IN NOVEMBER, NAHC board secretary Karen Harvey spoke with diverse attendees at the North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) Institute’s 2018 Annual Conference and forged connections to educate and encourage participants to take advantage of NAHC’s resources.
Leadership at this year’s Ann Arbor, Mich., conference encouraged attendees to try new things, expand their cooperative skills toolboxes, make lasting connections with fellow co-operators and use the conference theme, “A Legacy of Cooperation” to explore ways that cooperatives are connected to a resilient global movement.
Conference attendees followed a set of agreements as ground rules throughout the institute. The framing and language for these community agreements were created in partnership with Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliances (AORTA) and borrowed from various people’s movements for justice. To learn more, access AORTA’s website at www.aorta.coop. Here are a few with a short explanation which would be useful for many business meetings and conferences:
- One Diva: One Mic. In both large and small groups, one person speaks at a time.
- No one knows everything; together we know a lot. Practice being humble because we all have something to learn from everyone in the room.
- What’s said here stays here; what’s learned here leaves here. Respect confidentiality. Keep personal stories confidential but share what you learn.
The keynote speaker, Esteban Kelly, was interesting and enlightening. NASCO inducted Kelly into its Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2011.
NASCO offered the usual cooperative course tracks, such as Staff and Management, Building Cooperative Skills and Creating New Cooperatives, along with other tracks such as Anti-oppression, and Connection to the Cooperative Movement. Their caucuses provide opportunities for participants with shared identities to raise issues, build connections, and organize for change. The caucus groups are:
- Women’s Caucus
- People with Disabilities Caucus
- Queer and Trans Caucus
- Working Class Caucus
- People of Color Caucus
NASCO encourages the importance of NAHC networking with millennials for there is much each group can learn from the other to ensure the future of cooperatives.