Running Your Chapter Virtually

Arnav Dhingra's picture

You’ve probably already heard this a million times ever since March 13, 2020. But, I’m going to say it again: This year is unlike any other. 

It all started with that two-week break from school, which then turned into three weeks. A couple months. A quarantined summer. And now, for many of us, virtual school. Almost every part of our lives has been impacted by COVID-19—school, athletics, vacations, extracurriculars, and even seeing our friends in person. But how is TSA going to be different this year, and how can you be better equipped to lead your chapter?

First, let’s talk about what’s different this year in National TSA. Back in July, TSA announced that the 2021 National Conference in Orlando will be hybrid, meaning that there will be a virtual and in-person conference. This ensures that, even if COVID-19 prevents us from meeting in-person, we’ll be able to compete virtually. However, National TSA also introduced some new perks for this year. Some of these include:

  • 62 virtual formats of events (corresponding with the 72 in-person ones), 
  • A new leadership program (no more LEAP)
  • Member-of-the-month recognition
  • Online pop-up events and guest speakers

Make sure to check out these new features, and many more, on https://tsaweb.org/, including an updated Student Member Site! Now that you know about what’s new in TSA, let’s dive deeper into how you can help your chapter navigate through these uncertain times.

Establish a communication system with your officer team. Many of us don’t have the option to hold chapter officer meetings and general chapter meetings in-person. Make sure to establish a communication system with your advisor and officer team. Some examples include Slack, Remind, and even email. Get approval from your advisor before creating these communication channels.

Start or continue to run a social media account. Promotion this year can be hard. Starting a social media account is very beneficial for gaining membership and sharing what TSA does. A very popular social media for TSA chapters is Instagram. Make sure to get approval from your advisor and/or administration first.

Run chapter meetings via Zoom or other video and/or presentation applications. What usually works best is to share a presentation (or any visual aide) while explaining what TSA is, and allowing members to ask questions. Stay organized!

Help your advisor, even if you aren’t an officer. Advisors have it hard this year. On top of virtual school, they have to affiliate your chapter, help gain members, communicate with the school administration, approve field trips, and much more. Even if you aren’t an officer, you can help out! Your advisor is only an email away—ask them if they need help with recruitment, with the next meeting, or even with explaining TSA to new members. This can help you stand out in your chapter to further your leadership skills and prepare you for higher positions, like chapter, state, and national office.

Attend the virtual Fall Leadership Experience (FLEX). Last year, PA-TSA brought back the Fall Leadership Conference, now named FLEX. Student leaders learned how to run their chapters, create a program of work, join committees, structure their leadership teams, fundraise, and much more. Make sure to sign up for FLEX this year!

I hope some of these tips help you and your chapter this year as you continue to lead PA-TSA to a brighter future! I can’t wait to see you all at conferences and FLEX! If you have any questions, please email me at treasurer [at] patsa.org.