Third Sector New England: 3rd Quarterly Report for the Holyoke CCP Project
PART I. ACTIVITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
Community Forums: (also see attached agendas and forum notes)
The second, third and fourth (final) forums were completed in the third quarter.
In the Second Forum the overall purpose of the project was discussed and the “findings” of the first forum which focused on the history of the campus-community partnership were presented to the group to review and to make corrections or additions. Affinity groups discussed these and came up with what they felt were the most important lessons from the history and then each group presented to the whole group.
The theme of the Third Forum was: building bridges and creating deeper understanding between the community organizations and the campuses. The campuses, community organizations and community groups created a diagram and made short presentations of their goals, needs, resources and capacity and how they make decisions, and deliver and/or access resources. There was then a discussion about the presentations and how each of the different groups connected both in effective and not effective ways.
In between the Third and Fourth Forums, a working group created a draft version of a framework for the Campus Compact from the learning of the previous forums to present at the Fourth (final) Forum.
In the Fourth Forum the draft framework of the Compact was presented and there was some discussion to ask questions and clarify parts of the compact. Then four smaller groups each added their own input to the four basic components of the compact and then each presented the input and finally the participants voted on the ideas they felt were most important and indicated any ideas that they could not live with in the compact.
A Yahoo site was also created to document the forums, provide other information and resources relevant to campus-community partnerships and to encourage on-line dialogue. The Yahoo site address is: HolyokeCCPP- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HolyokeCCPP/
The forums succeeded in bringing together diverse groups representing the campuses and the Holyoke community including CBO program directors and staff, community residents, youth, college students, faculty and administrators. Ninety to one hundred people participated in the forums. The forums also provided input from these groups to be able to develop the framework for the compact. This realized the goal of having the compact come from input from these different stakeholders and to have them approve of the draft compact presented in the last forum. The Yahoo site provided a place that is accessible to many of the project partners to be able to share the input from the forums and other information and resources.
PART II. CHALLENGES
Consistent attendance of the forums and including a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the “learning network”: Although we were successful in engaging a wide variety of participants representing the different interest groups we wanted to take part, it was difficult to get consistent attendance of the same people at the forums. This made it more difficult to build on each forum, but at the same time, it did allow for more voices to be included in the overall process.
Consistent engagement of the Planning Group. There were also challenges in attaining consistent engagement of all the members of the planning group. As mentioned in the last report, geographic distance and different schedules made it difficult to bring together the different partners at the same time and place. Also in several instances, last minute emergencies or other required meetings made it impossible for some of the partners to attend scheduled meetings.
Utilization of the Yahoo web site. Our attempt to utilize the web to make the learnings of the forums accessible and to engage people by creating a Yahoo site was not entirely successful. It is our experience that one can not assume that the saying “build it and they will come” is true of creating web sites. We have seen other web sites underutilized. Again, we suspect this is because there is just too much out there and people do not have the time or energy, and it can take time and energy to do the outreach and “promotion” to get people to regularly access a site. At the same time, it was useful to have one place where most of the Campus-Community Partnership information can be accessed,