As part of the Students’ Association’s Mid-Year Report, student groups are required to fill out forms detailing any Programming, Publications, Activities and Collaborations (PPACs) they have had over the past year. This requirement is valuable to clubs, as it allows for self-reflection and encourages future planning, but the forms regrettably do not address the information that would be most beneficial to the organizations.
The SA is well-intentioned in requiring its clubs to fill out paperwork, such as the PPAC form, to monitor their activities and help them meet their goals. There is a definite need to have some degree of control and examination, not only for the benefit of the groups themselves, but also so that the SA can maintain its status as a professional governing body. However, as they stand, PPAC forms are not fulfilling their purpose.
In addition to a few straightforward questions about the basic details of each event — such as the time, date, attendance and cost to the club — the form asks groups to answer four questions in a minimum of three sentences each. They inquire as to what was successful about the event, what problems the group encountered, what last minute adjustments had to be made and whether or not the organization will be holding the event again in the future.
These questions focus too much on how the group feels about the event, rather than on what actually happened at it. The responses can be easily skewed to make a club look good, which not only defeats the purpose of the form, but also does not give the SA an accurate representation of the organization. Meanwhile, the three sentence minimum requirement puts pressure on groups to fill the forms with fluff, even if they don’t have anything more to say.
In order to make this form more effective, the SA should consider asking groups to describe the events in more detail, rather than just reflecting on them, so that these organizations can better assess the actual content of their activities and how they were conducted. This is an adjustment that would not only benefit the clubs, but hopefully the SA as well.