As the hundreds of student organizations on campus hold elections for next year’s groups’ leaders, students are realizing that the size of the executive board can vary greatly from group to group. Apparently one size does not fit all.
Most undergraduates participate in one of GW’s 370 student organizations, according to figures from the Student Activities Center which oversees student life on campus. While some groups are a handful of students, others can be made of hundreds of members.
SAC Executive Director Tim Miller said there is more to the size of an executive board than the size of the board’s constituency.
“I think each organization is different and can function with boards in a range of sizes,” Miller said. “I have seen both large and small executive boards that have worked incredibly effectively as well as (ones that have failed) in several different ways.”
The College Democrats is the largest student organization on campus with more than 2,000 members. According to College Democrats President-Elect Tanya Choudbury, a sophomore, the CDs have worked to reduce the size of its executive board over the last 10 years as a way to improve the board’s efficiency.
“We tend to find that when people have more duties, (a product of having fewer positions), they are more invested in the organization,” Choudbury said. “This makes them work harder and it is easier to keep them accountable.”
Although the CDs still have 16 executive board positions, historically the student organization had an even larger board. Choudbury said a more suitable size of the executive board will translate to a more responsiveness by the organization. In opposition to organizations that want to maintain or reduce the size of their executive boards, Neeru Peri, a senior and president of community service sorority Epsilon Sigma Alpha, said she supports an executive board with expanding numbers of roles.
“It’s essential for an organization like ours that’s growing at an exponential rate to have a large executive board,” Peri said. “I don’t know what we’d do without each position.”
Because student organization members count on executive boards to represent their needs and interests, it is not only essential for executive boards to be of the right size for their organizations but they also must include the right types of leaders.
“When you have the right person in the right positions, we can go beyond our expectations,” said junior Peter Glessing, director of Public Relations for the College Republicans. Last week the organization elected junior Chris Brooks are next year’s chairman.
The CRs operate a large executive board with 11 members, and Glessing said each position provides a specific function for the success of the organization.
“Each position has a specific role and some have expanded,” Glessing said. “The role of vice chairman (held by sophomore Brand Kroeger) has been our outreach to other organizations and (Kroeger) has been unbelievable in that position.”
For other large student organizations like Global Languages, which has more than 1,000 members, bigger is not always better in terms of executive board size.
“When it comes down to making decisions, it’s easier with only a few people deciding,” said sophomore Michael Forney, the executive board member in charge of finance for Global Languages. “The idea of too many (people) complicates things and clogs the process (of running the organization effectively)”
Infinite McCloud, a sophomore Class Council representative, also said that too many individuals in positions with power can lead to trouble.
“For me, the bigger the crowd, the more commotion. The smaller the crowd, the more that gets done,” said McCloud.
Regardless of executive board size, student organizations agree on a significant benefit of holding elections in the spring-an easy transition between the old and new boards.