Helen Chamberlain – Manifesto for Head of membership

by Helen Chamberlain

Introduction and Motivation

Hello! I’m Helen and I would love to be the new AHS Head of Membership. I’ve just graduated from Durham University with a masters degree in physics, and am moving on to work and study in the NHS as a medical physicist. I’ve been involved with the Durham AHS society (DASH) since 2013, and attended my first national AHS event in early 2015. I’ve absolutely loved my time being involved since then, and have endeavored to be part of as much as possible!

I would really relish the opportunity to hold this position as the AHS is something I am really passionate about. I had a pretty intensive Catholic upbringing, and as a teenager struggled to find faith despite trying really hard, even to the point where I became the student chaplain of my secondary school. On leaving for university I became less and less sure of what I wanted or believed in. I was unready to call myself an atheist as it seemed too negative at the time, and it was only through becoming involved with DASH that I found what I was looking for. I wanted somewhere that gave me a sense of community, but which was populated by similar minded people; people who rejected supernatural claims, who believed that living things were important and humans working together could achieve great things and who enjoyed debate and discussion. I want every student to be able to have the opportunity to find a space like this – so any student from any background can find a space where they are free to explore their own ideas and beliefs without any prerequisite ‘dogma’ attached. This is why I want to be membership officer; to be a part of helping the AHS as a national body grow and develop to eventually include every place of higher education in the UK, and to ensure that each university society receives the best support possible to enable it to flourish and grow.


Experience and Skills

I also firmly believe that I have the requisite skills required to fulfill this role to an extremely high standard. Whilst at Durham I have been the president of DASH in arguably its most successful year ever, with increased membership, attendance numbers, number of events and visibility around the university. I also have acted as publicity officer for two years, have built a new website, created a new exec and officer structure and forged strong links with other university societies. This is as well as being active in other societies, including acting as social secretary of my college choir, filling the prestigious role of communications officer of both the local St John Ambulance Unit and associated university society and volunteering extensively in the local community. I also engage with local humanist, skeptic and atheist groups to whom I have given several talks to during the last year. This, on top of what has been an incredibly intense degree! I am highly motivated, very approachable, friendly and incredibly organised. I am comfortable with using pretty much any form of software, be it databases, online organisational tools, social media or editing software. I’m also good at communicating with a wide variety of people and am good at working in teams – something truly essential in this role.


Tasks, Aims and Ideas

Some of my tasks, aims and ideas include:

Hopefully this has given you a fairly comprehensive view as to why I should be the new AHS Head of Membership. In short, I am capable, I am friendly and I will be able to implement a number of initiatives to ensure ALL societies can access the support they need and to help achieve the aims of the AHS; “We want to see a thriving atheist, humanist or secular society in every institute of Higher Education in the UK and Republic of Ireland, networked together, with a shared voice in public life, whose members can contribute to and be part of the wider national and international movement”. This is what I believe in and want to see, and I hope you give me the opportunity to work towards this! If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email at h.chamberlain@hotmail.com or find me at the Sheffield Societies Training weekend!

“You are literally the keenest person I have ever met. In a good way. ” – quote from a colleague and friend. I am super keen!

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