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OPIRG empowers students and community members to take action on diverse social justice and environmental issues.


If you are interested in moving our vision forward, visit the OPIRG office at MUSC 229 to learn about:

  • The role and responsibilities of a board of director
  • The nomination form and election process
  • Board training details

March 19 – March 26, 2019 – NOMINATION PERIOD

Contact Us: opirg@mcmaster.ca / 905-525-9140 ext. 27289 / MUSC 229

OPIRG McMaster – What You Need to Know About Our Board

Below is some basic information about what OPIRG McMaster requires from its Board members.  If you have doubts about your ability to commit the required time, attend scheduled meetings, or comply with these requirements, please advise us before submitting your name for consideration.

Term of Office

1 year term. All board members must be elected through the election process as outlined in the OPIRG McMaster Constitution. Board Members may be appointed between elections.

Time Requirements

We require a time commitment of up to 5 hours per week for board meetings, committee meetings, orientation sessions, and special events, including preparation time. We cannot do a good job or meet deadlines without full participation from members.

Board Meetings

The primary responsibility of the Board member is to attend board meetings. Currently the board meets on a weekly basis, with each meeting lasting approximately 2 hours. The Board meets less frequently in the summer. Board meetings are open to staff, volunteers and student and community members. The board also holds in camera meetings (in private, for board members only) on an ‘as needed basis.’

Board Portfolios

Board members are required to take the responsibility of a portfolio. The portfolios are a way to allocate the work of the Board between the different board members. It is recommended that deadlines be set at the beginning of the year to accomplish tasks. Board portfolio assignments does not mean that you have to do all the work yourself. But, you are committed to initiating programs, bringing new issues to the attention to the board and finding people willing to assume tasks under your portfolio.


Board Portfolios Include:

President/Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Provincial Representative, Policies and Procedures, Publicity, Staff Liaison/Human Resources Representative, Working Groups, Resource Centre, Anti-Harassment and Fundraising/Resources.


OPIRG McMaster Board members are also encouraged to become liaisons that will build networks throughout the University and Hamilton community. Liaisons are to provide mutual support to the partner organization by means of publicity, creative input and financial assistance as endorsed by the Board.

Examples of liaison positions are: Anti-Violence Network Representative, McMaster Community Poverty Initiative Representative, McMaster University Student Representative Assembly Meetings Representative, The President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community (PACBIC) Representative, Graduate Student Representative, Queer Students Community Centre Representative, and the Women and Gender Equity Network Representative.

Orientation Sessions

Each new board member will receive an orientation session.  This session may include but not be limited to:  consensus decision making, the collective agreement, Board roles and responsibilities, anti-oppression, conflict-resolution and anti-harassment/anti-discrimination.

Other Time Requirements

Annual General Meeting

We hold an Annual General Meeting which includes the presentation of the Working Group Action Reports, audited statements, upcoming year’s budget and volunteer recognition.

Social Events

We normally have one or two social events per year where staff, friends of the organization and board members can interact.


Based on the needs of the board, specific training sessions will be organized. Some examples might be anti-racism/ anti-oppression, consensus decision making, financial accountability, non-profit board management etc.

Board Retreat/Strategic Planning

We normally hold a retreat each year to review and update our strategic plan, goals and direction. The focus of the retreat is to create a stronger board infrastructure, moving the strategic plan forward, creating the years priority issues areas and developing new outcome measures and performance indicators. (Most likely during July or August)

Board Selection Process 

Board recruitment is through a call out advertisement on OPIRG McMaster, campus and community media. Either students or community members approach OPIRG Board members and/or Staff or OPIRG Board members and/or Staff identify prospective board members. These are individuals who have demonstrated leadership and commitment to values shared by OPIRG McMaster. Prospects are potentially invited to attend a board meeting, orientation session, or other event. They also receive this information package. If the prospective member wishes to proceed they send in a Nomination Form for election. If the recruitment is to fill a vacancy on the board, the candidate sends in a Nomination Form and may be appointed by the Board to serve what remains of the term.

Approach to Governance

Briefly stated, we believe that the Board’s role is to ensure that OPIRG establishes and maintains the trust of the community by being clear in its mission, prudent and ethical in its activities, and accountable for its actions. Our meetings focus on planning, supporting initiatives in accordance with our mission and vision, policy-making, and assessing our progress.

OPIRG McMaster’s Mission/Vision

OPIRG McMaster’s mission is to empower students and community in exchanging ideas and taking action on diverse social justice and environmental issues by connecting individuals, groups, organizations and resources.

Our vision is to engage, inspire and empower all to achieve positive change through grassroots initiatives.

Our values are consensus, environmental responsibility, anti-oppression, empowerment, creativity and innovation, and equity and inclusivity.

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