Both Student Pugwash and the Rotblat Society operate as decentralized networks of volunteers. Nearly all of our programs are proposed, organized, and run by self-selected individuals, chartered project teams, and ad hoc groups in our networks. Student Pugwash USA management acts more as intermediaries to help our organizers be successful, rather than dictating direction or setting programs in stone. The Board primarily ensures that our programs stay true to the Pugwash mission, and to provide guidance on coloring inside the lines of our 501(c)3 nonprofit status. The Board may set broad agendas and promote its own programs amongst the two memberships, but those are in parallel with the interests and directions coming from grassroots membership, not directive to them.
Our chapters can be formally recognized by an institution, or simply be informal groups. By and large, chapters are autonomous in the activities they run for their own members and the local community. We ask chapters to keep us apprised of their activities, and will step in when a topic or issue is off-mission, but so long as an event is "sufficiently Pugwash" there is no need for a chapter to ask permission before organizing an event. Each chapter follows its own interests, develops its own character, and is as active as its members wish it to be.
Any member can organize a new chapter, or propose a program for the wider Pugwash community or a subset of it. This can come from a single member fired up by an idea, or a group making a joint proposal. If the proposal is accepted, we'll work with you to make the program successful, connecting you with resources inside and outside our networks.
Just as importantly, there are many things we do that we do not organize. When another organization runs a program or holds an event that could have been one of ours, we promote it to our membership and encourage them to get involved there. Too often, nonprofit and student organizations see themselves in competition with each other for people's time, attention, and resources. We consider outside activities that are on mission for Pugwash to be partners in our work, and we want our members to be active with other groups both to broaden the range of the activities we provide, as well as to expose outside people to our membership—who are the best calling card we have for joining us. When an organization's ongoing activities frequently dovetail with our own, we form an ongoing Alliance to make sure both organizations are kept informed about each other's activities—and yes, we rely on our members to propose these Alliances.
Finally, the Board and other management arms of Student Pugwash USA are members themselves. Those wishing to be involved as managers and leaders can stand for Board election, become officers on committees, or take point within chapters and other internal groups. Our goal is to provide the map for every member to be as active within Pugwash as they wish to be: to participate, to organize, and to lead.