The rivalry between SFU and UBC has become a custom for many business students but AIESEC puts aside these differences for their annual AlumNight event. Every year, AIESEC SFU and UBC take turns hosting the event while combing their resources.
AlumNight is an important event for AIESEC because it helps us expand and build our AIESEC Alumni relationships. Our Alumni are our central source for business advice, event speakers and support. This event gives us the chance to recognize Alumni members with outstanding contributions to the AIESEC community, as well as give updates on the Local Committees (LC) of SFU, UBC, Kwantlen and UVIC. It’s a great chance for members of the different LCs to meet and mingle while getting inspired from AIESEC Alumni stories. Individually, the LCs would not be ableto host such a successful AlumNight because AIESEC Alumni are a limited resource.
This year, UBC hosted AlumNight but I had the opportunity to be on the Organizing Committee (OC) as the Vice-President of Communications. I’m proud to announce that our OC was all female, with three UBC students and two from SFU. With an inside perspective, I thought I’d share my insight on hosting a joint event with our student club counter-part at UBC.
- Shared resources. Collaborating allows us to combine our contacts, increasing the amount of attendees for both Alumni and students. For other clubs this could mean combining business professional or sponsorship contacts.
- Less financial strain on Local Committee. Most student clubs have several signature events throughout the year. If SFU and UBC take turns hosting, your LC will only have to worry about financing the event every two years, which permits more financial freedom.
- More people power. With two Local Committees working together, there are twice as many members to help. There are two Corporate Relations or Alumni Relations teams to help with cold-calling which makes a big difference!
- Wider audience. There are twice as many members to sell tickets to which means twice as much revenue. You have the opportunity to plan the event on a larger scale.
- High quality recruitment. When recruiting for an Organizing Committee (OC), the amount of applications doubles which means you’ll be able to pick the best for each position from either campus. However, for AIESEC, the OC President and the VP of Finance is always from the host Local Committee.
- Meet new people. Having attendees from both campuses allows students to increase their personal networks and create friendlier ties with UBC.
- New ideas. Different schools do things differently, working with your UBC counter-part may give you new ideas and methods on how they run their club.
- Complex hierarchy. It may become unclear where the Organizing Committee members turn to for help when they attend one school but the other school is hosting.
- Power struggles. Disagreements may arise between the two schools but an agreement could be created to allow the host school to take on more responsibilities.
- Slower decision process. Conflict management may be slowed if decisions must be approved by twice as many people.
- Different customs. Since the Organizing Committee (OC) will be a mix of students, customs of the OC President may be unfamiliar to the other school.
- Challenging communication. Having an Organizing Committee split between two campuses makes finding a time and location for meetings trickier.
With all the advantages and disadvantages all laid out from my personal experience, you’ll have to consider the situation of your own student club. Overall, I think it is a great idea for an annual signature event and the benefits outweigh any negatives. It allows for more opportunities for both student clubs. It also gives the Organizing Committee members a chance to face these challenges that occur frequently in the real world workplace. When attempting this merger for the first time, procedures will definitely need to be discussed and laid out to reduce complications but creating this relationship with UBC will be beneficial in the long run. Even if you don’t co-host a signature event right away, take the first step in reaching out to them. Invite their Local Committee to your next event and get to know them. We all have the same goals, why not achieve them together? Take advantage of your Sauder counter-part and plan your next event together!
For more information about AlumNight 2010 which takes place on Tuesday, November 16, 2010, please visit www.aiesecalumni.ca