Help run DoCSoc! '19/20 Committee election positions explained
Kelvin Zhang,  20 February 2019


This post gives in-depth details which were summarised during our talk on Friday 15th February. If you're looking for the slides, you can find them here. Even if you did attend, be sure to read on!

It's that hectic time of year again where hundreds of students campaign to be part of the Union's countless number of societies. DoCSoc is no stranger to this process, where all of our positions (as well as new positions for the next committee) will be up for election.

As one of the Union's largest societies, every committee position has a considerable (yet manageable) workload. As a result, we recommend you read this thoroughly to gain a full understanding of what helping run DoCSoc entails.

Why should I run?

DoCSoc is one of the largest and most active societies at Imperial College and its success is down to the hard-working members of the committee. Regardless of whatever role our committee members have, every member gains first-hand knowledge of skills which are uncommon for most university students to have. Such skills include running large-scale events with hundreds of external attendees, liaising and building valuable relationships with multinational companies, as well as finance and legal skills such as working directly with contracts, invoices and purchase orders.

DoCSoc exists to benefit Department of Computing students by enhancing students' university experience (primarily through social events) and improving their employment prospects in both industry and further academic study and research. The main reason why you should run is a passion for fulfilling this mission and associated challenges to make a large, positive impact on the everyday lives of your peers.

As Maurice Yap (President '17-18) mentioned in his elections blog post last year, we advise against running if your main reason is to improve your CV (trust me, we've heard it many times before); the skills you gain from DoCSoc are only valuable when you can actively apply them in your future careers as opposed to writing your skills on paper. In contrast, if you have pure enthusiasm for DoCSoc and your role, you'll likely make a lasting impact on the society.

What is working on the committee like?

The committee has a flat hierarchy, where all committee members have as much capability to make change within the society regardless of what role they're in. With a passionate group of commitee members, each committee member dedicates their time to both shared responsibilities and responsibilities specific to their role to both sustain DoCSoc's current offerings and to improve DoCSoc even further.

A usual day involves frequently checking Slack and Messenger to stay updated to discussions within the committee and performing the usual responsibilities required of the committee member. In addition to this, the committee holds fortnightly meetings to discuss discuss updates on topics such as finance, sponsorship and events.

A common concern for all prospective candidates is the time dedication required within DoCSoc. The time dedication required changes depending on the time of year, with the autumn term and lead-up to IC Hack having greater workloads. Although careful time management is required during busy times of year, such workloads are always manageable, especially with the option of delegating your workload to other members of the committee given our flat hierarchy.

Things all committee members do

Although each position has specific responsibilities, all members of the committee have the following responsibilities in common:

  • finding sponsors before the beginning of the academic year by scouting out potentially interested companies, sending out emails for and negotiating both general and IC Hack sponsorship;
  • helping out at events (from weekly workshops and talks to major events such as IC Hack);
  • keeping track of and replying to DoCSoc's emails.

DoCSoc runs over sixty events yearly (some involving hundreds of attendees) and these events are possible thanks to our sponsors. Sharing these responsibilities ensures that no committee member is overwhelmed by the workload of running events or finding sponsorship.

What positions are available and what do they do?

In addition to shared responsibilities, each role has specific responsibilities.

GameDev Officer

The GameDev officer oversees DoCSoc's internal GameDev society and any activities/events related to game development such as:

  • organising and overseeing weekly GameDev meetups, including workshops and game development sessions;
  • overseeing the GameDev budget;
  • managing the Oculus Rift loan system and the DoCSoc games consoles;
  • leading DoCSoc's contribution to IC HealthHack (a joint hackathon [on a much smaller scale than IC Hack] with Bioengineering Society and ICSM Coding);
  • organising game development related social events, such as trips to game-related museum exhibitions;
  • organising game development related academic events, such as a Game AI talk.

While there isn’t a technical requirement for this role, it is helpful if you have some background in general game development concepts, especially if you are planning to run workshops. The biggest requirement for this role is leading the organisation of Health Hack, where experience running hackathons (such as volunteering at IC Hack) is extremely useful.

Webmaster

The Webmaster role is a more technical role and the time dedication depends more on your willingness to contribute. DoCSoc runs a large variety of internal software which the Webmaster is responsible for maintaining and improving. include:

  • maintaining the DoCSoc website, updating weekly events;
  • maintaining and improving the DoCSoc Portal, including setting up authentication for sponsors;
  • managing the IC Hack website and improving the IC Hack Hub used during the event;
  • maintaining and improving the DoCSoc Events app used to manage attendees at the door of events.

Strong technical competency in web development (including NodeJS and React) is recommended to make a lasting impact on our internal software. An understanding of AWS is also recommended for maintaining the DoCSoc portal.

Marketing and Publicity Officer

The Marketing and Publicity Officer primarily works to reach out to DoCSoc's members, with responsibilities including:

  • managing DoCSoc and IC Hack branding;
  • creating posters, flyers and social media banners for events;
  • creating and managing Facebook events;
  • updating social media to make both our members and the wider population aware of DoCSoc's developments;
  • designing, ordering and organising distribution of branded goods (swag, such as hoodies, t-shirts, beanies, etc.);
  • designing and ordering handbooks (e.g., Freshers' Handbook and Careers Handbook) at the start of the year.

Existing design software skills (e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator) are preferred but not necessary. However, you will be expected to learn how to use Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign very quickly as they will be used heavily throughout the year.

Secretary

The Secretary's has both internal and external responsibilities, managing meetings and handling communication between the committee and wider DoCSoc members:

  • sending weekly digest emails (including the tradition of having a biscuit photo at the start of each one);
  • sending mailshots to students upon request from sponsors or other committee members;
  • gaining competency with basic scripts and tools required to manage mailshots and the members' mailing list;
  • organising meetings and writing agendas/minutes with action items;
  • being a first point of contact for any communication from students over emails and social media channels.

Being able to type quickly is an extremely useful skill for this role but it is not a requirement. Basic Linux terminal and HTML skills are required for this role.

Postgraduate Officer

A new role for the '19/20 committee, the Postgraduate officer is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with postgraduate members, including both PhD and MSc students. As a new role, the responsibilities are less clearly defined, however, this role has been created to expand DoCSoc's main demographic of undergraduate students (often first and second year students) to also include postgraduate students.

Experience with postgraduate studies in the Department of Computing (either as a returning postgraduate student or a student who is looking to go into postgraduate study in DoC) is recommended.

Events Officers (3 positions available)

Events Officers carry out the practical logistics of on-campus events and are a core part of making DoCSoc's social programme possible. Responsibilities include:

  • ensuring food, drink and other amenities are ordered (ensuring orders have sufficient quantities and dietary requirements are fulfilled!);
  • organising volunteers to help at each event where needed (usually using the DoCSoc Operations Facebook group);
  • discussing event logistics with sponsors;
  • working with the Marketing & Publicity Officer to publicise events;
  • working with Academic, Industrial and Social Events Coordinators to organise events;
  • being responsible for setup and pack-down of events.

Candidates (especially those in first year) in the past have been concerned with the workload of this role (especially during the Autumn term), however, we have found that having three positions allows events officers to rotate and delegate work freely. Setting up is often the most time-consuming part of an event and both events officers and volunteers are usually able to do course-related work while an event is taking place.

Academic Events Coordinator

The Academic Events Coordinator organises academia-related events, with responsibilities including:

  • running DoCSoc Education programme, liaising with other societies to hold events such as Coding 101 and Coding 102;
  • running internal events and workshops such as Internship 101, Intro to Linux;
  • liaising with the Department to identify suitable events to run, such as UROP 101 and Reading Groups;
  • working with the Marketing & Publicity Officer to publicise events;
  • working with the Events Officers to handle event logistics.

If you are interested in running events to push the skills and knowledge of your peers within DoCSoc and the wider College further, this role could suit you well.

Social Events Coordinator

The Social Events Coordinator is responsible for organising the society's social events, both on-campus and off-campus. Responsibilities include:

  • booking venues, setting dates and deciding policies for social events (e.g., bar nights, Revel);
  • finding events for a programme of interesting off-campus events such as ice skating, trampolining and go-karting;
  • liaising with other societies and/or the Union to organise our flagship social events (e.g., Revel);
  • working with the Marketing and Publicity officer to publicise events;
  • working with the Events Officers to handle event logistics.

Positions with Financial Responsibility

DoCSoc is not an entity in and of itself - like all other student societies at Imperial, it is a subsidiary of Imperial College Union, which is a charity. Financial Responsibility (FR) means being personally responsible for the financial transactions of DoCSoc for the 2019/20 academic year and understanding that you may be held responsible for your actions in office for up to seven years after the end of your term in office. In most clubs and societies at Imperial, the Chair/President/Captain and Treasurer are the two people with FR. Because of the large volume and scale of financial transactions in DoCSoc, five committee roles have FR.

Because of this, it is strongly advised that those running for positions with Financial Responsibility have prior society committee experience at Imperial, as part of DoCSoc, IC Hack or another large ICU society. Awareness of the Union's financial transactions procedures (particularly claims and purchase orders) is recommended for these roles.

Sponsors' Liaison and Industrial Events Coordinator (2 positions available)

The '19/20 committee will have two positions to be filled for this role ("Sponsors' Liaison") instead of one due to the number of sponsors our society now works with. Sponsors' Liaisons are the first point of contact with our sponsors, who we work with to build long-term, valuable relationships. Responsibilities for the two liaisons include:

  • liaising with sponsor representatives to find suitable dates and explore different activities they could do on campus to better engage with students;
  • booking event venues (i.e., Imperial room bookings);
  • speaking with both current and prospective sponsors over the phone and email to discuss their partnerships with us;
  • signing contracts and raising invoices;
  • splitting handling of all sponsors between themselves;
  • liaising with events officers to delegate handling of sponsor event logistics;
  • working with the Marketing & Publicity Officer to publicise events, ensuring sponsors are as satisfied as possible with turnout and reception.

Being able to communicate professionally is key; our sponsors have a wide variety of recruitment targets they fulfil by sponsoring our society and it is our responsibility to ensure we provide value to these companies and assist them in fulfilling their targets.

Treasurer

The Treasurer carries out the day-to-day financial duties of the society. Responsibilities include:

  • creating and managing the budget with the President;
  • monitoring revenue and expenditures, ensuring that overspending does not occur;
  • handling our large number of financial transactions, including reviewing and approving expenditure claims and purchase orders*;
  • handling invoicing for sponsorships;
  • liaising with Imperial College Union Finance.

The most important quality a Treasurer must have is financial discipline and integrity in conducting financial duties. Alongside the Vice President and President, being able to navigate bureaucracy is also a key skill, where a large proportion of DoCSoc's financial transactions require approval from the CGCU (the management group for the Faculty of Engineering's societies) and the Union.

* Due to the large number of financial transactions made during periods such as IC Hack, some responsibilities may be shared among those in the financial approval chain.

Vice President

The Vice President is primarily an internal role which oversees the day-to-day operations of the society. This encompasses a broad range of responsibilities, including:

  • making sure duties are being fulfilled and work is being well-delegated;
  • co-direct sponsorship seeking, contracts and invoicing with the President;
  • working with the President and any other parties involved during complex situations.

Both the President and Vice President are often first points of contacts in bureaucratic situations, often having to liaise with higher bodies such as the CGCU or Imperial College Union to resolve urgent issues.

President

The President's role adds to the Vice President's role, with the addition of managing all of DoCSoc's stakeholders. The President drives the overall direction of the society, working to meet the society's many demands and goals. Responsibilities include:

  • making sure duties are being fulfilled and work is being well-delegated;
  • representing the society is run according to the constitution and Imperial College Union's regulations;
  • regularly liaising with the society's stakeholders, including the Department of Computing staff, the City and Guilds Union, Imperial College Union, sponsors and other third parties;
  • monitoring the society's budget;
  • co-direct sponsorship seeking, contracts and invoicing with the Vice President;
  • working with the Vice President and any other parties involved during complex situations.

How do I run?

To run, nominate yourself at imperialcollegeunion.org/your-union/leadership-elections-2019 and ensure you familiarise yourself with the timetable and election rules in the Candidates' Pack. Note that breaking election rules can result in disqualification.

What if I am unsuccessful in the elections?

Every year, candidates who have made a great impact within DoCSoc do not become elected. However, don't let losing discourage you from being part of DoCSoc after the elections; every year, we have volunteers who share the workload of committee members. Volunteers have as much ability to change DoCSoc as committee members and we welcome all volunteers to our committee meetings and lend a helping hand in our day-to-day activities.

Questions

If you have any questions about a role or elections in general, please feel free to email us at docsoc@imperial.ac.uk. Feel free to also get in contact with the incumbent members of committee. The list of current committee members is on the about page.

Acknowledgements to Maurice Yap (President 2017-18) for his election positions post last year for providing the foundation to this blog post.