weaver's Arms (in WCRI) might be a good alternative. Be sure to budget this with Mathsoc, so you can pay for free food. Try to get both meat and vegetarian alternatives (e.g. Wings and Veggie Platters). Make sure you publicize this event very well, and don't hesitate to ask the profs to announce it in class (giving them overheads might be a good idea). This is definitely an event you should try to hold. If you can think of any other special events, go right ahead, be creative! Be sure to add them here.
- Tutorials. Usually we hold a few UNIX tutorials at the beginning of the term. These are quite popular and you can get Faculty (especially the first and second-year CS profs) to announce them in class. Be sure to book a lab. If there are more than one or two other people in the lab, politely ask them to leave - in our experience, asking such groups to be quiet doesn't usually work very well. Aside from UNIX you could have tutorials for LaTeX, some programming language, some programming problem (e.g. "Writing a raytracer") or anything you think would be useful for people to learn.
- Contests. Programming contests can be a lot of fun and will certainly raise interest in the club. Try to get nice prizes so that you can attract a large group of contestants. Be sure to have the rules and the environment set up early on. Game solving contests are a good idea (this can range from writing programs to play rock-paper-scissors to having programs compete at playing chess), demo programming contests can also be fun or you might go for something more useful. It's up to you - be creative!
- Anything else you can think of. Be imaginative and ask for suggestions. The ACM website also has some good suggestions for events. Don't limit yourself to computer-related events - a volleyball match against the Pure Math Club might be fun.
The treasurer's responsibilities include:
- Preparing and presenting to MathSoc the budget for the term
- Keeping the cash box filled with change
- Writing checks to reimburse members for items they purchase for the club
- Submitting forms to MathSoc, MEF, etc. for items purchased, and MAKING SURE we receive promised funding
It's important that we be reimbursed for all of our purchases. For expenses on the MathSoc budget, fill out an expense form (usually in the tray outside MC 3038) and submit it to the VPF. Make sure to specify which budget line item each expense is claimed against. Submit copies of all receipts and invoices, and keep the originals in the safe until we are reimbursed. Finally, bug the MathSoc VPF if we still haven't received a cheque from MathSoc after a week or two.
The secretary is usually responsible for:
- Keeping members and students informed
- Posting minutes of club meetings
- Advertising club events (see section on advertising below)
- Club correspondence
- Checking our two mailboxes in MC 3038 and DC 3316
- Reading and responding to mail we receive
- Membership drives
- Maintaining club bulletin board and other propaganda
Announcing the event: Posters and Posts
Once you have the abstract and the room booked you should get the word out. For starters you should send an announcement to the uw.csc newsgroup and possibly to the members by e-mail (try to reserve the latter for special events, although an update with upcoming events every now and then might be a good idea).
You'll also want to make printed posters. Simon Law made a cscposter.cls file for LaTeX which can be used to generate nice-looking posters in letter format. Try to not have too much text on the posters so that they grab more attention. Getting posters out earlier rather than later is definitely beneficial. To actually distribute posters you should use several methods:
- Put up the posters on the CSC boards. There are 3 boards: a small one right by the door of MC3036, a large one in the 3rd floor hallway of the MC and another large one on the second floor of the MC (directly below the third floor hallway).
- Give 6 posters to Mathsoc. Just drop by 6 posters in the Mathsoc office and they'll put them up around the MC and DC.
- Make use of the FEDS poster run. FEDS offers a (reasonably cheap) poster run where they will distribute many posters around campus. Check the FEDS marketing website for pricing and information on how to use it. While we aren't a FEDS club, we are part of MathSoc, so try to get the "student society" price. Also, make sure you budget for this from Mathsoc, you can probably get funds from them to use this.
There are other ways to get people to know about the event. If the event is relevant to classes, try to convince profs to announce it in class (giving them an overhead with the details is a good idea). Also, have the event announced in the Daily Bulletin (a daily update on the UW website about what's happening on campus). To do so, e-mail Chris Redmond (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Word of mouth is another important channel. Tell others in the CSC (both executives and members) to tell their friends about events. Tell your own friends and classmates about events that they might find interesting. Word of mouth is often how events get most of their publicity.
Lastly, you'll want to add the event to the website. Contact the CSC webmaster (or if there is none, the sysadmin) to have him or her do that for you, or find out how to do it yourself. This way others can check for events on the website, and you can also conveniently point people there if they ask, "What events is the CSC offering this term?"
Recruiting: Propaganda and Membership Drives
A notably successful way to recruit new members is to hold a membership drive. Recently, we have booked a table in the 3rd floor MC lobby through MathSoc and asked math students passing by to join. An effective tactic is to provide vouchers for $2.00 worth of pop as an incentive. The tickets in the office desk can be used for this purpose. Only new users should get free pop. Two tickets can be given, with half a ticket representing a free can. The tickets should expire after one week and you should count exactly how many you give out. This simplifies our accounting for the recruitment budget.
The system administrator chairs the systems committee, and is responsible for keeping all of our computers in working order. The CSC computing environment is good, but not nearly perfect, and the sysadmin should look for ways to improve it. We don't have a strict "if it works, don't touch it" policy, and encourage people to try new things to see if they work better. Because of this, we don't have "5 nines" uptime or anything close, but do have a modern computing environment that is constantly improving. Our systems should be, and often are, better at the end of term than the beginning.
Early in the term, the sysadmin should consider what hardware upgrades we would like to have, and send proposals to the treasurer to add to the budget. A bit later, this happens again with MEF proposals.
The sysadmin should also make sure requests by our users (to systems-committee@csclub) are answered, and make recommendations to the Executive Council to add new systems committee members or reevaluate old ones.
There are several people that many exec will need contact information for. Their contact info follows and should be updated when these people change!
- Donna Schell: Book most rooms in the MC or elsewhere on campus. She can generally book any lecture hall. If she can't do it, she can tell you who can! She can be reached at email@example.com or at extension 2207.
- Vera Korody: ICR secretary. Should we wish to use the DC fishbowl for anything we can contact her. She may require us to get the permission of a ICR director to use it. Currently the friendly director is Vic DiCiccio at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am including the text of an email I sent and the response from Vic below. It is easiest to talk to her directly at the ICR reception area beside the fishbowl in DC, however she can also be e-mailed at email@example.com or called at ext. 2042.
Hi, The Computer Science Club is interested in booking DC 1301 (The Fishbowl) for a student-prof mixer on the afternoon Monday, October 17. We were told that it would require the permission of someone higher up in ICR since we're a student club. We considered asking our faculty advisor, Prabhakar Ragde, to book it on our behalf, but that would require him to be present for the entire event and we don't want to impose on him to that extent unless we have to. We are hoping to get your permission to book it since our primary purpose is to remove alcohol from the picture, to get it away from the "pints" mentallity and focus it more towards the frosh. Thanks for your consideration. Tim Loach CSC President
Hi Timothy, Sure, I would definitely approve this. Have you been turned down by others? But you need to email Vera Korody to book the room, because it might be booked, and you need to get her rules about moving chairs, etc. I'll copy her on this email. BTW, does the CSC know that Mike Lazaridis is coming to Fed Hall on Oct 3 to explain why RIM is a cool place to work, and that there are still challenges there to interest co-ops and grads. We could use your help in getting the word out. You've probably seen the posters. Best, Vic
- MathSoc: It is often smart to have executive in MathSoc who are friendly with the CSC. To that end it is helpful to keep up with the MathSoc exec and attend MathSoc events. Their office is directly across the always closed door from ours. The president and VPF are particularily helpful, in case we go a little over budget for any event they can approve funding up to $100 extra by themselves. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and VPF@mathsoc.uwaterloo.ca. They also have a projector that we can borrow from time to time.
- AV stuff should be handled through AV services at extension 3033. Keys for AV stuff can be obtained at E2 1309. Note that they will charge you $80 if you intend to use a projector (and that's non-refundable - apparently bulbs are expensive and need to be replaced often).