Written By: Kaitlin Jasper
Kaitlin serves as the 2017-2018 Secretary of Marquette ASDA
Whether you are already involved in ASDA or just starting to get involved, it can be daunting trying to figure out exactly what your next steps should be to find your niche in the organization. If you are just getting started with ASDA, a great first step would be to get involved in a specific committee. At Marquette, there are 13 different committees to help you find what fits best with your interests and goals. Once involved in a committee, you may consider applying to lead that committee the following year in order to gain new leadership skills while achieving new goals and exploring new ideas.
On the other hand, you may want to build your leadership skills while working towards goals for the overall chapter at Marquette as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, or President. If you are elected to be Vice President, you will work with the President closely throughout the year, and you will automatically become the chapter President the following year. At Marquette, we look to elect a D2 Vice President each year who will then be a D3 as President and a D4 as immediate past President. This allows for a smooth transition each year between leadership so that our chapter can build upon itself with new goals and ideas while still maintaining its core foundation.
If you’ve got that ASDA fever and are looking to get involved even further, a great step up the ladder would be to become a delegate at the national level. In order to fully represent each dental school chapter, two students from each of the 66 schools in the U.S. are selected to be a part of the house of delegates. This house is the main legislative body of the organization. Together the 132 delegates ,as well as the Board of Trustees, the Speaker of the House, the executive director, and the Council Chairs meet once a year at Annual Session. At this meeting, the House of Delegates elects the new incoming officers of the organization and votes to implement policies and initiatives that represent dental students as one unified body.
If you are looking to represent a larger group of students beyond your chapter, your next step might be to run for District Trustee. There are 11 district trustees in ASDA, each representing a subset of schools in the United States. Marquette is a part of District 7, which is currently lead by District Trustee Sean Aiken. In this position, you would serve as the face of the Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette, Midwestern- Illinois, and Southern Illinois ASDA chapters. This involves maintaining communication between all of the chapters in your district and ASDA at the national level. In addition, you serve on a board with the other 10 trustees in ASDA to work with the ADA, implement membership outreach, represent ASDA in organized dentistry, and implement legislative initiatives.
Another way to get involved at the national level is to serve on one of the four national councils: Advocacy, Communications, Membership, and Professional Issues. The Council on Advocacy works on legislative initiatives that represent the values and interests of dental students as well as the dental profession. The Council on Communications focuses on the cohesiveness of the organization by keeping ASDA dental students informed through all different media platforms. The Council on Membership works to meet the needs of its current members and to further engage new dental students, pre-dental students, and international dental students. Finally, the Council on Professional Issues strives to guide dental students in a variety of topics such as community service, public health, diversity and inclusion, ethics, and interprofessional education.
The ultimate step in your leadership journey would be to apply to be on the executive committee of ASDA. This committee consists of the president, two vice presidents, and the executive director who is an ASDA staff member. This group serves as the face of the ASDA organization. The president is the chair of the Board of Trustees and the two vice presidents serve alongside as members of the board. Overall, this committee oversees the continuous development of the ASDA organization. Other roles at this level include the Speaker of the House, who conducts the House of Delegates meetings that aim to achieve new resolutions in the organization and the profession. The Editor in Chief is another role of interest that oversees the many publications of various dental topics the organization has to offer.
Wherever you are in your ASDA leadership path, I encourage you to strive to take that next step in your journey. This organization has a niche for everyone and is structured in a way that allows you to grow both personally and professionally as you develop your unique leadership style.
Contact Kaitlin at Kaitlin.Jasper@mu.edu