Timothy Soemali ’18 (accounting) is the founder and president of the Association of Indonesian Students (AIS), which seeks to increase awareness of the Indonesian community on campus and in Southern California. Soemali discusses the mission and activities of AIS, how students can get involved and tips for others who might be interested in starting clubs.
What is the mission and vision of AIS, and where do you see the club in the future?
California is a very culturally diverse state. We believe our culture is a platform for us to be impactful on campus. Our three main goals are spreading positivity, achievement and creativity. We encourage our members to have a positive attitude toward everyone and to be welcoming on campus. Our fundraisers are donated to real issues in the community or Indonesia, such as helping less fortunate children who live on the streets of Indonesian cities. We help our members perform well in school and work. We are always open to member feedback and creative ideas. I see the organization being one of the most impactful on campus, even considering our niche appeal as a cultural club.
What have been some of your events this spring semester and what are some upcoming opportunities to get involved?
We had our ayam geprek fundraiser, which is named after an Indonesian dish consisting of chicken, chili sauce with spices known as sambal, rice and vegetables. We received more than 80 orders from Irvine to Santa Monica. All proceeds will be used for larger Indonesian culture-related club events.
Our club has a presence at Discoverfest at the beginning of each semester, in which we offer subscriptions to our newsletter. We currently have 40 students signed up. If you want access now, feel free to contact us through @ais.csuf on Instagram.
What leadership and engagement opportunities does your club offer?
We strongly believe that our members are future leaders. We want them to be as involved in the organization as they can. Every semester, we have seven board members: president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, director of membership, director of strategy and director of marketing. We provide “associate” positions to new members, which provide practical experience in students’ areas of interest. For example, for someone who is interested in becoming the director of marketing, they can be the associate director of marketing.
What advice would you give to students interested in starting their own clubs?
For those who are thinking of founding their own clubs, my advice would be “just do it!” Do not overthink or over-plan. But also remember to be consistent. How well you can achieve your mission and vision will be determined by how consistently you put your time and effort into it. Also remember that conflicts will always arise. Always tailor the solution to the organization’s mission and vision, which will be the best solution for the club.
There are resources, such as the Business Inter-Club Council, that can help with the funding of student organizations. However, we take pride in having proactive members who are passionate about our culture and are willing to help where they are able to. Advice for those who are thinking of starting a new club includes finding people with a shared passion. When passion is combined with action, then something great can happen.
You had an assurance internship with EY in Jakarta in summer 2017. What did you gain from this experience?
In addition to the auditing skills that I learned, my internship this past summer definitely taught me the importance of good organizational structure, which results in an efficient organization. I also learned to never stop networking. Networking will expose you to more opportunities. It can even land you a job in another part of the world!