Working Groups Policy
OPIRG Peterborough works to create and sustain community engagement with social and environmental justice issues through action, research and education. One key way in which OPIRG Peterborough strives to meet this objective is through on-going support for the creation and maintenance of ‘working groups’. These groups, which form from the self-guided interests of the Trent and Peterborough communities, foster action and awareness around specific social and environmental justice issues.
- Working Group Application Process
1.1 – Membership
Members of working groups are encouraged to also be members of OPIRG Peterborough. An OPIRG member is anyone who has paid the membership fee. Full-time Trent University students pay this fee through student levies each year, except in cases where an individual has personally withdrawn from it. OPIRG membership is open to the community as well, as anyone can pay the fee at the OPIRG office.
To establish an official OPIRG working group, an application package (available at the OPIRG office) must be submitted to the Board of Directors. The application package involves a short written proposal which must include:
- A group title
- A mission statement
- A group description
- which goals and issues the group will be focusing on
- reasons for applying for working group status within OPIRG
- An informal action plan
- how the group will contribute to OPIRG’s goals and follow its mission statement
- how it plans to involve (and be accessible to) members of the Trent and Peterborough communities
- A designated contact person (not necessarily a group leader)
- The signatures of at least 3 committed group members
Submitted proposals will be reviewed by the OPIRG Board of Directors as soon as possible following submission. OPIRG will inform applicants of the date of the meeting at which their proposal will be discussed; applicants are encouraged to attend this meeting. The Board will reach a consensus decision about the proposal, based on whether or not it meets the requirements outlined in section 1.2. If the proposal is not approved in its first draft applicants will be notified of the reasons why and suggestions may be made for amendments. The potential working group may resubmit the proposal after appropriate changes have been made.
- Benefits to Working Groups
Working Groups can expect support in the following ways:
- A stipend of $100 per working group (upon proof of receipts/expenses)
- Use of OPIRG resources upon previous arrangement (i.e. contacts, information, office equipment, help with room bookings and meeting space etc.)
- Assistance with promotions (i.e. access to OPIRG’s mailing list, events calendar, logo)
- Assistance from staff and board members (Working group members are encouraged to approach the Board of Directors with ideas, or with challenges in working as a group)
- Other reasonable requests
- Responsibilities of Working Groups
Mission Statement, Policies and Training
Working groups should be familiar with OPIRG Peterborough’s mission statement and with applicable policies (i.e. Harassment Policy) and follow them in their work. Working Groups will be committed to organizing in an anti-oppressive manner, which includes (but is not limited to) addressing any and all racist, sexist, classist, ableist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic and/or any other oppressive language or actions in meetings, at events, and so on. Furthermore, working groups are expected to operationalize OPIRG’s commitment to employing consensus decision-making processes and to fostering non-hierarchical and anti-oppressive working environments. As such, working groups will be encouraged to attend training sessions which will help them to do so. OPIRG will inform all current working groups of any upcoming training sessions that may be made available to them.
Board or Staff approval must be obtained beforehand for all materials produced for public viewing, for any outside sources of funding, and for any activity that newly affiliates OPIRG with any person, political figure or organization. Furthermore, while representing OPIRG during meetings and events, as well as in written and promotional publications, working groups must:
- Behave respectfully and act within the law
- Promote diversity within OPIRG and the larger community
- Maintain the credibility of the organization (i.e. ensure that factual claims are supported by research)
- Make use of the OPIRG logo when representing the organization in print
Working groups are responsible for maintaining regular communication with OPIRG in the following ways:
- Notifying OPIRG of all meetings, events and other planned activities
- Recording minutes at all meetings
- Maintaining a folder in the OPIRG office containing copies of minutes, posters, media and contact information (in order to establish institutional memory)
- Forwarding relevant emails to OPIRG
- Sending a representative to at least one OPIRG Board meeting per semester to report on the group’s activities (Representatives are also encouraged to attend OPIRG’s Annual General Meeting to provide an annual summary of their activities)
- Maintaining Working Group Status
4.1 – Annual Statement of Intent
In order to maintain their status, established working groups must submit a statement of intent at the beginning of each school year in September. The statement of intent should briefly declare:
- An on-going interest in maintaining working group status
- Any significant changes to the mission statement and/or objectives of the group
- An updated contact list of group members
4.2 – Working Group Review Process
A working group may be put under review if they are accused of not adequately following this working group policy.
If a working group is put under review its members must meet with OPIRG Board and/or Staff members to discuss the concerns. OPIRG will generally aid working groups in employing agreeable solutions to concerns raised, in order for them to be in compliance with this policy. However, if those present determine that the working group cannot or will not operate under this working group policy, then their status will no longer be recognized by OPIRG.
Upon the initial review meeting a second review date will be set, for the purpose of assessing whether or not proper changes have been instated. If changes have not been successfully introduced and the working group continues to lack compliance with this working group policy then their status will no longer be recognized by OPIRG.
Policy updated September 2012