Regional Coordinator Responsibilities
The Haiku Society of America’s bylaws allow for up to fifty regional coordinators, one for each state in the country (countries outside the United States are not represented by regions or coordinators). Some states have small numbers of HSA members, so those states have been combined into larger regions in distinct geographic areas, with the exception of the West Coast regions such as Washington, Oregon, and California. The regions of Hawaii and Alaska, although very small in membership numbers, also choose to be separate HSA regions because of strong geographical differences. For each of its regions, the HSA elects a regional coordinator who serves to promote haiku and the Haiku Society of America in that region, among both members and nonmembers. It is a duty of the first vice president of the HSA to coordinate regional coordinators, and to serve as primary liaison between the HSA executive committee and all regional coordinators.
Expectations and Responsibilities of Regional Coordinators
Regional coordinators serve as ambassadors for haiku and the Haiku Society of America in their regions. Here are the general expectations and responsibilities for regional coordinators:
1. Organize haiku-related events and activities for HSA members in the region. Events are not required, because of geographical challenges within each region and other factors, but are highly encouraged. (In the case of regions where independent local groups already have regular events, such as California, regional coordinators may organize additional events, but less need exists for this to happen.) Regional events and activities may include meetings, contests, performances, anthologies, Web sites, online discussion lists, public art projects, retreats, and more. We encourage regional coordinators to take the initiative to instigate activities such as these as much as they can.
2. Maintain a contact list of all HSA members and other people interested in haiku in your region (names, addresses, and e-mail addresses). The annual HSA directory plus membership updates that appear in the newsletter are a starting point for this contact list. If you need it in electronic form, please ask for HSA membership data for your region from the HSA secretary.
3. Serve as a central conduit to share haiku-related information from the HSA with people in the region (not just to members, and not necessarily just to haiku poets).
4. Provide timely announcements and reports of haiku-related activities in your region to the HSA newsletter editor and/or webmaster. These reports should summarize past events (for the historical record) as well as announce future events. Events include readings, performances, meetings, workshops, contests, publication news, and other activities related to haiku poetry, whether by HSA members or not. You may delegate the writing of these reports to other members in your region. The length and other submission requirements for reports and announcements are stipulated by the newsletter editor.
5. Promote the Haiku Society of America and build membership throughout the region. Promotion and activity is beneficial not only for the sake of members, but to attract new members. Activities that engage haiku poets in the larger poetry community are highly encouraged, such as at public reading series, and through universities and colleges, state poetry organizations, and other poetry-related entities.
6. Provide content updates for the region’s Web page on the HSA Web site. This includes providing your bio, a digital photo, sample poems, and contact information, and updating a brief prose description of typical haiku activities (by the HSA and by independent entities) in your region.
7. Plan and organize a national quarterly meeting of the Haiku Society of America if one is scheduled in your region (usually arranged by the HSA president late in the year for the year ahead). The organization of national quarterly meetings may be delegated, but regional coordinators typically take responsibility for planning and organizing the national quarterly meetings in their area, working with the president and other officers to arrange certain details.
8. Transfer data and knowledge about your region’s events and activities to your successor when your term as regional coordinator ends. Please also strive to cultivate a successor before your term of service ends.
Some regional coordinators publish a newsletter or journal for their region (as with The Nor’easter in the Northeast region); this is an option, and not required. Other regions have a tradition of producing print anthologies, such as those published by the Washington and Southwest regions. If you do this or other activities that require funding, such funding must come directly from members in your region. Certain expenses related to your duties or for special needs may be reimbursable. Please contact the treasurer for clarification, preferably before you incur such expenses.
If your region has a bank account, or would like to establish one, please contact the treasurer for guidance. Cash donations to HSA regions typically qualify for tax-deduction benefits if sent to the treasurer (who returns the money to the relevant region after it is processed as a donation to the HSA).
Regional coordinators have no obligation to attend the national quarterly meetings, but of course are welcome and encouraged to do so.
Prepared by Michael Dylan Welch, HSA first vice president, January 2010