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How to Organize a UAN Chapter

UAN logo smallWelcome to ASBMB’s Undergraduate Affiliate Network!
Congratulations on starting your ASBMB UAN chapter! Your chapter is part of an expanding network of over 1000 students and faculty across the United States. Now that you’ve got your chapter started, you might be wondering what’s next. These guidelines will help you organize and run your UAN chapter at its full potential.

You’ve got a UAN chapter. Now what?
Each UAN chapter is unique to its school and students, but all UANs are geared to advance your research and provide opportunities for public outreach. Here are some basic steps you can take to figure out what you want to accomplish with your UAN.

  • Figure out the goals of your chapter:
  • Make a checklist of goals for each semester
  • Brainstorm a game plan
  • Participate in a poster competition, find science fairs close by, and tutor students at local middle schools and high schools
  • Set up fundraisers or petitions to gain support for achieving your goals
  • Starting with ambitious goals might get you down if they don’t work right away. Try a small project first to prepare yourself for the big goal. 
Be realistic:
  • Figure out what your chapter can achieve with what it has
  • If you’ve got a small chapter, plan your projects carefully. Pick projects that can be divided among your chapter members without anyone feeling overwhelmed

Business professional or casual?

  • Your chapter can be whatever you want it to be! A networking hub to set students on their way to careers. Not what you were thinking? How about a casual club to bring like-minded people together over science?
  • If your goal is to share your projects with other scientists, you can contact another UAN chapter to share ideas.

How to organize your chapter
Every ship has to have a captain. Organize some chapter leaders to share responsibilities:

  • A chapter president can plan and schedule regular meetings
  • One person to keep track of deadlines and meetings
  • Someone to recruit new members
  • One person as treasurer
  • Every UAN chapter receives a poster of their membership. Hang it proudly in your science building to spread the word to potential members.
  • Feeling overwhelmed trying to balance classes, lab, and homework with your life? Try to plan for a lighter meeting schedule around exam time to give your members a bit of a break.

Planning for Meetings and Award Opportunities 

  • Learn how to apply for any of our award opportunities on our website:
  • Outstanding Chapter Award (deadline: March 15, 2014)
  • Regional Meeting Award (applications accepted on a rolling basis)
  • Science Fair Award (applications accepted on a rolling basis)
  • UAN Travel Award (deadline: Jan. 31, 2014)
  • Undergraduate Research Award (deadline: May 18, 2014)
  • High School Scholarship Award (applications accepted on a rolling basis)
  • High School Research Award (applications accepted on a rolling basis)

Funding for Outreach and How to Apply
Do want to participate in science outreach opportunities but aren’t sure how? The ASBMB Public Outreach program can help. Go to to learn more. 

  • Find listings of outreach opportunities
  • Read how to start up your own outreach efforts
  • Get funding for your UAN outreach efforts
  • The UAN Outreach grant provides chapters with up to $500 to help you get your outreach efforts started

Communicating Science
Science is important for helping societies develop and prepare for the future. As scientists, getting the word out is one of your biggest jobs. We make sharing your ideas and research easy. 

  • Contribute blogs to the The Substrate, the UAN monthly blog
  • Write articles for Enzymatic, the UAN’s seasonal newsletter
  • Find out what other scientists are talking about through your chapter’s free online subscriptions to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, and the Journal of Lipid Research

Passing the Torch
Are your chapter leaders graduating? This can be a chance to reevaluate your chapter and make some new goals

  • Pass on your enthusiasm, not just the details. Remind newer members why the chapter got started in the first place. 
  • Write up a list of responsibilities for the new leaders. 
  • If your chapter’s leaders are all graduating in May, let the new leaders take over in January of that same year. That way, they can get comfortable with their new roles before the past leaders leave. It’ll make for a smoother, easier transition

 If you have any questions in how to set up a UAN chapter or need help organizing outreach, contact us at