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Records and Minutes

Accurate records of the chapter's activities and membership is exceptionally helpful to incoming officers and the faculty representative as they evaluate the success of previous projects and activities.

Items that should be kept by the secretary include:
  • Minutes of all chapter meetings.
  • A current list of all current members and past members still at the school. The past members list can be a great source for membership recruitment.
  • Copies of correspondence sent to members and formal letters.
  • Records of activities and events the chapter has participated in, as well as a record of people attending the events.
Consider a binder to store the chapter information. Monthly tabs can organize meeting minutes and tabs can be created for specific projects and activities.

Minutes contain the details of all actions taken by the chapter during a meeting. The minutes serve as a reminder of finished and unfinished business, what needs follow-up and what actions were taken. It will also help future members understand the chapter's history.

The secretary should be present at all meetings. If he/she is unable to attend, a substitute person needs to be appointed. At the beginning of each meeting, the minutes of the previous meeting should be available to members for review and the secretary should move for approval of the minutes.

While the secretary does not need to document all the dialog in a meeting, the exact wording of every motion, the person introducing the motion and the action taken on the motion needs to be documented. If the motion is long or involved, the secretary may request the maker of the motion to put it into writing. It is often helpful for both the secretary and for members attending the meeting if the chair or the secretary summarizes decisions that are reached or the motion before the chapter votes.

If unsure, the secretary needs to signal the chair and ask questions regarding the subject being discussed. A secretary should not wait until the meeting has been adjourned to get clarification; individuals can lose their perspective, issues can become less important and one's memory can alter what actually occurred. Immediately after the meeting, the secretary should go over the notes while everything is still fresh, checking for the following information:
  • Type of meeting (executive, standing committee, etc.)
  • Date, time and place
  • List of attendees and those absent
  • Time of call to order
  • Approval and/or amendments to previous meeting minutes
  • Record of reports from standing and special committees
  • General matters
  • Record of proposals, resolutions, motions, seconding and a summary of the discussion; also record of vote
  • Time of adjournment
Once the minutes have been transcribed into draft form, they should be submitted to the chair for review and/or correction. Finally, once they are returned, they need to be prepared in a formal form—preferably agreed upon beforehand—for final approval at the next meeting. These minutes should be sent out to all members or posted within 3 or 4 days of the meeting. This allows members time to read the minutes for accuracy before the next meeting and while the previous meeting is still fresh in their minds.


Keeping Minutes and Records, University of Michigan, Student Activities and Leadership Office