Leaders & Officers of ACS Student Communities

Particpation in the leadership of an ACS student chapter or GSO helps you develop essential skills that you will use throughout your career, like leadership, communication, teamwork, organization, and public speaking.

Leadership Roles

All ACS student groups are expected to have an executive committee comprised of a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. These officers must be ACS student members. How and when officers are elected may vary and should be documented in the group's bylaws.

Typical roles and responsibilities of ACS student chapters and GSO officers are outlined below.


  • Primary leader and public face of the chapter or GSO
  • Presides over regular meetings of the executive committee and membership
  • Appoints all committee chairs and committee members (typically, with approval of the other executive committee members)
  • Coordinates with faculty advisor(s), officers, and committees
  • Leads planning and monitors progress

Vice President

  • Assists the president in the direction and management of the chapter or GSO
  • Fills in when the president is unavailable
  • Helps oversee committees, leads special projects, serves as program chair


  • Keeps accurate and up-to-date records of meetings and activities
  • Maintains member and committee rosters
  • Manages the chapter or GSO's correspondence and calendar
  • Submits organized records to faculty advisor at the end of the year


  • Manages chapter or GSO's budget
  • Tracks all financial transactions
  • Communnicates regularly with the executive committee on the group's financial condition
  • Prepares annual financial report

Other officers

Individual chapters and GSOs are encouraged to create additional officer positions to address their own unique needs and interests. Adding positions enables more members to develop their leadership skills and relieves some of the burden on the other officers.

Officer positions created in the past include:

  • Public Relations. Marketing or Social Media Manager
  • Chief Coordinator, Event Chair/Manager, Logistics Officer
  • Design Officer, Graphic Artist
  • Outreach Coordinator, External Affairs
  • Research Officer
  • Technology or AV Officer
  • Human Resources or Recruitment/Retention Officer
  • Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior Representative

Leader Selection

  • Officers are usually elected annually via membership voting. The timing (beginning, middle, or end of the year), method (open or secret ballot; online or in-person voting), and any applicable campaign rules should be documented in your group's bylaws.
  • Committees are a great way to get more members involved in leadership and spread out the workload. Committees can be appointed or self-nominated. Standing committees usually handle ongoing business, such as group promotion or recruitment. Ad-hoc committees are formed as needed to address specific issues, such as planning an outreach event or end-of-year party.

Read "Passing the Chapter Officer Baton" in inChemistry for tips on smoothing officer transitions.

Leadership Skills Development

Since a lot of leadership skills are learned on-the-job, many groups have a "vice" or "elect" position, such as a president-elect. This allows future officers a chance to shadow a current officer for a term to learn the ropes.

ACS resources for developing leadership skils include:

  • Leadership Development courses: A suite of 12 online and in-person courses to build skills at every stage of leadership development
  • Leadership Davelopment Institute: A 3-day, in-person conference in January specifically for new ACS officers. Look for the ACS Student Leadership Award for a chance to have all travel expenses covered.
  • C&EN Career Tips: Articles on career skills, including effective leadership.

Student Community Toolkit

Successfully start and manage your student chapter or GSO with these resources. If you have any questions, email ACS Student Chapters at undergrad@acs.org, ACS International Student Chapters at isc@acs.org, or GSO at gso@acs.org.

Tips for Faculty Advisors

Faculty advisor responsibilities, tips for building a successful group, and other essential information

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