Ten Steps to Starting a Chapter

Your enthusiasm for starting a TSA chapter is extremely valuable as you energize your students.  

One of the best ways to start a chapter is to gather a group of six students, (can be more or less), to attend the Annual Missouri TSA Fall Leadership Challenge (FLC).  This conference, held each October at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO, gives you and your students the tools and training necessary to run a TSA chapter.  Students work with experienced TSA student-leaders to learn about leading a TSA chapter while networking with other students from across the state. You will also receive intense training and will be able to network with experienced advisors who will serve as resources for you later.  Even if you have not done any of the steps described later in this document, you and your students are highly encouraged to register and attend – it will make the process of establishing a chapter and learning about TSA much easier!

You can find more information about this conference at: https://motsaweb.org/conferences/flc/   Go to https://motsaweb.org/flc/register/  for information about registration and to register for for information on how to register for FLC.  

1. The organizing committee

  • Select a few enthusiastic students to organize a TSA chapter.
  • Encourage this group to become familiar with TSA before they begin. A good place to start is the Missouri TSA website referenced above.
  • For single sections, select four or five students from the class.
  • For school-wide chapters, select at least one representative from each class or lab course.

The committee should elect a chairperson to serve until the chapter is officially underway.  This organizing committee is the first step in putting chapter control in the hands of the students and obtaining a charter for the chapter from MO TSA, Inc. The two main duties of the organizing committee will be to draft local bylaws (NECESSARY FOR OBTAINING A CHARTER) and to plan a membership campaign.  The bylaws are the framework for how the chapter will be run. You can find a fill-in word document for your bylaws at: https://motsaweb.org/chapter/charter/

Obtaining a charter is a one-time process that is accomplished through the office of the TSA State Advisor at DESE.  Instructions for obtaining a charter can be found on the https://motsaweb.org/chapter/charter/   Chartering your chapter makes your chapter officially a part of MO TSA.  You will affiliate yearly by paying national and state dues through the National TSA website, but the charter fee is only paid once.

NOTE:  You must obtain a charter through Missouri TSA, Inc before  your chapter is officially recognized.  

2. The recruitment meeting

To introduce TSA to the students conduct a recruitment meeting. Use school announcements, bulletin boards, fliers and word-of-mouth to promote the meeting.

Here’s a simple format for the meeting:

  • Introduce organizing committee members.
  • Present the idea of forming a chapter to the group for debate.
  • If the class is in favor of forming a chapter, present the bylaws. If the group likes it, have them vote to pass the bylaws.
  • When the bylaws have been passed, plan the membership drive.
  • Explain the dues and set a deadline for paying them. Amounts for national and state dues (mandatory for each member) are established, but you will need to decide on local dues amount. Most chapters set membership dues so that there is a small amount of local dues over the amounts that must be remitted as national and state dues.

NOTE: Each chapter must pay a minimum of $100 national dues and $60 state dues annually.  These fees will cover ten students. Additional students may be added at a cost of $10 for national and $6 for state dues. See https://tsaweb.org/membership for more information about national and state dues.  National and state dues are paid to national TSA at the time of annual affiliation.  More information on this is available at the above listed website, and the process of affiliation will be discussed in more detail later in this guide.

Please note that yearly affiliation through National TSA is separate from the one-time charter process!

3. The membership drive

After planning, you will begin your membership drive. When collecting dues, keep several things in mind:

  • Adhere to school policy.
  • Set a deadline that is early enough to allow you to meet both your local, state and national deadlines. The national priority date for membership is in November.  The sooner your affiliations are received, the quicker you have access to the online national TSA materials, which include competitive event descriptions, and leadership training information.
  • Record the names of paid members of your TSA Chapter. If paying dues is difficult for students, hold a fundraiser to pay the dues for the entire group (everyone should participate in the event.)

4. Officer elections

Hold elections for chapter officers. Keep the election simple. For instance, you could hold a meeting and request nominations for candidates then have a show of hands to elect officers.

To encourage enthusiasm, conduct a political campaign. For that, appoint a committee to develop election guidelines (dates, application procedures and nominee requirements).

5. The officers’ first order of business

Hold a meeting of the newly elected officers. The first item of business should be petitioning the state for a charter. Make sure your school does not already have a charter. If it has, then you don’t need another. Find out by contacting the state advisor. See Missouri TSA website at https://motsaweb.org/chapter/charter/  for contact information and instructions for obtaining a charter.

After receiving the charter, your chapter is ready to affiliate for the first time on the national TSA website.  National and state dues are paid annually through the affiliation portal on the national website. Go to https://tsaweb.org /Affiliation-and-Dues to do this.  

Once you have followed the onsite directions to complete the affiliation process you will receive an email invoice that you can forward to financial staff at your school as needed.  After payment is made you will also receive an email with instructions explaining how to access and download competitive event descriptions and Total TSA, which contains leadership and chapter materials.

6. Chapter committees

The chapter president establishes the standing committees. Some examples include:

  • Membership Service
  • Public Relations
  • Social/Recreational
  • Fund Raising
  • Recognition
  • Sponsorship
  • Nominating

A complete description of each committee and its function is in Total TSA, to which you will have access after you complete the process of chartering and affiliating.

7. Develop a Plan of Action (aka, PA, or Calendar of Activities)

The chapter’s Plan of Action establishes the chapter’s project goals, and is a plan for the year.  Establish a Plan of Action Committee to come up with the plan and make recommendations to each standing committee. To help chapters create a Plan of Action there is a sample in Total TSA  available from the national TSA website once your chapter is chartered and affiliated.

8. Vote on the Plan of Action

Once the tentative Plan of Action is selected, present it to all members for their approval. The program directly influences the TSA year.

9. Get involved!  

The rest of the year your chapter will follow the plan of action for fundraising and chapter activities.  Some good ways to get involved, learn more, and get help are:

  • Start as soon as possible to make plans to attend the Missouri TSA Fall Leadership Challenge.
  • Check the Missouri TSA website for events and opportunities to get involved with other chapters.
  • Contact chapters at other nearby schools – your chapters can plan events together, and other advisors and their students can be great resources for you!
  • As the chapter works through the plan of work, include time for students to work on competitive event projects (more on these below).  Check the website frequently for notices of regional competitions, and take your students to those in your area.
  • Plan to attend the TSA State Championships, held each spring, where students from across the state come together to show off their work and compete.

10. The advisor’s continuing role

TSA’s philosophy is that students manage their chapter, so your role should lessen as the year goes by.  But the best advisors remain an active part of the chapter; advisors are official members. After starting a chapter, the advisor’s duties include the following:

  • Maintain student enthusiasm.
  • Provide guidance as needed.
  • Clarify or point out what students might neglect.
  • Encourage chapter evaluation.
  • Relate TSA activities to classroom learning, community life, and the students future roles in society.
  • Set standards for members to follow by being a positive role model.

The greatest pitfall for advisors is doing all the work alone.  Let students run the show!