Trustee Week

We are very proud of our Trustees and as such we are celebrating Trustee Week...
We are very proud of our Trustees and as such we are celebrating Trustee Week.

Trustees are the people in charge of a charity. Our Trustees are also Directors as we are a registered company as well as being a charity. They are the people with ultimate responsibility for directing the business of the charity. They are often the unsung heroes, playing a vital role, volunteering their time, working together to make the decisions that really matter about the charity's finances, activities and plans for the future.

People often become trustees to 'give something back', but there is a two-way benefit; charities benefit from the range of skills and experience that their trustees bring, but trustees can learn and develop new skills that may open up new opportunities for them, as well as meeting people who share their passion.

Trustees’ Week 2011 is the second annual celebration of trusteeship, to highlight the great work that trustees do, and to draw attention to the opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a real difference.

To highlight the work that our Trustee's do for us and our Members we have two Trustee Diaries:

Harriet Sjerps-Jones is a Director and Trustee of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and a Sustainability Curriculum Development Manager at the University of Exeter. Harriet sits on the People and Performance Sub-Committee. Harriet also has the role of Chair of the Member Advisory Council (MAC), which is made up from elected Educational and Company Members and Strategic Partners.

Harriet says:

“As a Curriculum Manager I saw the EAUC as the leader in promoting sustainability through campus and curriculum. Although campus activities had been well developed, the EAUC could do more in the area of education for sustainability. I attend the quarterly Board meetings which are held mostly via video conference and the People & Performance Sub-Committee meetings which are held via telephone conference. It is great to see that the EAUC holds such important meetings virtually and proves that you can keep travel to a minimum whilst still running an organisation.

Being involved in the MAC is an excellent way to ensure the organisation listens to it's members and stakeholders and responds to their needs. It is vital that the EAUC gets into as many institutions and colleagues within each institution to truly embed sustainability across the sector.

I also represent the EAUC at the Higher Education Academy Sustainable Development Advisory Group. Being involved in this group enables me to not only ensure that the EAUC and our Members are being represented in this area but also enhances my career and my institution through networking and contacts that may not be so easily got without the role of Trustee.

I am currently leading the Rio+20 consultation which is an important lobbying role of the EAUC, both nationally and internationally.

The experience of providing strategic input into such an organisation is invaluable and provides many learning experiences along the way. The networking opportunities that you receive as being a Trustee of the EAUC, not just within my own circle of familiarity, helps broaden my view of sustainability but also governance in general within and outside of the sector. There are many challenges that face you as a Trustee but it is certainly worth it!"

Fraser Lovie is a Director and Trustee of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and a Policy Adviser at the University of Aberdeen. Unlike most EAUC Trustees, Fraser’s role is ex-officio and comes as part of his package of duties as the Convener of the EAUC’s Scotland Branch, a membership forum for Scottish colleagues interested in the strategic aspects of sustainability and social responsibility.

Fraser says:

“As a Policy Adviser and user of EAUC services, I saw the EAUC as a vital part of the sector’s development of a confident approach to the various strands of sustainability. I was, therefore, delighted to be approached to become Scotland Convener and, by extension, a full Trustee. As a Trustee I attend quarterly meetings at which we discuss organisational strategy, consider current risks and examine the financial health of the organisation. As an organisation with a considerable portfolio of member products and services, we also help provide a strategic context for the EAUC’s product ‘offer’.

One of the most exciting aspects of my role has been involvement in the development of an international strategy for the EAUC, with the Scotland Branch at the vanguard of building links with our sister organisations in Australasia (ACTS) and North America (AASHE). Those links are now well established at a UK level and will, in the coming years, see the global HE and FE sectors develop a unified voice in lobbying on sustainability issues. The forthcoming Rio +20 process offers a first opportunity to collaborate in this way.

Alongside full Board and Scotland Branch activity, I’ve also become involved in the EAUC’s ‘People & Performance’ sub-committee, a group of Trustees tasked to look at Trustee succession planning, CEO remuneration and related issues. With my policy background many of these are activities with which I was unfamiliar, and this has undoubtedly broadened my appreciation of the intricacies of running an organisation. The experience of serving as a Trustee has been thoroughly rewarding. Whether it be the camaraderie of the Trustee team, the nitty-gritty of robust discussion of critical strategic issues, the joys of video-conferencing or the much more sociable strategy away-days and participation in the EAUC’s annual conference – the latter thee highlight of every member’s year – it is an experience that I can thoroughly recommend”.

The Charity Commission is organising Trustees’ Week 2011 in partnership with Charity Trustee Network, recently merged with the Small Charities Coalition, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), Reach Volunteering, Getting on Board, ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales), CFDG (Charity Finance Directors' Group), Governance magazine, School Governor's One-Stop Shop and the National Unions of Students (NUS).

Click here to find out more about Trustee Week.

Delivered by EAUC