Strengthening chapter roots

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Where’s Chase? That’s Chase Board in the middle, surrounded by his fellow 2016–17 APhA–ASP Chapter Executive Committee members.

Each year, APhA–ASP Chapters across the country transition executive responsibilities from one cabinet to the next. This critical process was the spark for my chapter at the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy, and with a sound foundation planted before us, we sought to strengthen our roots.

SLI resources

The 2016 APhA–ASP Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) provided the training that has become a key characteristic of how our chapter operates. Implementing “Minute-to-Win-It” games at each chapter meeting brings new meaning to the word attendance. At our September meeting, we played “Where’s Chase?” Members had to find me in a group picture taken at SLI within 1 minute, and the first member to find me was awarded a prize. With more than expected members at each chapter meeting, updates were communicated more effectively, resulting in more creative ideas and more involvement from our members. 

During the fall semester, our Generation Rx program was featured on the APhA–ASP National Facebook page for its pioneer event “Stress-Free, Drug-Free Day.” Held during finals week, stress-relieving activities such as playing with puppies, free massages, and yoga lessons were provided to students. 

Chapter leader retreat

Of course, events such as our “Stress-Free Day” do not breathe life unless there is prior guidance. Recommended at SLI, hosting a chapter leader retreat at the beginning of the school year was an important piece for the direction of the chapter. This meeting allowed our leaders to understand the collective goal of the chapter, synchronize agendas for the academic year, and build a uniform strategy to keep up with all projects when set into motion. Customized binders compiled with useful information were created for each chapter leader to reinforce these values and serve as a well-rounded reference for any immediate inquiries regarding the responsibilities of their position. 

As a result, our chapter has driven with direction, operated with clarity, and accomplished with insight. 

Student Outreach visit

To ensure that our chapter’s post-retreat game plan had substance, we asked for feedback via the APhA–ASP Student Outreach Program. Because of the perspective and feedback provided by APhA staff during the visit, the quality in our chapter events has improved. We learned that our goals and objectives had value and the potential to produce great works, and thus, we strived. 

Collaboration with other local student organizations made a positive impact on the local community; joining forces with other APhA–ASP Chapters helped to spread awareness about diabetes, cancer, and women’s heart health. Awarding the “Chapter Member of the Year” award to our Operation Diabetes chair gained attention from many of our members. Because her hard work was recognized at the regional level, many members wanted to be involved in Operation Diabetes. Many chapter members participated in the PharmFlix video contest competition, filled out applications for the APhA Institute on Alcohol and Drug Dependencies, and made their voices heard by voting on regional and national policies, due in part to one Student Outreach visit.

Chapter legacy

Now it is that time of year again to transition executive cabinets. It is the responsibility of the transitioning cabinets to pass on these traditions and find new ways to improve upon the previous year’s work through communication. If an incoming APhA–ASP Chapter leader needs to learn only one concept, it is this: get involved at the regional and national level. From these experiences, the connections made and the lessons learned have provided my chapter the tools to continue the path that was planted before us. 

Continue your chapter’s legacy by growing its roots and giving it value. Because one day, you will look back and be proud of the roots you have created for the next chapter leader.

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