Why Run for PA-TSA State Office?

Arnav Dhingra's picture

Hey PA-TSA! I’m Arnav Dhingra, your current state Treasurer. Get ready, because Pennsylvania TSA State Officer applications are open now and due March 22, 2021! But why run for office? As a current state officer, I’d like to give some insight into what it’s like to be an officer and why you may want to run for a position.

Who Should Run?

If you’re interested in learning what’s behind the scenes for planning FLEX, States, and other initiatives, you should run! People who love meeting new people and leading a group are a great fit for State Office. Even if you don’t possess any or all of these qualities but are interested in learning through the experience, apply and run for a position!

Although not necessary, many candidates participate in Pennsylvania TSA committees. Committees are a great way for members to learn about state officers’ role in PA-TSA and how you can lead such an impactful organization. As a state officer, you’ll need to run your own committee, so it always helps if you have been a part of the committee before. If you’re interested in joining committees next year, check out which committee your office of interest chairs and what the committee is all about here.

There are certain qualifications that you must have in order to run. Definitely make sure to read this document carefully to ensure that you are able to run.

My Experience

At first, I was hesitant about running for state office. Coming from a school district that only had one high school chapter and no middle school chapters, I felt intimidated by previous candidates who were in TSA since the 6th grade. However, I dedicated myself to strengthening my campaign and platform—this is what really matters. Your efforts in what you have available are extremely important. In my case, serving as chapter President and helping start two other chapters in my district was how I took advantage of the leadership that was offered to me.

As a state officer during COVID-19, the experience was not one that I had expected, but serving PA-TSA has still been one of the most rewarding experiences in my high school career. Running my committee has opened my eyes to the future of PA-TSA and the importance of fundraising for charity and those in need. At first, when I proposed my initiatives to the Board of Directors, I was nervous and doubtful. However, serving in this position has enabled me to gain confidence exponentially and learn about myself.

My favorite part of the experience is the people. Although my term is not over yet, I know that the many bonds I’ve made with committee members and the State Officer Team will last longer than the end of my TSA career. Even though I’ve only met with these people virtually, the connections I have made with members and officers from across the country have supported me in my journey through the pandemic. The Board of Directors (BOD) are some of the most dedicated, hardworking, and humble people I have ever met. Trying my best to support the BOD with planning the Fall and State Conferences has given me a way to give back to the organization that I will be forever thankful for.

Tips for Running This Year

As with the state conference, all election procedures will occur virtually. Your #1 resource this year is this page, which contains all information about running for a state position. Some tips for your virtual campaign are outlined below. Feel free to use them!

  • Follow all rules. This is the #1 tip for a reason! Make sure you follow all social media and election rules as written on the PA-TSA website and any information for candidates. Not following rules can result in disqualification.
  • Plan unique ideas. When you’re starting your campaign, you may already have a couple of ideas in mind of how you might want to improve PA-TSA. Make sure these ideas are new and feasible! Delegates want to see how candidates can help PA-TSA in a way that has never been done before.
  • Watch past speeches. If you’re struggling with what to say for your speech, consider watching past PA-TSA speeches on the PA-TSA YouTube channel. While you cannot directly copy from these speeches, they can often serve as inspiration for your own campaign.
  • Look at other states. When you’re deciding on your platform, looking at what other states have done is very helpful. For example, my proposed initiative and campaign idea for the Pin Design Contest came from OK TSA and TX TSA. Reaching out to other states about their initiatives can be a great way to develop your own ideas for PA-TSA.
  • Believe in yourself. The more you believe in yourself, the more you can recognize your ability to accomplish goals.
  • Focus on your social media presence. Last but certainly not least, focus on your social media presence! While in-person campaigns rely heavily on networking during the conference and your speech, much of the way you present yourself to PA-TSA in a virtual election is through social media. If you’re not a pro graphic designer, that’s completely okay! Make sure to check out last years’ social media campaigns and maybe learn how to use some beginner-level graphic design software such as Canva in advance. Plan out your social media ahead of time!

I hope my experiences as an officer and tips for running will help you on your journey to becoming a state officer. If you need anything at all, feel free to email me at treasurer [at] patsa.org (subject: Blog%20Inquiry) . I can’t wait to (virtually) see you at States!