ACUI to manage sister higher education association

On June 16, 2008, the ACUI Board of Trustees voted unanimously that ACUI would provide management services for the Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA), a sister association in higher education.

“The trend of associations seeking non-dues revenue has existed for years, but I never thought that ACUI would be in a position to manage another association,” said ACUI Executive Director Marsha Herman-Betzen. “CSHEMA coming to us was initially flattering, and then we started to see from the business plan that it made good financial sense and was doable.”

CSHEMA asked ACUI to consider providing management services, and the organizations both agreed to a three-year contract beginning Sept. 1, 2008. As a result of this relationship, ACUI will hire five additional Central Office staff to manage ACUI and CSHEMA operations.

“Rather than choosing an association management company, we are thrilled about the ACUI staff’s level of expertise, the standard of quality that ACUI maintains for its members, and the opportunity we have to be mentored by a fellow higher education association,” said Cheri Hildreth, University of Louisville, president of the CSHEMA Board of Directors.

Because additional staff are being hired to manage CSHEMA, neither the ACUI staff’s nor ACUI executive director’s time will be taken from ACUI programs and services. CSHEMA’s scope of business is similar to what ACUI’s was 40 years ago. It has fewer financial transactions, members, and services, allowing ACUI also to implement some of its existing systems and planning tools to manage CSHEMA.

CSHEMA has no existing staff, so until recently the burden of managing operations had been placed on CSHEMA volunteers. This agreement enables CSHEMA as an organization to receive management expertise from association professionals who understand higher education and can ensure CSHEMA services and accounts are managed appropriately, efficiently, and consistently.

“When this opportunity first presented itself, its revenue potential made it something we certainly needed to consider, but it was never a slam-dunk,” said ACUI President Rich Steele, Georgia Institute of Technology. “Both the staff and Board of Trustees have engaged in philosophical discussions, outlined a detailed business plan, reviewed financial statements and projections, consulted lawyers, accountants, association research, and governing documents. Ultimately, I can say with confidence that this is a smart business decision.”

In addition to possible savings from co-locating educational programs, ACUI members might receive an ancillary benefit from CSHEMA members’ expertise in disciplines such as emergency preparedness, risk management, and sustainability. Conversely, CSHEMA members could benefit from ACUI members’ expertise in disciplines such as student learning, communication, and presentation.

But most importantly, through this agreement, not only will ACUI remain committed to its members and its primary mission, but ACUI will broaden its financial health. This is one of the first viable options for non-dues revenue since the ACUI Procure group buying consortium was created in 2001 and grew into the successful program it is today.

“ACUI has convened several task forces with the goal of seeking out non-dues revenue sources,” said former ACUI President Bob Mindrum, Purdue University. “Unfortunately, none of these groups has been able to identify ideas that ACUI has not already explored. I am energized about the possibility inherent in this agreement with CSHEMA and am confident the staff and leadership have done due diligence to ensure this will yield tremendous benefits to ACUI.”

If you have questions about ACUI”s agreement to manage the Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association, please review the frequently asked questions  or contact Zack Wahlquist, ACUI director of member services, at

Additionally, ACUI will hold a Town Hall Meeting on the CSHEMA agreement Monday, June 23, at 1 p.m. Eastern.


Association of College Unions International
Founded in 1914, ACUI is a nonprofit educational organization that brings together college union and student activities professionals from hundreds of schools in seven countries. Its members work on urban and rural campuses, in two-year and four-year institutions, and at large and small schools. They are students and administrators whose mission is to build campus community. ACUI enriches them all through education, advocacy, and the delivery of services.

Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association
Founded in 1954, CSHEMA provides information sharing opportunities, continuing education, and professional fellowship to people with environmental health and safety responsibilities in the education and research communities. CSHEMA members are campus professionals working in such areas as emergency preparedness, hazardous waste management, laboratory safety, risk management, radiation protection, sustainability, and biosafety.  


Updated June 17, 2008