The changes ACM FEUP needed to grow

January 20, 2024 | acmfeup

Table of Contents

  • The changes

    • Our team structure
    • The environment
    • Our lema
  • What are we preparing for the next semester?

After being part of the founding team of ACM FEUP on the beginning of last year and work as Head of Marketing for some months, I believed that I had something to give to the ACM FEUP Student Chapter and decided to create a list with people I trust to give a new direction to the chapter.

After the elections, our list won and we started to list everything that didn’t work on the previous year.

One of the most important things we had to work on was the team environment and structure. Our members weren’t feeling the freedom to express their ideas and be creative, and the organization of the chapter simply couldn’t escalate to a bigger and more diverse work team.

Additionally, there was a huge misunderstanding of what our chapter did and what was our goal.

Finally, the process of becoming a part of our community was too complex and the communication wasn’t working as well as we wanted.

Therefore, this last semester, we had a lot of things to change!

The changes

Our team structure

As of September, the chapter was overly dependent on the Direction for any activity or event.

Small decisions that were not relevant in the long view of the chapter were usually brought to direction meetings, there were no meetings with the whole work team (probably to hide problems in the various departments) and there was a huge secrecy about what the long-term goals of the chapter were.

In simple words, our chapter was not adapted to develop software, coordinate activities for its community and have interest groups that focus on special topics and organize workshops and talks!

So, we decided it was time to redesign!

I will even reference myself, using the text I wrote on the goals of our new direction, which was delivered to our teachers and partners:


The direction should guarantee that the student chapter is working in the right direction and that the values of the chapter are being respected.

The direction will be reduced to four members: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer. We believe this will ease the process of decision in the chapter.

Creative Department

The Creative Department is a new department that will be responsible for content creation (inc. writing, recording,..), edition of the content and website and software development. This will facilitate the work on projects such as the “ACM Crash Course” and enable work with companies

Events Department

The Events department will need a redesign of its way of working. The current design is not efficient nor scalable. We believe that two heads of events that distribute the organization of events to different members is a better solution.

This way, we can distribute responsibilities and ensure that our team members feel their voice is heard.

Groups Department

To connect with our huge and diverse community, there is a need to create a Groups Department that will have leaders for some of the areas that the community is most interested about. 

The group leaders will be able to easily get in touch with people that are interested in a certain area of computation and invite them to events they feel their members are interested, along other things. The leaders should also listen to the ideas of their members. We see these groups as equivalents to “MeetUp Groups”. Usually, these leaders will not be responsible for the organization of events, except for minor meetings, trainings or pre-events meetings.

The “Competitive Programming Department” present in the past direction will be merged to this department. This way, the members of this previous department will become leaders of the group called “Competitive Programming”. We believe that monthly presencial meetings and weekly challenges through our website are a good way of communicating with the people interested in this group. If the opportunity comes, the most active members of that group will be selected to create a team to participate in competitions.

Marketing Department

The marketing department will be responsible for the advertisement of the content and events that are organized and developed by the other departments.

Other teams

Human Resources Team

This small team should work in cooperation with the direction to guarantee that members of our Student Chapter feel happy and satisfied in the chapter and that conflicts due to bad communication do not arise.

Partnerships Responsible

The individuals responsible for partnerships should work in collaboration with FEUP to guarantee that partnerships that the Chapter is doing are according to FEUP’s regulations. They should also help to find partnerships for financial help.

It’s important to note that we are still trying out. There is still some overlap between events and groups that needs to be well polished to guarantee fluid mechanics of the chapter.

The environment

Most of conflicts that arise in groups are due to bad communication, so we decided to avoid these kinds of problems by investing in actions, such as:

  • Monthly Meetings with the whole team
  • Fostering of conversations between team members of different departments and groups
  • Numerous activities for team-building
  • Change of our communication channel to Microsoft Teams, which is embedded in the university account. This change also made it extremely easy and fast to organize and share files, tasks and emails.
  • More personal touch on the process of recruitment

Additionally, we are very open with everything that is happening on the chapter to all our team members.

Our lema

We decided that we needed to distinguish ourselves from all the other student chapters at FEUP.

One of the things we noticed was that students wanted to really understand some topics that are not taught in lessons. However, the events by other chapters usually only allowed a brief understanding of the topic, due to limited duration and lack of “follow up” events.

Therefore, we saw the opportunity for our Groups Department! Our groups are based on the idea of continuity and technical evolution across multiple workshops, events and activities! And, this also meant that individuals that participate can find a community in which they fit in naturally!

With this in mind, these are some statements that represent our mission and our goals:

  • Creating events about topics you love!
  • Joining you with other extraordinary minds that also love to learn!
  • Flourishing minds one event at a time.
  • Driving you closer to the tech fields you love!
  • Feeding your curiosity for that niche field you think no-one cares.

What are we preparing for the next semester?

The biggest obstacle to growth this last semester was the lack of people in the chapter. We started our mandate with 2 people coming from the previous mandate.

Thankfully, the 12 colleagues I had invited supported this stage of the chapter like a charm, organizing truly challenging events and workshops and making it possible for our chapter to grow to 24 people immersed in different projects and events!

This means that we have enough brains to start releasing better software, organize bigger events, write more content, start contacting companies and, obviously, recruit more talented knowledge-hungry brains!

We are extremely excited with what’s coming for this new semester!

Profile picture of Filipe Correia

Written by Filipe Correia

Filipe Correia is a student of Informatics and Computing Engineering at the University of Porto. Additionally, he is also a writer, a photographer and a speaker. His interests range from technology, psychology and philosophy to the environment.

Send A Comment