|Click on the cutesy Cthulu picture (courtesy of Jenny Crayon, queen of the atheists) for some exciting news :D.
That’s right UB:ASH is officially, nationally awesome sauce. I couldn’t be more proud. Gareth and I had a wonderful time at the AHS convention, which was full of interesting people talking about interesting things. This is just a quick post so I’ll round off now and keep this short and sweet, I’m sure Gareth will write something prettier soon and I’ll post it up on here later. But yes, go us!
Edit: Gareth has written a review of the convention which can be found here. :)
As you may have heard, our AGM is coming up on the 12th of March, and all four committee positions will be free for the taking. We’d like to see as many people as possible running, it’d be nice to for there to be some competition for once. Even if you’re not planning on running for anything, it’s important to attend so that we reach quorum (minimum attendance), or pass your vote onto someone to vote for you.
Below are the committee roles, mostly taken from the constitution, with a few extra notes from me :)
- Chairs and co-ordinates the committee.
- Ensures that the group is represented at meetings required by the Guild, and in any dealings with the Guild or other bodies.
- Chairs the Annual General Meeting and any other meetings, unless there is a conflict of interest, in which case another committee member shall chair the meeting.
- The President also generally deals with communicating with other student groups on behalf of the society, and keeps everyone organised, though this position does not confer dictatorial power on whoever wins :p This would be a good position to go for if you’ve got good social skills, but can also keep people in line ;)
- Provides the committee with regular reports on the group’s financial status.
- Liaises directly with Student Development so as to maintain and update the group’s accounts.
- Advises the committee on the financial implications of all decisions taken.
- Prepares grant applications requesting financial assistance from the Guild and submits these applications by the required deadline, if the group desires to request funding. Groups may apply for a grant to support some or all of the activities listed in their constitution. This funding should supplement the fundraising and budgeting efforts of the group, and should not be relied upon to ensure the sustainability of the group.
- Maintains an inventory of, (and ensures that safety checks are regularly carried out on,) all equipment; and to provide related information to Student Development. – This basically refers to the library.
It’d be hard to do better than Kathy, a qualified accountant, for this role, but I suppose this is the role for somebody reasonably sensible with a decent grasp of maths :p
- Takes minutes of the Annual General Meeting, Extraordinary General Meetings and committee meetings if required, and submits copies of these to Student Development.
- Maintains and updates membership lists for the group, and ensures that Student Development has current records.
Deals with correspondence with members, interested students and external bodies.
- Ensures that Student Development receives minutes and full details of the group’s committee within 10 days of the Annual General Meeting or any Extraordinary General Meeting.
- Produces and distributes of publicity, including posters, flyers, contacting relevant organisations or deparments (such as the Guild, Birmingham Humanists, or individual University Departments). Obviously, it’d be best to do this if you’ve got decent design skills, but the design can always be delegated to somebody more skilled while this person handles the logistics.
And that’s the end of the job descriptions :) In practice, the roles are not particularly rigid, and various tasks can be delegated and traded around as makes sense. For example, the Secretary is officially supposed to maintain membership records, but as the Treasurer has to pay in membership fees and forms to Student Development, it makes more sense for them to do it. Also, conspicuously absent from all of these positions is any mention of the forms that need filling in for events, a task best assigned to whoever draws the shortest straw. They won’t be so bad next year though, as the risk assessments have been replaced with an annual one, though there’re still room bookings and speaker request forms.
The only remaining thing to mention is motions. Anyone can propose a motion to amend the constitution, such as adding new committee members or clauses. To be honest, I don’t think we need one, so try not to propose anything unless you’re certain it’s necessary. I have noticed a few things in the constitution which are out of date, and were overlooked with previous changes, so I’ll be working on updating the constitution. If you happen to see anything in the constitution that you think should be changed, send me a message and I’ll see what I can do.
Well, that’s all you need to know about the AGM. Once again, come along if at all possible, if not, at least pass your vote onto someone else. And run for something! This time next year, it could be you struggling to work out how to finish this news post!
UB:ASH is proud to present our first Reason Week! The links on all the events correspond with Facebook events. So without futher ado here is our line up:
Monday 20th February
Evening (7pm-9pm, Learning Centre LG32) - Free Speech vs Tolerance
Tuesday 21st February
Lunchtime (1pm-2pm, Learning Centre UG06) - Perspectives: Religion and Faith
Evening (7pm-9pm, Nuffield G17) – Your Life, Your Choice?
Wednesday 22nd February
Lunchtime (1pm-2pm, Learning Centre UG05) - Perspectives: Alternative Lifestyles and Relationships
Evening (7pm-9pm, Learning Centre LG32) – The Atheist’s Guide to Reality
Thursday 23rd February
Lunchtime (1pm-2pm, Mechanical Engineering, B01) - Perspectives: Ethical eating
Evening (7pm-9pm, Learning Centre LG32) - Bad Science in the Third World
Friday 24th February
Evening (7pm-9pm, Learning Centre LG32) - Evolution: The Evidence
Professor Pallen will be speaking on the evidence for evolution. This talk was prompted after a poll among students showed a sizeable minority of students did not accept that evolution was true. Professor Pallen is the author of ‘The Rough Guide to Evolution’, which was the book chosen for this year’s Great Read at Birmingham (GRAB) initiative.
Dr Pritchard will be taking a historical look at Darwin’s dangerous idea (the evolution of evolution, if you will), incorporating the Intelligent Design and creationist movements. Dr Pritchard is a senior lecturer in Biology and the Head of Education for the School of Biology.
That looks exciting, but what exactly is Reason Week?
Reason Weeks are awareness weeks organised by societies within the AHS. The Weeks themselves are highly diverse in nature but generally touch on issues surrounding atheism, secularism, humanism and skepticism.
That’s a little non specific – What is UB:ASH aiming for?
The aim of our particular Reason Week is to encourage discussion with various societies in and around Birmingham and to raise the profile of the issues involved. The purpose of the week will not be to be anti-religious, nor even necessarily concerned with religion at all, but to encourage rational debate, skeptical thinking and scientific discourse. We aim to involve members of various different faith groups and the Interfaith Association, as well as other local groups such as our friends at the Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub and Birmingham Humanists.
Each evening we will be hosting lectures followed by a Q&A/discussion from a series of awesome individuals (more to come!). During the day we will be hosting lunchtime events called ‘Perspectives’.
And what is Pespectives going to entail?
Awesomeness. The lunch time sessions are more focused on discussing and understanding other people’s points of view, with a particular interest in exploring the range of belief within even well defined social and religious groups. The format of these events will be a selection of volunteers talking for 2-6 minutes about things from their own perspective. This could be anything from something they believe isn’t understood or is misconstrued by those outside their ‘group’ or simply an amusing anecdote that gives insight into the life of someone who identifies as X, believes Y or is Z. We currently have three confirmed events ’Perspectives: Religion and Faith’ , ‘Perspectives: Alternative Lifestyles and Relationships’ and ‘Perspectives: Ethical Eating’. It’s not too late to volunteer, just send a quick note to email@example.com or just turn up on the day with a topic in mind :). If you’d rather just join in the discussion of listen you are still perfectly welcome to join in :D
That sounds brilliant, can I come?
All events are free but only our evening events are open to the public. If you are a member of the University of Birmingham (students/staff) you are welcome at all our events :)
What if I have other questions (related to UB:ASH or Reason Week) that are not answered in this handy FAQ?
Just send us a message via the various methods on our contact page and we’ll get back to you asap.