Cabinet and Governance

Student directors discuss community engagement at a Cabinet meeting.

PBHA’s governing body is its Cabinet, composed of the student directors of each program. As the heart of PBHA, Cabinet oversees the organization’s policies and bylaws, elects the student officers and Board of Trustees, and approves new programs to join the organization. Cabinet meets monthly, with program directors attending supplemental program group meetings to discuss and learn from common issues faced by student public service leaders within a specific area of programmatic expertise.

officers team 2014

Cabinet elects student officers to guide PBHA’s day-to-day operations.

The Officers Committee of Phillips Brooks House Association consists of up to 20 positions that are elected by the Cabinet at the end of each fall semester. Years ago, when PBHA was small and its program representatives could meet easily, the Cabinet made all governing decisions itself, without having to elect officers. As the Cabinet grew, a “Steering Committee” and student-only Board of Trustees was appointed to act as a board of officers. After the adaptation of the new by-laws the responsibilities of the Board of Trustees and Officer’s committee were divided. The Board is now charged with major disciplinary, policy, fiscal, and planning decisions. The officers are charged with more programmatic focus, dealing with day-to-day issues (training, program development, vehicles, Cabinet, etc.) and making recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees holds the legal and fiduciary responsibility of PBHA. It is elected by the Cabinet and usually includes 11 students, 10 non-students from the faculty, alumni/ae, human service community, and representatives of Harvard University. The President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Programming Chairs of the PBHA Officers Committee sit on the board ex officio. The Cabinet also elects other students who are members of the Officers Committee to the Board (Resource Development Chairs, Student Development Chair, SUP Programming Group Officer, Public Relations Chair, and Alumni Relations Coordinator). All student trustee tenures last for one year. The Assistant Dean for Public Service, the Associate Dean of Harvard College, and  the Dean of the College (or his designee) represent Harvard University and sit ex officio until they vacate their office. Other non-student Trustees are elected for three-year terms, once renewable. The PBHA Executive Director sits on the Board as a nonvoting member and receives guidance from this body.

The Board is the place for individuals representing all of the important constituencies of PBHA – students, the university, alumni/ae, and community members – to interact and share viewpoints in developing the organization. It is charged with carrying out long-term planning and management of the organization. This responsibility includes conducting capital fundraising, hiring staff, deciding major policy issues, and ratifying the organizational budget.

PBHA’s small professional staff supports the students and is ultimately responsible for the organization’s fiscal integrity, safety and liability, long-term community partnerships, and human resources. PBHA’s Executive Director is hired by the Board and works with the student president and vice president to set the long-term direction of the organization. The Deputy Director supports the overall programming of the organization along with the student programming chairs, and supervises the Directors of Programs (DoPs) and TREC. The four Directors of Programs coach student directors on program operations and development, and ensure that programs meet safety standards. PBHA’s Senior Development Coordinator, along with the Nonprofit Management Fellows, support the student resource development chairs to manage the organization’s fundraising and communication efforts. PBHA’s Financial Administrator and student treasurer oversee the organization’s budget and financial management. The Van Coordinator, along with the student vehicles and spaces coordinator, manages PBHA’s fleet of vans.