350 Mass for a Better Future
Being a Member of the Statewide Steering Team
Note: Text in italics, below, is from the 350 Mass charter. All SST members should read and be familiar with the Charter.
Approved 4/11/18. To be revised as needed.
What is 350 Mass?
350 Massachusetts for a Better Future (350 Mass) is a network of local, powerbuilding nodes who work together around coordinated grassroots campaigns to achieve climate victories at the state, national, and international levels. 350 Mass is member-led and
member-driven and sees a grassroots climate movement as critical for achieving
climate justice and maintaining a livable world. 350 Mass draws its inspiration from
350.org and receives coordination, skillbuilding, communication, financial, fundraising
and operational support by the staff and board of Better Future Project (BFP).
Relationship of 350 Mass to BFP
350 Mass is a member-led network of grassroots leaders supported by the staff and board of Better Future Project. All relevant campaign and structural decisions related to 350 Mass are made by the grassroots leadership of 350 Mass. 350 Mass receives coordination, skillbuilding, communication, financial, fundraising, and operational support by the staff and board of Better Future Project (BFP).
The 350 Mass SST elects two representatives to serve in an ex officio nonvoting capacity on the BFP board for renewable two-year terms.
The Statewide Steering Team (SST) The Statewide Steering Team (SST) serves as the governing body of 350 Mass. It makes decisions about the structure of 350 Mass, guides the campaign selection and evaluation processes, and looks after the overall health and wellbeing of 350 Mass.
We make plans and policies, with input from the nodes that we represent. We design the process to select campaigns. Using ratings from the nodes, we make final decisions on campaign selection. We decide what other campaigns or events 350 Mass will endorse. We tend to the structure of the network, adjusting as needed to growth or challenges. We work closely with the staff of Better Future Project in these matters.
The SST is a group made up of representatives from all our nodes (ideally 2 representatives from each node.) Better Future Project staff who work with 350 Mass, aka 350 Mass staff, attend our meetings as non-voting participants.
Executive Committee. The SST has an Executive Committee, which determines meeting agendas, and facilitates rapid communication and decision-making with BFP staff as outlined in the Executive Committee charter. The Executive Committee consists of SST representatives on the BFP Board, and other members elected by the SST. Relevant BFP staff and BFP campaign coordinators are nonvoting members of the Executive Committee.
Coordinator. The SST has at least one democratically elected Coordinator. A coordinator is elected every January.
Who should join:
- node members who have been involved with 350 Mass for at least six months
- who want to be more engaged in leading the broader statewide network
- and who want to take on a leadership role within their node
- SST reps should be on node leadership team, but not necessarily coordinator.
What is expected of SST reps:
- Show up: monthly conference calls, quarterly in-person meetings
At present, conference calls are every first Wednesday of the month, usually from 7:45 to 9:15. In-person meetings are quarterly, in place of that month’s call, and dates are usually selected by doodle poll. Participation in calls is either by phone, or preferably, from a computer via Zoom, our video-conference platform. Specifics on how to connect are on the agenda.
We are currently piloting an arrangement where two of our four annual in-person meetings will take place during “Summits,” and the other two will be half- or all-day meetings; locations vary but we try to accommodate all nodes.
- Participate in SST Slack Channel discussions
- Read documents prior to SST calls, have comments ready
Documents are sent out with the agenda, about a week (sometimes less) prior to the call or meeting.
The SST uses Google docs for some of our business. If you’re not conversant with Google docs, ask another SST rep for a tutorial.
- Have read 350 MA charter
- Follow SST norms (below)
- Consistently report back the content of SST meetings to your node
This is a major part of your job! You should be sure there’s a structured part of your node meeting where this happens.
- Use SST channel in Slack to stay in touch with other SST reps, staff, and Exec
- Solicit node feedback when applicable and bring to SST
- Summarize SST meetings at upcoming node meetings (all minutes are kept within the SST agenda documents!)
- Act as resource for newer node members and help folks move up the “ladder of engagement” as they are ready and willing
- SST members are sometimes invited (not required!) to take on other roles as representatives of 350 Mass: for example, sitting in on Better Future Project Board meetings, joining a BFP hiring committee, or speaking as a representative of 350 Mass.
- Share responsibility for well-being of 350 MA and our mission
Orientation for new SST reps should include:
Intro at in-person meeting with a little background (responsibility of SST coordinator)
A 1:1 meeting with an experienced current SST rep to review: To review:
350 MA mission, style, r/ship to BFP, norms etc
Thorough review of last SST call and in-person meeting notes
Meeting schedule, where to find notes etc
Note: Recent SST Minutes are here.
Review of Zoom, Slack, other tech issues (Google docs etc)
SST will select a new member coordinator who will ensure that this connection is made. That person may assemble a team to assist.
- The SST involves a lot of behind the scenes work to help structure, support, and lead the statewide network. This includes some administrative decisions and may not be considered thrilling to all. SST folks should understand that this is still critical to the organization’s functioning even if it’s not as exciting as planning protests.
- We are an official body but we are also a community. We take an interest in each other’s lives and we are looking for folks who are willing to be supportive to others both personally and professionally.
Appendix A: 350 Mass Norms
- Assume good will
- When you have to disagree, express it with great courtesy and care
- Respect others/golden rule
- Step Up if you tend to speak very little. Step Back if you tend to speak a lot.
- Stay on topic. Add other issues to a ‘Bike rack’ for later.
- Say your name before speaking.
- State your view and ask genuine questions.
- Stick to the timeline/agenda shared ahead of the meeting.
- Signal when context is required.
- Silence cell phones. No side conversations.
- Be aware of who is not in the room.
- People should feel empowered to name norm violations.
Dealing with Disruptive Violations of Norms
- This discussion concerns violations of “General Norms,” above; not the in-meeting norms.
- This procedure is intended to be used when norms violations are disruptive to the group.
- Norms violations “outside of meetings” means that violations occurred while SST or Node business is being transacted, and usually refers to emails; but may also include other conversations.
Norms Violations by SST members:
- Anyone aware of a disruptive violation of General Norms should call attention to it asap--
- If violation occurs in meeting, call attention during the meeting. If outside of meeting, speak directly to offender.
- Single offense, if minor, acknowledged and apologized for, requires no further action.
- In a meeting, if offender does not acknowledge and apologize, meeting should be asked to weigh in on whether norm was violated and the violation was disruptive.
- Executive Committee may be notified at discretion of person noticing violation.
- Repeated or major violations:
- Again, call attention to each violation ASAP
- Any two SST members may ask Executive Committee to consider warning.
- Executive Committee will meet with offender and 1-3 involved people selected by Executive Committee, to discuss.
- Offender may request that Executive Committee also meet or discuss with others of his/her choice, and this request should be honored.
- Executive Committee, after meeting with alleged offender, and meeting or communicating with relevant node leaders and others, may decide to issue warning.
- If offender is resistant to or avoidant of meeting, warning may be issued without meeting with him/her.
- A warning puts the offender on notice that his/her membership in SST is at risk if violations continue.
- Further violation -- Offender should again be notified when violation occurs
- If violation occurs during meeting, meeting should weigh in on whether this was significant violation. (Presumably Executive Committee are present so are aware.)
- If violation occurs outside of SST meeting, Executive Committee should be notified promptly.
- Executive Committee, after whatever further meetings and discussion it deems reasonable (with offender, node leaders, involved others) may notify SST that offender will be asked to step down from SST.
- SST as a whole may overrule this decision by majority vote.
Norms Violations by Node Members (Non-SST)
Nodes may adopt their own policies for dealing with persistent and disruptive norm violations. If a node has not adopted its own policies, these policies are assumed to be in place.
- Anyone aware of General Norms violation should call attention to it asap--
- If in meeting, during the meeting
- If outside of meeting, directly to offender
- Single offense, if minor, acknowledged and apologized for, requires no further action. If offender does not acknowledge and apologize, meeting should be asked to weigh in on whether norm was violated. Majority vote decides. If yes, node leadership should be notified.
- Repeated or major violations::
- Again, call attention ASAP
- If in meeting, ask meeting to agree to request warning from node leadership.
- If outside of meeting, relay to node leaders and ask that warning be issued.
- Offender will meet with 1-3 people selected by node leaders to discuss. Offender may request that node leaders also discuss with others of offender’s choice. If offender resistant to meeting, warning may be issued without meeting.
- Node leadership, after meeting (if possible) with offender and meeting or communicating with relevant others, may decide to issue warning.
- A warning puts the offender on notice that his/her membership in node is at risk if violations continue.
- Executive Committee should be notified at this stage.
- Further violation -- Offender should again be made aware, and then node leaders notified. Node leadership, after whatever meetings and discussion it deems reasonable (with offender, involved others) may ask offender to step down from node.
If offender is member of Executive Committee or node leadership:
Executive Committee or node leadership may meet, and will make decisions about warnings or asking offender to step down, in meetings without offender present: provided that offender has had opportunity, as above, to represent him/herself to the deciding group.
Appendix B: How SST agrees to endorse or sign onto things.
For the SST to endorse a campaign, sign a letter, or otherwise join in someone else’s undertaking, the following steps are undertaken:
- The person proposing the endorsement submits a request for endorsement to the SST-EXEC-Endorsement channel on SLACK.
- At least five Exec members must read and approve the endorsement. If at least one raises a question, the endorsement is delayed until an Exec meeting. If Exec does not come to an agreement during an Exec meeting, the request is either denied or brought to SST.
- Carolyn Barthel as the Endorsement coordinator ensures that endorsements occur swiftly and notifies the person requesting endorsement that they are authorized to sign on behalf of 350 Massachusetts (or not).
- That person is responsible for any follow-up required.
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