It’s that time of year again, when members begin daydreaming about taking the next step in Phi Theta Kappa leadership. Myself, I’ve never run for International Office, but I was a campaign manager for our Alumni parliamentarian, Garrett Staas, when he ran for Division II Vice President in 2011. I also worked on Daniel Chitty’s campaign as an artist and graphic designer in 2013. Working on these campaigns gives you insight into how leadership for our society functions, but it is also an opportunity to step outside of your comfort zones. Speaking in front of over 4,000 people can be a bit nerve racking. Candidates and Campaign Managers alike have to talk to hundreds of people in one weekend. There is also the really un-fun stuff. There are tons of forms, reading, and writing to do, as well as a myriad of meetings.
How to go about the campaign process:
- Decide to run for office by mid-November. Why? Remember all those forms, reading, and writing? You’ll need all of that information when you go to your advisor and college administration. You’ll need to have meetings before the end of the school year.
- Read the International Campaign Packet more than once. You will need to be able to answer any questions that your advisor or college administrator has in your meetings. You’ll be able to find the packet on the International Officers webpage at http://www.ptk.org/About/SocietyLeaders/InternationalOfficers.aspx
- Watch the videos and participate in webinars. Gather all the information you can to find out if this is right for you.
- The Candidate App: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=morF7bchBjQ&feature=youtu.be
- Funding Your Campaign: https://youtu.be/xqGtDACN0OY
- Building Your Campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6AoekNuvJs&feature=youtu.be
- We Make Leaders: Running for International Office: https://youtu.be/6f-sDMZaDxs
- Start researching your positions. In Texas you have two options: 1. International President and 2. Division II International Vice President. No matter which position you pick, be prepared, because you are often running against a variety of individuals.
- Pick a position and meet with your advisor. Your advisor may have been through this process before and can help guide you. If you are with the Alpha Gamma Pi chapter at ACC, you’re in for a treasure trove of advice in addition to your advisors.
- Choose a Campaign Manager. Your campaign manager has forms to sign too and once you participate in this process you’ll no longer be able to participate in the process again, even campaign managers. Choose a person who has superb organizational skills and has the ability to talk in your stead. A campaign manager will make sure that all items besides actual campaign and meetings are taken care of the weekend of convention. This includes getting hot water and tea and keeping your candidate from talking when s/he shouldn’t, getting to bed on time, and being on schedule for meetings.
- Set up a Google Calendar just for your campaign. Tardiness will not be tolerated.
- Earn your Five-Star Pin. This will signal to voters, college administration, your advisor, your team, and headquarters that you are taking this experience seriously. If you need help, ask your advisor, chapter officers, or alumni. Doing this over Thanksgiving is a great way to get it all done at once.
- Have your advisor set up a meeting with college administration. Make sure you both have time to meet deadlines, as well as get any deadlines sorted out with administration.
- Choose a theme. This will make or break your campaign. Make sure you have a fully formed idea. For example: Daniel Chitty used a theme based on theater/movies by using a playbill as his handout and tshirts that featured imagery from the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
- Fill out your paperwork and have at least 2 people read it in addition to your advisor. You want all of your paperwork to be flawless when you show it to your college administrator and when you turn it in to International Headquarters.
- Create a presentation packet for your meeting. Use your theme, be as professional as possible. Find someone who is a graphic artist for your campaign, you will need one.
- Meet with college administration for approval and signatures. Be prepared. Wear business attire. Stay calm.
- Submit your paperwork after you and others read it a few more times. Remember, be flawless.
- Choose your campaign team. These individuals can be from the Texas or other regions in Phi Theta Kappa. They will be there to help you distribute campaign materials. Make sure your vision is clear to them. However, you and your campaign manager should be the only ones who actually speak for the candidate. Have meetings, make sure your creative team knows deadlines and your vision. Have a plan for what you want your materials to look like.
- Rest before Regional and International Convention. You will need your energy. Drink plenty of water, exercise, and eat right. Above all, save your voice.
- Your schedule will be crazy. Lean on your campaign manager, they should know your schedule and keep you on it. Give them your cell phone, you won’t need it, and you shouldn’t be looking at it at all. Set a schedule to get your phone back after activities for the day are done and give it back to your campaign manager first thing in the morning.
- Look and act professional. It is essential and courteous.
If you have any questions, contact your advisor. If you would like advice, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alpha Gamma Pi Alumni Association, President