Student Concerns Committee: A Brief History

Student Activism and Involvement with SWS

Students play a large role in making SWS a successful, vibrant organization. Around the time that the Student Representative position was created in 2000, many students served on committees, and some committees were comprised of 50% or more of students. Students participate in SWS in other ways such as volunteering at the front desk during conferences,serving as student-editors for Gender & Society, contributing articles to Network News, and assisting officers to help them fulfill their duties. Students have also held offices in SWS prior to the Student Representative position and formation of the Student Concerns Committee. Students can run for and hold almost any office in SWS, which makes this group special compared to many other academic-professional organizations. If you are interested in serving on a committee or task force, or just want to volunteer for a specific project, contact the chair directly or at the next conference sit in on a meeting to learn more. At both the Summer and Winter conferences most committee and task force meetings are open to everyone and new people and new ideas are always welcome!


Student Representative

The Student Representative is an elected position. In the past the Nominations Committee typically chose two people to run per year. The guidelines for choosing candidates for the Student Representative position are the same as for all of the other nominees: the person should be a consistent participant in SWS events, be actively involved in the SWS network(e.g., volunteer on a committee or task force), show promise of leadership, and demonstrate responsibility and a willingness to work. There are many ways in which one can be nominated as a candidate including:

  • Being nominated after the call appears on the SWS main or Student list serves.
  • During a business meeting, when sheets are passed out asking for candidate nominations list yourself or a friend.
  • Sending your name or a friend’s name to the Nominations Chair and telling them what office you would like the nomination for.


The official description of the Student Representative duties is:

The Student Representative shall represent the interests of undergraduate and graduate student members of SWS on the Council and shall chair the Student Concerns Committee (Article V, Section 9 SWS Bylaws).


How one decides to fulfill this duty is left largely up to the person in the position. Once elected she or he decides what role the Student Concerns Committee will play in SWS by developing a working relationship with other committees and prioritizing which goals are the most important for the Student Concerns Committee to achieve in the upcoming year.

The Student Representative is a SWS Council Member. As a Council Member, the Student Representative is expected to attend and participate in the council meetings at both the Winter and Summer conferences. The Student Representative is expected to prepare a report to present at both conferences on what she or he have accomplished as an officer and on the activities of the Student Concerns Committee. She or he is also expected to vote on important issues as they arise throughout the year via email as a SWS Council Member, for example deciding whether or not to extend funding to committees or for SWS activities. The Student Representative should also join the SWS Student listserv and post events, issues and information relevant to students.

Most importantly, the Student Representative should respond to student concerns, and inform the SWS Council of student’s needs. This aspect of the job should be reactive as well as proactive. The Student Representative should initiate contact with students, support existing programs and create new ones, and maintain solid relationships with others to explore different ways in which student member’s experiences may be enhanced in SWS.


How to Join the Student Concerns Committee

The Student Concerns Committee is open to any one interested in the committee’s goals and activities. To join you can sit in on a meeting during the Summer or Winter conference or contact the Student Representative directly. The Student Concerns Committee encourage more student involvement in SWS, through committee organized programs and projects conducted in conjunction with other SWS committees and task forces. Student Concerns Committee members can volunteer to serve as a liaison between this committee and other SWS committees and task forces or be elected to serve as a student representative to another SWS committee (depending upon a committee’s expressed needs).


Student Concerns Committee Activities

The Student Concerns Committee is beginning to start its own traditions within SWS. Student Happy Hours began at the Winter 2005 conference, it was a successful event where students could relax and enjoy the company of others. For the 2005 Summer conference, the Student Concerns Committee will continue this event and begin new programs including the Student-to-Student Mentor Program and co-sponsor Student Roundtable session with the Association of Black Sociologists.

The Student Concerns Committee, working with the Career Development Committee, now has a monthly “Hey Jane!” column. And all SWS members can review pertinent information regarding Student Concerns Committee and the Student Representative on the SCC webpage. The Student Concerns Committee encourages student’s input and suggestions, if you cannot attend a conference please contact the Student Representative directly to share your ideas.


Content Author

The content on this page was created by Marcia Hernandez when she was Student Representative in 2005. This report is a culmination of information from previous and current SWS Student Representatives, Nominations Chairs, Presidents and the Executive Officer. Thanks to everyone who shared their insight and wisdom for the report.