By: Veronica Dulin, GenUN Campus Chapter Fellow, Northeast Region
My name is Veronica Dulin, and I am the GenUN Fellow for the Northeast Region. This is my second and last year as a Fellow as I graduated last December; it’s been a wonderful experience and now I’m writing this blogpost to recruit the next class of Fellows (applications are due April 16). You might be unsure exactly what a Fellow does or if you can do the job (which you can), so now I’m going to answer the most common questions I’ve been asked about being a GenUN Fellow.
What do you do?
The main responsibility of a GenUN Fellow is to advise and assist chapters in their region, as well as guide individuals who come forward and are interested in the starting a new chapter. It’s a job that requires a lot of problem solving and creativity. In your capacity as a Fellow, you’ll be fielding calls and emails from your chapter leaders asking for guidance on issues ranging from event planning to fundraising, from membership drives to advocacy efforts. You’ll be put in touch with potential leaders who are excited to found a new chapter, but not quite sure how to do it. More than anything, you’ll be a resource for chapters so that they can flourish and grow.
Here’s a list of my regular activities:
- Semester emails introducing myself to chapter leaders
- Monthly emails detailing UNA programs and opportunities to apply for
- Phone and Skype calls, as well as long emails and meetings, dealing with chapter issues. In the beginning of the semester, I probably had two or three appointments a week
- Reaching out to new leaders and assisting them with inaugurating their chapters
- Monthly phone calls with other GenUN Fellows and the Youth Coordinator
- Attending Members’ Day and Leadership Summit
- Special projects and initiatives like filming interviews or writing blog posts
What’s the time commitment?
The official time commitment is five to ten hours a week, and the great thing about being a GenUN Fellow is that the time frame is flexible. I’ve had weeks where I schedule a phone call a night, and weeks where I’ve set aside a block of time on Saturday to power through a project. Some weeks are busier than others, especially those in the beginning of the semester when you’re trying to get chapters off the ground, and the end of the semester when we start gathering end-of-year reports and meeting new leaders.
What are the qualifications?
We’ve had Fellows who just joined GenUN the year before their Fellowship, and we’ve had Fellows who are four-year veterans of the GenUN program. We are looking for leaders who are passionate about GenUN, capable of creative problem solving, and gifted communicators. You will be asked questions about fundraising, membership, advocacy, pretty much anything that goes into running a GenUN chapter- and you don’t have to know all the answers. You have a network of other Fellows as well as the leadership at UNA-USA that you can draw experience from, and you will undergo training beforehand. You don’t have to be the president of a chapter to apply, you should just be willing and able to learn, and committed to helping others do so.
Why should I want to be a Fellow?
Being a GenUN Fellow is a great way to gain experience in leadership, communications, and grassroots organizing. You will have a real impact by assisting young people trying to advocate for change in their community and their world. You are the link between chapters and UNA-USA, so you become well versed in both the on-the-ground going on in your chapters, but also the nationwide initiatives that UNA-USA undertakes. Not to mention you get the opportunity to travel to the Leadership Summit and Members’ Day!
If you have any questions about what it's like to be a Fellow, don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.