OPIRG McMaster – What You Need to Know About Our Board 

This FAQ page provides you with 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.

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.  Prospective Board members are potentially invited to attend a board meeting, orientation session, or other events. 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.

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 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. 

Board members serve one-year terms and can run for re-election each year. All board members must be elected through the election process as outlined in the OPIRG McMaster Constitution. Board Members may be appointed between elections to fill any vacancies.

We require a time commitment of up to five (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.

The primary responsibility of the Board member is to attend board meetings. Currently, the board meets on a bi-monthly (every two weeks) basis, with each meeting lasting approximately two 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 members are required to take responsibility for a portfolio. 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 board portfolio tasks.

Board portfolio assignments do not mean that you have to do all the work yourself.  But, you are committed to initiating programs, bringing new issues to the attention of 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 and Events 
  • Staff Liaison/Human Resources Representative 
  • Public Interest Projects and Volunteers 
  • Resource Centre 
  • Fundraising/Grants

Portfolios can be added as the need arises.

OPIRG McMaster Board members are encouraged to become liaisons that will build and strengthen 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 (SRA) Meetings Representative, The President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community (PACBIC) Representative, Graduate Student Association (GRA) Representative, Queer Students Community Centre Representative, and the Women and Gender Equity Network Representative.

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


Based on the needs of the board, specific training sessions will be organized to allow you to develop your skills. Some examples might be anti-racism/ anti-oppression, consensus decision making, financial accountability, non-profit board management etc. Your attendance is required.

AGM is short for Annual General Meeting. Attendance at an Annual General Meeting, which includes the presentation of the Public Interest Project Year-End Reports, approving audited statements and voting on the upcoming year’s budget and volunteer recognition, is expected of all board members. The AGM occurs each spring at the end of the school year.

It is a lot of work, but you have time to meet with and get to know your peers on the board and other OPIRG volunteers. Attendances at normally one or two social events per year where staff, friends of the organization and board members can network is encouraged.

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 issue area’ and developing new outcome measures and performance indicators. (Most likely during July or August). It is essential that you attend.