What are Working Groups?
Working Groups are groups of volunteers who choose to focus on a particular issue or set of issues.
The membership and specific goals of the working groups can vary with time in order to reflect the interests of the members and evolve with current events. It is also possible for volunteers to form new working groups in order to address new issues.
Working groups are essentially collectives – groups of people who voluntarily agree to work together on a common issue towards a common goal while sharing responsibilities and decision making equally.
Why OPIRG uses Working Groups
More impact – the power of a lot of people working together can create massive change in contrast to the actions of one individual.
More ideas, energy, and hope – It’s easier to keep working on issues against seemingly insurmountable odds when you’re doing it with like-minded people who are equally resilient.
More issues – Rather than the Board of Directors or Staff deciding what projects should be undertaken, working group participants decide what issues they would like to focus on.
Everyone becomes involved in social change because a particular issue touched their life – OPIRG isn’t here to designate your mission, just help you (and others) work on it. However, while you won’t be told what topic to work on, OPIRG has finite resources and can’t address every issue that participants bring forward.
More justice– This may be the most important reason. Our culture values self-preservation and competition, so naturally, hierarchy and domination prevail. Today power is concentrated in the hands of well-organized individuals and corporations who have extraordinary power to make decisions that affect all of our lives. The best way to begin to undermine that power and privilege (and encourage just communities) is for each of us to learn how to work on creating a culture based on equality and cooperation – beginning with our own working group.
What can you expect from OPIRG
- To be treated as a co-worker (and not just free help) with respect and consideration.
- To have the opportunity to experiment and to receive feedback in a supportive way.
- To be recognized for your knowledge, experience, and effort and receive a letter of reference if necessary
- To be appreciated and thanked personally
- To have money raised through you or your working group’s fundraising efforts dedicated to your project or working group.
Training: We offer anti-oppression, consensus-based decision making, and other training for all Working Groups. We also assist each group in learning how to facilitate meetings, take meeting minutes, etc
Financial Sponsorship: Approved working groups receive (modest) funding from OPIRG. We give about $100/semester in reimbursements as well as free access to our Green Dishes program.
Meeting Space and Resources: Working groups may use the OPIRG office or other spaces in Sadleir House for meetings. OPIRG has a photocopier, a button-maker, art supplies, silk screen maker and supplies, and many more resources that working groups can use either free or at cost.
Outreach: we share your information/events via social media, newsletters, our website, and directly with volunteers.
Connection and Partnership: We can connect your group to others across the province and are always happy to partner on projects and events.
For more information on how to apply as a working group, contact us! Staff and board members are here to assist you.
Why Join a Working Group?
One of the most common mistakes a working group makes is not thinking big enough. Working through OPIRG puts considerable resources at your disposal. You have experience, well connected staff to work with, a university campus full of faculty, students and facilities, and the credibility earned by an organization that has been at the forefront of environmental and social justice work since 1976. The resources are there, you just have to know how to use them.
Current Working Groups
Past Working Groups
- Animal Equity Society
- Anti-Colonial Action Alliance
- Anti-Racism Working Group
- Association of Autonomous Astronauts
- Canadians for Mining Awareness
- Dam Working Group
- Economic Justice Working Group
- End Immigration Detention Network
- Fair Trade Trent
- First Nations Solidarity Action Group
- Food Cupboard
- Forestry Working Group
- Globalization Action Group
- Green Dishes
- Guerrilla Gardening
- National Educational Association of Disabled Students
- No Sweat Program
- Nogojiwanong Aspiring Allies Action Group
- Peterborough Coalition for Palestinian Solidarity
- People for the Protection of Animals
- Peterborough Coalition Against Poverty
- Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network
- Radical Poster Collective
- Revolutionary Student Movement
- Student rights group, No-Code-of-Conduct
- Students for Ad Free Education
- Students Taking Action in Chiapas
- Sustainability and Fair Trade at Trent
- The Animal Collective Working Group
- Trent Feminist Book Club
- Trent Food Issues Group