About Oberlin College EnviroAlums (Charter)
 

Founding Committee:

Corinne Alexander, ’94; Peter Kirsch, ’79; Eric Davidson, ’78; Carl McDaniel, ’64; Karen Florini, ’79; John Peterson, ’88; Elizabeth Frazier, ’36; John Shordike, ’78

Name:

Oberlin Environmental Education Alumni Association (EnviroAlums)

Charter

Background

We believe Oberlin is in a unique position to focus higher education on the central question of the twenty-first century: How shall we foster sustainability and resilience in our diverse, global culture, particularly in light of the unprecedented changes associated with climate disruption?

We believe the Oberlin community has a unique opportunity to set a standard for environmental education and action, as well as a responsibility to seize this opportunity.

Purpose

As alumni who have concerns about environmental issues such as climate change, consumption, equity, pollution, biodiversity, and social justice, we have formed an alumni affiliate group to assist with, and to advocate for, environmental education and action within the Oberlin community. The nature and extent of this assistance and advocacy continues to develop as EnviroAlums evolves.  We are committed to: (1) providing encouraging and supporting environmental education on and off campus; (2) supporting action on and off campus that enhances sustainability and resilience; and (3) raising funds for environmental education and advocacy.

Membership

Membership is open to any alum, and current or past faculty or staff member of Oberlin, who wishes to support environmental education and advocacy in the Oberlin community. We seek to include at least two current Oberlin students as members of the Steering Committee.  We will strive to achieve a membership that reflects the diversity of Oberlin’s alumni.

In collaboration with the Environmental Studies Program (ENVS) and the Oberlin Alumni Office, we will periodically recruit current students and alumni to join EnviroAlums and its Steering Committee. This outreach will include a link to the EnviroAlums website, which houses this charter, a membership form, and information about the ongoing activities of EnviroAlums delivered through various media.

Bylaws

General Organization

The activities of EnviroAlums will be the responsibility of a Steering Committee (SC).

  • The SC shall be made up of 12 to 18 members of EnviroAlums, organized so that approximately 1/3 of the group may rotate off the SC each year. Two SC members shall be current Oberlin students.1
     
  • SC members may serve multiple consecutive terms, if confirmed by the Membership and Nominations Subcommittee.
     
  • At any time, any member of EnviroAlums may volunteer and be nominated to be on the SC. The Membership and Nominations Subcommittee will nominate new members after determining their interest in serving for a three-year term.
     
  • Selection of additional SC members shall be made on an as needed basis to maintain a critical mass for conducting its business and to welcome new, interested members. From the list of volunteers, the standing SC members shall, by majority vote, select the SC members for the next three-year terms.
     
  • The full SC shall meet at least twice each year, either in Oberlin or virtually.
     
  • To promote meaningful involvement in our work, participation in meetings, on standing subcommittees, or on ad hoc tasks is expected of all SC members. Lack of participation without notice in two or more consecutive meetings of the SC, in work on standing subcommittees, or in ad hoc special task meetings will prompt a request from the SC Chair that the member decide whether or not to continue as a member of the SC. Our SC and subcommittee Chairs will make every possible effort to accommodate all of our busy schedules.
[1] NOTE: The current (Spring 2020) SC was divided into three groups with one group serving one year, a second group serving two years, and a third group serving three years. 


Leadership

The EnviroAlums Steering Committee shall have a Chair and a Vice Chair.

  • They shall be elected annually by majority vote of the SC during the Spring meeting of the SC.
     
  • They shall serve for one-year terms and may be elected for as many as 3 consecutive terms, with agreement from the Membership and Nominating Subcommittee, and a vote of the majority of the SC.
     
  • They shall be responsible for coordinating EnviroAlums activities and leading SC meetings.
     
  • The Chair or its designee shall be the representative of the EnviroAlums on the Alumni Leadership Council whenever that opportunity presents itself.
     
  • The Vice Chair will lead meetings in the absence of the Chair. The Vice Chair shall also participate fully in assisting the Chair with coordinating EnviroAlums activities.

Authorization of expenses

  • The Chair and Vice Chair each has the authority to authorize routine EnviroAlums expenses of $500.00 or less when time is of essence.
     
  • The SC shall be consulted, and must vote to approve, expenses exceeding $500.00.

Subcommittees

There shall be the following Standing Subcommittees, each with a Chairperson:

Membership and Nominations Subcommittee, will focus on recruiting, engaging and managing EnviroAlums membership, as well as encouraging the nomination of new Steering Committee members.  Before the expiration of a member’s term, the Subcommittee will ask them about whether they are interested in continuing to serve.  Continuation for a full or partial term will be established by mutual agreement of the member and the subcommittee.

Fellowship Subcommittee will publicize annually the summer Fellowship applications, as soon after the end of January term as possible. Subcommittee members will assist with reviewing applications and other work of the Subcommittee. They will recommend fellows to the SC at the Spring meeting, with a proposed budget for their support.

Communications Subcommittee will be responsible for the routine sharing of information with the membership. Specific duties include:

  • Compiling minutes during each Steering Committee meeting, distributing these minutes to the SC for additions and corrections, and summarizing these minutes for forwarding to the general EnviroAlums membership.
     
  • Writing a short article on a topic of interest that will be included in the annual Environmental Studies newsletter. 
     
  • Developing the EnviroAlums Annual Report each Fall from the above materials and other noteworthy events of the year.
     
  • Coordinating the promotion of EnviroAlums through social media and other methods, in cooperation with the working intern (see description below) and other on-campus student groups.

Ad hoc subcommittees will be formed as needed, to perform specific tasks, and will be disbanded when their work is completed. Such subcommittees will propose and generate additional programs and activities in keeping with the purpose of EnviroAlums.

On-Campus Intern (Working Intern)

We recognize the importance of having a consistent presence on campus for our work. Therefore, during each semester of the academic year, we shall employ at least one EnviroAlums working intern. The intern will be recruited and generally supervised by a member of the ENVS faculty. The intern will coordinate their work closely with the SC Chair and the Chairperson of the Communications Subcommittee.  

  • The working intern will serve as a liaison to current students, and will manage communications to EnviroAlums members, including the Steering Committee. They will also inform EnviroAlums membership of the ongoing activities of environmentally focused campus groups such as: the Committee on Environmental Sustainability, the Green Edge Fund, the Citizens Climate Lobby, Oberlin Sunrise, Students for Sustainable Energy, etc. These associated student groups may assist the SC and help us identify shared interests, both operational and financial.
     
  • The working intern will have a primary role in the development and the execution of the annual Environmental Careers Day, working with the SC, ENVS staff and other students, faculty, and alumni.
     
  • The working intern will help promote the EnviroAlums Fellowship Program on campus.

Fellowship Programs/Grants

The EnviroAlums Fellowship Program offers grants for field-related study and internships.

  • EnviroAlums Fellowships support Oberlin students who are seeking to gain real-world experience in environmental organizations and businesses, and to develop professional skills and contacts. EnviroAlums strives to support the preparation of Oberlin students for satisfying and productive careers in environmental and sustainability-focused fields after graduation. We believe that hands-on work is an important part of preparation for such employment.  Thus, the Fellowship provides talented Oberlin students of all backgrounds and from any Oberlin academic department, opportunities to hone their professional skills.
     
  • Information and application for the Fellowships are on the Oberlin EnviroAlums website.

Membership in EnviroAlums is free. However, members and supporters are encouraged to contribute generously to the EnviroAlums endowment, to ensure the ongoing support of the working intern, the fellowship program, and other activities

Revision of Bylaws

These Bylaws may be changed at any time by a majority vote of the SC.  Any SC member may suggest a bylaws revision to the Chair.  At the Chair’s discretion, a subcommittee may be formed to make a presentation and recommendation to the SC for its consideration.

Approved by the EnviroAlums SC, March 28, 2020.
Approved by Alumni Leadership Council (ALC), July 28, 2020