Get involved in the AHS this year!

by Chris Malburn

Would you like to get more involved in the AHS? There’s lots of opportunities this year: below, you’ll find a list of the jobs we need filling ready for the coming year, so please have a look through and see if there’s anything you’d be good at or would particularly enjoy doing.

If you’d like to discuss your application, you’re very welcome to do so – if you’re not sure which role is best for you, or if you’d simply like a bit more information, you can get in touch with the new Exec (Chris, Dan & Martin) who’ll be very happy to chat with you and answer any questions. Similarly, if you might not have time for a whole officer position, or if you think you have something valuable to contribute to the AHS but don’t see a suitable position below, there are other ways you can get involved, so please let the Exec know!

“How do I apply?” I hear you ask. You can send a brief statement of less than 400 words (approximately – we won’t count!) to by 27th July for the Executive to consider. Be sure to mention any useful experience and skills you have in your statement (entertaining but irrelevant skills may also win you points). The Exec will interview people as necessary and strive to notify everyone about their applications by 10th August.

“I don’t know what I’m doing. Will I get any training?” Yes! There will be an Officer Training Day on 30th August at the BHA HQ in London – so, if you’re applying for a position, please keep this day free! There’ll be workshops with people from the BHA and all sorts of useful and fun stuff, so you don’t want to miss it.

There’ll probably be some tough decisions to be made in the next couple of weeks – good luck, everyone!

– Chris

Regional Officers

4 Hours/week on a busy week.

The Regional Officers are the first port of call for member societies. Their job is to keep in regular contact with AHS societies to provide guidance and advice to help them grow, and to report to the Membership Officer about AHS activity in their region. They play a vital role in achieving the AHS’s aim to have an active society on every campus.

A good Regional Officer should keep an eye out for new AHS societies popping up, and should be known to local Humanist and Skeptic groups as the go-to person for potential AHS students. They must be approachable, friendly and knowledgeable about the AHS – as they will be the first port of call for societies in their area – and should be willing to discuss societies’ progress, event ideas, and help troubleshoot problems, as well as reminding them about upcoming AHS events and grants deadlines, and referring members to other Officers or the Executive when necessary.

Regional Officers should meet with member societies a minimum of once every month by means of a phone call, skype or hangouts (other VOIP clients available – ideally, twice a month in the lead up to University Freshers’ Weeks), and subsequently report back to the Membership Officer on the activity in their region and any changes in society details, as well as prepare a brief report on their region prior to each board meeting, which takes places quarterly. An outstanding Regional Officer would also visit AHS societies in their region and be willing to take an active role in the running of AHS events both in their region and neighboring ones: in particular, Regional and National Conventions, and the AHS AGM.

The AHS splits the UK and Republic of Ireland into 13 regions. Each Regional Officer has one region, ideally where they either live or go to University. The regions that need a new Regional Officer for 2014/15 are listed below:

Membership Officer

6 Hours/week

A good Membership Officer is absolutely vital to the smooth running of the AHS – they are responsible for developing the membership through the Regional Officers and are at the core of the AHS’ vision to have an AHS society in every university in the UK and ROI.

The Membership Officer should keep all the vital information about AHS societies up to date in their own records as well as ensuring all information regarding members on the AHS website is accurate. They are responsible for managing the Regional Officers and reporting to the Executive with an overview of the AHS’s members and their level of activity. An excellent Membership Officer will actively contribute to the development of the AHS’s membership by identifying and anticipating potential issues with members and reporting these to the Executive, as well as assisting in the organising of Regional Conventions and other AHS events. They need to be very organised with record-keeping, have a good level of attention to detail, and be a good manager: enthusiastic and friendly while maintaining regular communications with Regional Officers, and individual societies where necessary.

They will be expected to meet with Regional Officers at least once a month, and subsequently report the progress of the regions and societies to the Exec. They should also prepare a written report prior to each quarterly board meeting containing members’ lists, a summary of society activity and other relevant information (to be agreed), to ensure the Exec and Board remain fully informed about the state of the AHS. The Membership Officer should also seek to recruit new Regional Officers and act as an interim Regional Officer where necessary to ensure all societies have a contact with the AHS.

Communications Officer

4 Hours/week

The Communications Officer deals with written copy that is published by the AHS. On a weekly basis, it’s the Communication Officer’s job to write and collate the newsletter by sourcing AHS stories from the Exec and Officers, as well as opinion pieces for the newsletter and website and acting as a copy-editor for other published materials.

A regular, good-quality newsletter is very important for fostering the AHS community and should include everything that members need to know about recent successes, controversies, and topical issues each week. A good Communications Officer will be aware of the goings-on within the AHS and be in contact with the Exec, Officers and Members to explore what stories and issues are worth of inclusion in the newsletter, and on the website, ensuring that the diverse range of views within the AHS is represented. They need to be aware of upcoming AHS events, and important dates such as grants deadlines, to be sure that they’re included in the newsletter at the right time. They should also be willing to take on other occasional pieces of copy editing around the year for the website, societies’ guides, and event leaflets.

The Communications Officer must always on the lookout for a good story, a consistent writer, and must have impeccable spelling and grammar!

Education Officer

3 Hours/week on average – more during summer holidays

The Education Officer is responsible for keeping the AHS’s educational materials up to date and working with the Exec to create new ‘How-to’ guides and assist the Executive in preparing a workshop series for AHS events.

A good Education Officer should have a reasonable understanding of important issues relating to the running of student societies and how they interact with the AHS, and be able to work closely with the Exec to provide excellent quality resources for members who are setting up or running their own AHS society. They should be able to present information and advice in an easy-to-read, logical and concise manner, so that it’s easy for members to use the resources to find important information quickly when they need it. They’ll also need to work with the Webmaster to ensure that all of the resources are hosted on the website in an accessible manner.

An excellent Education Officer will take an interest in the work of the other Officers and work with them to identify common problems that AHS societies run into, and explore new topics for the AHS’s resources to cover in the future. The Education Officer’s hours will vary throughout the year, but they’ll be expected to keep to a workplan that they’ll agree with the Exec at the beginning of the year.

Campaigns & Research Officer

3 Hours/week – potentially variable

The Campaigns & Research Officer’s role will be to assist the Exec in carrying out research and exploring ideas for potential AHS campaigns. Until recently, this role has been difficult to properly define, as the AHS hasn’t had a particular student focus to its campaigns. However, in the last year, it’s become clear that the AHS’s main public focus has been taking action with censorship on campus, gender segregation and similar issues. The future Campaigns & Research Officer would be responsible for assisting the Executive in exploring avenues for future AHS campaigning around these themes by carrying out any necessary research into possible opportunities and the deeper issues involved.

A good Campaigns Officer would be an effective researcher and competent at coordinating the collation of information. In the coming year, they may be making freedom of information requests, picking apart policies and heading a small team of assistants to do the same. They would need to be organised and passionate about the issues that impact on non-religious students. The Exec has a few ideas for 2014/15 already, which should be explored, however, the role is still very much open for negotiation, and the Exec would welcome someone with lots of ideas of their own.

‘Design Officer’ – title TBC

3 Hours/week average – peak before AHS events

This Officer will responsible for the AHS’s image and making sure that the AHS looks the part as a national organisation. They will be responsible for the graphic design of any content produced by the AHS, whether it’s the society startup packs, templates for how-to guides, posters, leaflets or delegate packs for the AGM and Conventions. The Design Officer would need to be willing to put in time at the beginning of the year to make templates for the new society resources, as well as work with the Webmaster when improvements are being made to the website. Naturally, a good Design Officer should be competent with graphics and publishing software and they should also be willing to contribute to any multimedia projects that the AHS may get involved in.

This is a new position for 2014, so some of the details are yet to be decided. The scope of this role will be largely dependent on the candidates’ skills, ideas and experience, and this can be discussed with the Exec. Photography and video skills will also earn you points.

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