REC Community Investment Training Report

By Olivia Grugan, Middlebury College 2012.

REC CI training

After a five-hour drive from Middlebury, Vermont to New York City, I climbed the stairs of an apartment building and opened a door onto a living room full of organizers. In the hours to come, I met about a dozen students from schools like Mount Holyoke, Bard and Sarah Lawrence. They were all there for the same reason: to talk about community investment. They had flown, driven and bussed in from around the country to attend a REC training and a face-to-face Steering Committee meeting. The goal of the weekend training was to inform us about the nuances of community investment and how it might be implemented on our individual campuses, and to hold a Steering Committee meeting in person. Over the two-and-a-half day period, we explored the traditional definitions of community investment and created our own individual, nuanced definitions. We shared models of existing community investment programs at schools such as Mount Holyoke, Tufts and Seattle and created model campaigns for individual campuses that do not yet have community investment. On Sunday, we held a Steering Committee meeting in person and worked on the REC national campaign of community investment.

As a Student Organizer for REC and a campus organizer at Middlebury College, I can honestly say that the community investment training was one of the most productive environments I have experienced yet. Everyone came to the table with a unique perspective and a base level of knowledge on the topic. We strategized on both a national level and an individual level, each leaving with a plan for implementation on our home campuses. I hope that this level of productivity can continue in our future SRI efforts.

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