When and how could the Coalition return to in-person meetings?
Discussion groups were silent on the first part of the question and jumped straight to what resumption of in-person meetings might look like. There was universal agreement that meeting weekly over zoom has increased and broadened participation in the coalition, and that this should remain our primary format. There was also broad agreement that in-person meetings should be resumed (along with continued weekly zoom meetings) on a monthly basis or less. Survey results were muddied by confusion over wording, and several expressed that they’d have voted differently had they better understood the options.
That said, opinion was divided between the following:
- Continue weekly meetings over zoom, with no return to in-person meetings.
- Continue with zoom, with one monthly zoom replaced by an in-person meeting.
- Continue meeting weekly over zoom, with one additional in-person meeting held monthly.
- Continue meeting over zoom, with an additional in person meeting held less frequently, perhaps quarterly or twice annually.
We may want to try another poll with the above four options. There was a good deal of concern about the idea of hybrid meetings, in that these tend to privilege those attending in-person with remote attendees relegated to a more passive role. Another concern was that the availability of remote participation would likely undermine in-person attendance.
Some representative comments:
- Rob does such an outstanding job of making the meetings run smoothly and gives us so much useful information that we just don’t want to give up what we have — it’s working.
- Those who have been at other hybrid meetings either did not have very positive experience or recognized the level of technology needed that we would have to get sponsorship for as we have no funds to invest in such technology.
- Continuing virtually ensures we are meeting safely and not putting folks at risk. While it is COVID now, could be something else in the future.
- In-person also requires travel which can be a barrier to those working or experiencing community challenges like the increase in gas prices.
- Break out rooms allow for efficient conversation and transitions to breakouts in person can take a bit of transition time.
- Location of in-person meetings could rotate so all can see where folks are doing work in community and allow for information sharing.
- Once-a-month meetup could offer resource sharing or service/volunteer activity.
- There were concerns that a social event would be less accessible based on location as well as being an additional timeslot.
- Meeting in person occasionally is beneficial, want to be sure people who are located far from the meeting site for in-person can take the time to travel to and from the meeting.
- Important point made about not being able to travel very often to in person events during the work day and like being able to dial in from the road (such as Richard’s adventure meant he joined us today from around Tillamook Oregon).
- Zoom meetings help when people have no childcare or limited childcare, people who are immune compromised or have loved ones with disabilities.
- A fifth in-person meeting may be focused on a specific topic, a goal of the comp plan, direct action, or social, etc.
- An idea for in-person that has been experienced is a half hour collaboration time before the meeting agenda starts.
Post-discussion poll on preferences on how to return to in-person meeting: