ADI is best thought of as an umbrella organization, hosting many different initiatives and programs that all run mostly independently. Each initiative is spearheaded by our committee members, with substantial assistance from interested general body members. We're proud of how decentralized we keep our initiatives -- we want anyone to be able to come in with new ideas without having to ask for permission -- and this reflects itself in our rather flat organizational structure.
Although ADI does not have a formal general body, we welcome anybody who comes to our events to consider themselves part of ADI.
The experience of a general body member can be quite varied. Some people come to many of our events throughout the year, while others only participate in a single program.
Interested general body members should feel free to reach out about helping run any of our initiatives! We have a long history of general body members helping with many of our programs, from labs to mentorship, and we always appreciate the help!
The bulk of ADI's initiatives are organized by our committee members. Our committee members are given lots of leeway to run their initiatives (and to start new ones!). Committee members are free to run their initiatives with minimal oversight.
Committee members are also encouraged to start new initiatives! In general, committee members should feel free to organize events without asking permission, unless it requires either ADI financial support or a long-term investment from other committee members.
In general, committee members should be organizing (or helping to organize) at least one project throughout the semester. That can either be a recurring program (e.g. mentorship or labs), or by organizing one-off events regularly (e.g. workshops or professor lunches). Although we like to keep things flexible, the general rule of thumb is that you should be actively organizing something once every two weeks.
Along with the autonomy, committee members also have several responsibilities to promote the overall club:
- Attend our mandatory committee meetings from 6-7 pm every Sunday. If
you can't make a meeting, please let the leads know at least 24
hours in advance (unless it's an emergency). You are allowed 2
unexcused absences a semester.
- Things that are unexcused include (but aren't limited to) you forgot, have too much homework, or you have exams coming up. Reasons that we'll accept include being sick, having an emergency, having family or close friends visiting, or attending a hackathon, conference, or other professional/learning opportunity (e.g. YHacks, NIPS, etc).
- Help out with DevFest, for the entire week. DevFest is the largest and most involved event that we run, and we need everyone to be helping as much as they can to make it work.
We generally have several other "all-hands-on-deck" events throughout the year (e.g. "welcome to ADI" or our Startup Career Fair). Although these are not strictly mandatory like DevFest is, these are also giant undertakings that need everyone's help.
While we do not have minimum time requirements where you must work on ADI, it's hard for us to imagine fulfilling committee responsibilities with fewer than 3-4 hours a week (with some weeks like DevFest requiring much more time).
Committee is led by the "leads", who are responsible for managing all the different initiatives and ensuring that ADI is best fulfilling our mission.
There are a total of 7 leads positions, although sometimes the same person can fulfill multiple positions when necessary. Five of the positions are "pillar" leads, all of whom focus on different aspects of our mission. These leads are responsible for coordinating across initiatives, checking in with individual initiatives, and providing support to make our programs successful. The five pillars are:
- Internal -- initiatives to strengthen our internal committee community.
- Community -- initiatives to strengthen the Columbia tech community.
- Outreach -- initiatives interfacing with the non-Columbia tech world.
- DevFest -- initiatives involving DevFest, our annual hackathon.
- Education -- initiatives to inform and educate the Columbia tech community.
We also have two executive leads, who handle our finances, run committee meetings, interface with Columbia's administration, and think about ADI as a whole (rather than the individual pillars).
The leads are also all responsible for:
- Meeting weekly from 5 - 6 pm on Sundays (directly before our committee meetings) to discuss ADI.
- Doing regular one-on-one with committee members and making sure all committee members are productive and supported.
- Mentoring other committee members to ensure the continuity of ADI.
Leads are chosen after an open application to all committee members, and generally serve 2-3 semester terms.
After DevFest, second semester seniors on committee can choose to become senior advisors. As a senior advisor, you can choose to meet with at least one person you don't know well every two weeks instead of organizing an initiative (you are still required to come to committee meetings). Although we hope that you’ll transmit some of your senior wisdom, it’s also a good opportunity to just meet new people and bond with the community in your last semester at Columbia.
Generally, any initiative-specific decision should be made by the relevant committee members (e.g. what room to book). Minor coordination points between initiatives, like making sure schedules don't conflict, should also be worked out between relevant committee members.
Major decisions affecting the entire club are made by the leads, after a deliberation process involving the entire committee:
- The leads will internally discuss and come to a consensus about their preferred way forward.
- At committee meeting (or through email), the leads will explain their proposal and their rationale.
- That will kick off a one-week commenting period, where any committee member can come to leads (private or publicly, individually or as a group) with feedback on the proposed decisions. The leads are required to respond to any and all feedback before making a final decision (even if the feedback does not change their decision).
- If there are no significant changes necessary , the leads will announce their final decision. Otherwise, leads will announce their new proposal and there will be another commenting period.
We believe that centralizing the ultimate decision making power in leads will be significantly less cumbersome and involve much less office politics than a committee-wide vote, while still allowing all committee members to be heard.
Examples of the types of decisions that will follow this process include:
- Selecting the new leads, after an open application process within committee
- Issuing statements about events on campus or in the world
- Changing club policy (e.g. adding or removing committee responsibilities).