On May 20-21, Norwich co-hosted the first Resilient Vermont Conference with the Institute of Sustainable Communities (ISC). This event brought a lot of people across the state, involved in climate related work to campus.
The story about the event itself is elsewhere, but this reflection is about the fact that I learnt at least as much, as a part of the organizing team, as I did from the conference itself.
They were completely different kinds of lessons, but truly the kinds of things I hope I emphasize enough in my classes, especially as students engage in service-learning projects and work with community members on Capstone projects.
These lessons involved communication – first and foremost – in all its forms, written, verbal, and sometimes non-verbal. It involved planning and coordination, often times going back to the drawing board, because an option could not or would not work. It meant switching back and forth between the leader and follower models, depending on the situation, because decision-making is complex and requires flexibility.
Most importantly, I so greatly appreciated who I can only call “my people” here on campus. As the person representing Norwich on the planning committee, I often had to reach out to folks here, many of whom I had never met before and request items, space, arrangements, and favors and they all came through. Every single one of them, every single time.
Photo credit: Mark Collier, Norwich Photography