Updates from the Fall AAUW NC meetings

Nancy Shoemaker
Tar Heel Branch President

Three AAUW NC meetings were held this fall: two on 9/17 in Brevard and New Bern and one last Saturday in Statesville. Forty-one members representing 15 of the 20 branches attended at least one of the meetings. Of the 41, 18 were members of the Tar Heel Branch and we welcomed one new member, Janice Imgrund of Winston-Salem, who joined at the Statesville meeting.

Five Tar Heel Branch board members attended (Shoemaker, Evans, Atoji, Pearre, and Abell). The meetings were sponsored by the AAUW NC officers (K. Atkinson, Van Order, McGuire, Abell, Richardson) with support from Mary Peterson — and all of these women are dual members of the Tar Heel Branch.

This report comes from my attendance at the Statesville meeting.

Public Policy Project

The bulk of the time was spent on the Public Policy Pilot Project that is proposed for branch action during 2011-2012. Branches are being encouraged to

  • Adopt one or more public policy issues to monitor on behalf of AAUW NC.
  • Identify a member of the branch to follow each of these issues and forward updates and alerts to a specific email address.
  • Encourage branch members and other allies in the community to subscribe to the alerts and updates.

Additional information:

Branch presidents are asked to send the
  • branch’s preferred list of issues,
  • names and email addresses of the “senders”
  • names and email addresses of those who want to receive the alerts and updates
  • any constraints about branch members’ participation

to pp-admin@aauwnc.org as soon as possible.

In late October, the coordinators of the project will be assigning issues to branches based on branch preferences, but hopefully avoiding much duplication. Then two email lists will be populated with subscribers:

  • pp-info@aauwnc.org for the “senders” to exchange information with one another and with the project coordinators
  • pp-alerts@aauwnc.org which will be an open list for those who want to receive the  alerts from the “senders”

During the year, all involved in the project would be asked to make notes on the project to help with an evaluation of whether or not additional state resources should be allocated to it for 2012-2013.

The Tar Heel Branch may contribute to this in unique ways. Jenine Atoji and I will be supporting the project with the technical issues of creating and maintaining the email lists. It is understood that many of our members who joined as “at-large” members of the state may not have time to put into research on particular issues, but it is hoped we will have many members who agree to receive the information and take action as long as the messages are clear and focused.

NOTE: While some branches may choose to have just a few people receiving alerts and then forward the information out through their usual channels (reports at meetings, their newsletter), that will not work for us. If you are interested in this information, please do plan to subscribe directly.

Finances

The AAUW NC executive committee (acting as the board in this year where we’ve suspended the bylaws) approved the 2011-2012 budget.   The important things to note are:

  • Again this year, it is a deficit budget. Our reserves are in good shape and we are planning to spend more than our income.
  • The amount in the budget for special projects, including branch mini-grants, has been doubled since last year’s budget, and is now $5000. Some of that will be spent for the Public Policy project, but branches are encouraged to review the mini-grant application and ask for state support when appropriate.

Juvenile Literature Award

There was some discussion of the AAUW Juvenile Literature Award which the NC Literary and Historical Society has administered for AAUW NC since 1953. As documented  on the UNC Library page about the NC Literary Awards, this is part of a series of several awards. There was a discussion about the benefit of the award and an idea to encourage all the branches to purchase copies of the winning book for their local libraries received more support than adding a cash award to the winning author.

The consensus was to continue support for the event. That entails contacting the winning author and arranging to host the author at the Literary and Historical Society awards ceremony, as well as arranging for a cup to present it. It was noted that Elizabeth Laney, a member of the branch and the Lit/Hist Society, has been one of the judges for years.

This year’s award ceremony will be Friday, Nov. 18 at the Sheraton in downtown Raleigh as part of the Annual Meeting of the Lit/Hist Society. The awards potion of the program is 1:30 – 2:00 and part of the afternoon session which is free and open to the public. If you’d like to attend, please contact Karla or Lill for details on who will be representing AAUW NC, particularly if you’d like to join the author for lunch or take materials to share about AAUW. (Full program, registration.)

E-newsletter and Tar Heel News Update

There was a lively discussion of how to get state information out to all the members. While email would seem to be a logical way to communicate, issues about going “email only” included

  • Only about 20% of the members signed up for the new e-newsletter, and fewer than 50% of those opened our first issue.
  • Several people mentioned that though email would seem to make sense, realistically they are more apt to read the news if it shows up in USMail.
So the Tar Heel News will continue to be sent through the mail, but there was consensus that we should come up with a way for members to opt-out of the paper newsletter. It has been posted online since 2003, and some are fine with reading the electronic version.

Annual Meeting

There was a consensus to continue with last year’s format of a simpler annual meeting near the center of the state.

Nominating Committee

There was a reminder that by a vote last spring we suspended the bylaws and our current structure is quite different from the one described there. It is still too soon to know how it is working, but it was noted that the nominating committee will need some guidance in what offices will be filled for 2012-2013.

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