How Executive Boards Can Utilize the Summer

As the 2011-2012 vice president for the Illinois State University Chapter of PRSSA , I knew how much work being the president for 2012-2013 would be. However, by reflecting back on my experience as VP, I knew that the best way to combat a stressful school year would be to make the most of the summer. Here are a few tips for you to consider:

1.)    Prepare applications for PRSSA awards. The deadlines to submit for PRSSA Chapter awards like the Teahan National Chapter Awards and the Star Chapter Award are always in early June. Instead of scrambling in May to create your Chapter’s entries, create a folder or binder to start collecting content now. Add to it throughout the year to showcase everything your Chapter has done. When it comes time to submit your entries, you’ll have all the content you need. This is especially helpful for the Star Chapter Award applications, which requires Chapters to meet eight of a designated 10 qualifications to apply.


2.)    Schedule executive board meetings over the summer. Our e-board met once in May and will be meeting another again at the end of July. Even though classes haven’t started, meeting over the summer will ensure that your first semester goes as smoothly as possible. During the first meeting, discuss your goals and ideas for the following academic year. Decide which of those ideas everyone wants to incorporate; at the next meeting, everyone can provide progress updates.


3.)     Enforce a 24-hour response rule. Staying in contact over the summer is crucial but can be difficult with internship schedules and vacations. Even though your e-board may be in different locations, committing to emails responses within 24 hours will enable everyone to swap ideas and complete tasks in a timely manner. If someone is going to be away from email for more than 24 hours, perhaps while traveling, ask him or her to inform you and other Chapter leaders beforehand.


4.)    Create summer task lists. From being on the executive board the year before becoming president, I knew how demanding the upcoming fall semester would be. Everyone is new to their position and learning how time consuming it all can be. So when I became president, I decided to make a list of tasks for every position. From that list, I looked at our fall semester and thought, “What can be done over the summer?”

Example: Our National Liaison is planning our Chapter’s arrangements for National Conference in San Francisco and is responsible for creating an information  folder for our members. This includes transportation and food options, things to do in the area, hotel information, etc. Although he won’t finish all of it over the summer, he can research a lot of it so he won’t have to when classes start and he has to organize the flights for everyone as well. As my mom always says, “Work smarter, not harder.” If there’s something your executive board member can do now, why wait until classes and fall internships are also vying for their time?

Editor’s note: If your Chapter is creating a similar information guide for Conference, connect with the Conference Committee to save time on some research!


5.)    Understand that you’re a team. Right now, in the summer, I am not as busy as I usually am. Therefore, if I know someone on my executive board will be at their summer internship during the time I want something posted to our social media, I’ll email them to say I will post it. Although it’s important for everyone to understand their responsibilities, we’re a team. One of the most dangerous phrases to start saying is, “That’s not my job.” It may not be your responsibility, but remember the biggest goal of being on executive board: serving the members. If you have free time and know someone else may not, take the initiative to help out. They’ll return the favor when you need it, and the members will be grateful for a unified executive board serving their best interests.


Summer is a great time to get ahead, personally and professionally, and especially in PRSSA. If everyone works to be as thorough and efficient as possible, transitioning into the fall semester will be a breeze!


This is a guest post by Kaitie Ries, the Chapter president of Illinois State University PRSSA. She is a senior public relations major who will soon be beginning her fourth internship at COUNTRY Financial’s corporate office in Bloomington, Ill. When she’s not doing PRSSA work, she enjoys spending time in her family’s pool, reading and watching old episodes of “Friends.”

What are you doing with your executive board to prepare for the upcoming school year?

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