Motion for student vote passed
On Monday, May 16th, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sacramento, STC held its annual business meeting. At this meeting, an amendment to the bylaws that would allow students to vote at the international level was proposed. Before the vote, a number of STC luminaries showed their support with stirring arguments. Bernard Aschwanden, STC Toronto Past President, said, “Transparent and open elections ensure that we remain an inclusive group, that we recognize the rights of all members to choose our leadership, and that there are equal rights, regardless of membership type.” Very few spoke in opposition and the motion was passed by a strong majority. Officially, at the conclusion of the business meeting, the following amendment to the STC bylaws went into effect:
Voting rights. Each and every member in good standing is entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to the membership for a vote. No class of membership will have any restrictions on its voting eligibility. The term "voting members" or "voting membership," when used in these Bylaws, shall refer to all membership classifications.
Motion for efforts to increase student membership passed
On the tail of the bylaws amendment vote, Bernard proposed another motion that strongly recommended that the board of directors work to find ways to increase student membership and increase student member value. The main goal of this was to ask that the board take the results of the vote to heart and provide more reasons for students in technical communications programs to join the STC and see longer term value in full membership. This motion also passed.
STC Toronto’s motion for student voting
On Tuesday morning, May 17th, STC Toronto’s Administrative Council connected online and unanimously passed a motion that amended our bylaws to state:
Voting Rights. Each chapter member, including student members, is entitled one vote on each matter submitted to the chapter.
On Sunday, May 22nd, we received an email from Kathryn Burton, Executive Director/CEO of STC that read, “Congratulations on acting so efficiently! This is great news.” She went on to request an official copy of our bylaws for STC’s records.
STC Toronto student members already leading the way
STC Toronto is proud of the fact that we have several schools in our community that cater to technical communications. On our Community Council alone, we have volunteers from Seneca College, Humber College, George Brown, and University of Toronto – not to mention that we have instructors at the majority of those institutions as well.
I am thrilled to see that STC is empowering the student body to become more active in our organization. At any given time, technical communicators will become students given that our field evolves at the same exponential rate as technology, and we have to constantly learn new tools and methodologies to stay ahead of the curve.
Substantiating STC Toronto student membership
As many of you know, in its prime, STC Toronto had over 700 members. Today, we stand at around 300. There are many reasons for the decline, and membership dues play a part. In this coming year, STC Toronto will focus on expanding our student membership and empowering them to get involved, particularly now that they can vote.
Bernard Aschwanden says, “It is wonderful to see that on an international level the STC has formally recognized the rights of students to vote. To the best of my knowledge, the STC Toronto Community is the first community in the STC to formalize its bylaws to reflect the spirit and the letter of the bylaws of the Society and continues to be a pacesetter in the STC.”
If you are currently taking two courses, you likely qualify as a student. With student memberships at only $75 when professional memberships are approximately $240, it is an incredible value to become an STC Toronto affiliated member. Our subsidized professional development events complement the courses you take and keep our professional members on top of current tools, trends, and methodologies in technical communications.
For STC Toronto, this new initiative to recognize the value of student involvement at STC is a priority, and for some of the STC Toronto leadership, you could say, a passion. We are already in discussions with Seneca College about program updates, working towards making STC membership a part of the curriculum. We have a list of other plans—including establishing partnerships with vendors—that will benefit students, and in time, professional members.
At the summit this year, the dominant message was: focus has shifted from providing tailored information to target audiences to establishing relationships with our audiences. We are in the business of setting people up for success by providing the right information to the right people at the right time in the right format for the right tools. At STC Toronto, we like to lead the curve, and we did this by shifting to our self sustaining 5 and 5 program model a few years ago. Times are changing and the new focus is on expanding our membership by nurturing our relationships with our voting members. We want to bring you the right programs, when you need them, to enrich your technical communications careers. And now our voting members include students – welcome aboard!
By: Anna Parker-Richards
STC Toronto, President