Chapter of the Year

The Chapter of the Year Award honors one university student organization for exceptional participation, strong leadership, community outreach and providing opportunities that utilize the talents of all their members. This competition also honors the Most Improved Student Chapter each year.

2014 Winners:

Chapter of the Year
Rutgers University

2nd Place
University of Wisconsin-Madison

3rd Place & Most Improved Chapter
The Ohio State University

Honorable Mention
Alabama A & M University
Oregon State University
University of California, Davis

How to be Chapter of the Year: The Inside Scoop

Erica Leigh Balmer
1998-99 President, North Carolina State Food Science Club
IFTSA Chapter of the Year for 1996, 1997, and 1999

What defines a Food Science Chapter of the Year?
Energy, Determination, People! These aspects drive an organization to succeed. Essentially, a student organization must combine such dynamics with the following characteristics:

1.Strong Leadership
Organizations need leaders who will motivate and empower their members. The leaders must be strong, focused, and flexible. Additionally, the philosophy of servant leadership enables leaders to maintain a solid focus on achieving goals and directing and organization while providing members with increased ownership and responsibility. Empower members to assume leadership roles and continue encouraging each other along the way. The best source of recognition is the support of one's peers.

2. Members of all Talents
Diversity brings with it a wealth of knowledge and experience. Encouraging all students to participate, regardless of their personal, academic, or professional backgrounds enables a chapter to expand its ability to develop exciting and creative programs. Identify those who may be hiding in the shadows and welcome them in. This includes undergraduate, graduate and international students. The more the merrier!

3. Positive Focus
An organization that continually wallows in negative issues risks becoming stagnant and unproductive. An interwoven attitude of positivity improves membership morale, reduces apathy, and makes the social and professional experiences much more fun!

4. Communication
Making members and non-members aware of the functions and services of the chapter will not only publicize the organization, but it may also entice individuals to participate more frequently. The more people know, the better prepared and the more excited they will be!

5. Attention to Detail
Keep accurate records of club events, publications, and programs. A comprehensive archive of information provides a fantastic reference for current and future officers and members. Additionally, it enables a chapter to stay on track when it comes to achieving goals and objectives. (HINT: This also makes filling out all those COY forms a heck of a lot easier!)

6. Fundraising
As is the case in most successful organizations, effective fundraising is required to meet the financial needs of the chapters programs. An added benefit to fundraising is the opportunity to market and promote the chapter within the department, university and community.

7. Networking
Building open and lasting relationships with university alumnae and industry representatives serves as the bridge from academia to industry. Involving them in chapter programs provides a well-rounded professional focus for students and the organization.

8. Supportive Faculty & Staff
There is no better cheering squad than a supportive faculty and staff. Find ways to include your professors, technicians, and administrators and invite them to participate! This valuable resource is often pushed aside in order to maintain a "student focus" within the organization. They have experience and knowledge to share, so by involving our closest supporters we are strengthening our ability to grow, and to succeed professionally.

9. Involvement in IFT and IFTSA
Our most comprehensive resource for support and leadership is IFT. By taking on positions of leadership and by participating in IFT and IFTSA sponsored activities and programs, we are not only fulfilling our purposes as student chapters, but we are also providing students with the opportunities to explore the field of Food Science and Technology beyond the classroom and beyond our respective universities.

10. Quality Programs
Most importantly, a student chapter must represent high quality academics, professionalism, and service. In order to attain Chapter of the Year status or to maintain a successful student organization, a chapter must focus not on awards and recognition, but on developing and sustaining excellent programs. This involves determining and providing for the needs of the members. Top notch programs often focus on personal and professional development, community contributions, and academic enhancement.

Chapters succeed when they are fully aware of their abilities to serve members and to contribute to the larger field of interest. By combining the described characteristics with the amazing skills and dynamics of people, an organization is not far from achieving Chapter of the Year status. The IFTSA is fortunate to have so many active and high quality student chapters. Each year, the Chapter of the Year Award serves as a representation of the many contributions of each IFTSA Chapter. We are a closely woven group that continues to grow and to serve. Collectively, we provide the training ground for the leaders of today and tomorrow! HAVE FUN & make the most of your opportunities!


May 1 at 11:59pm CST 

John Frelka
The Ohio State University

Competition Rules (PDF)
COY Template (xlsx)
IFTSA Competition Penalty Policy