Planning Your First Meeting
PRIOR TO THE MEETING
Pick a date, time, and location. Think about a time that will work for most people if possible.
Spread the word! Invite people to come, ask them to commit to joining the meeting, and follow up with them beforehand to confirm. Think about how to invite a diverse group that includes people from underrepresented communities, such as people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and LGBTQ people.
Print out and bring sign-in sheets.
Designate someone to take notes during the meeting.
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
Welcome everyone and outline the goals for the meeting, including:
Get to know each other;
Commit to the values that will guide your work in the coming months and years; and
Plan and commit to your first action--probably your walkout!
Write your agenda somewhere everyone can see it (or pass it out to everyone). If you are using this agenda, you can write only the bolded section headers in this document: Welcome and introductions, group name, communication, action plan.
Have each person in attendance briefly introduce themselves and explain what motivated them to get involved. The amount of time you have for this will vary depending on the size of your group. If your group is large, you may want to ask everyone to keep their introduction to one sentence. Model the type of introduction you are looking for by going first.
Talk about your ultimate goal. Our long-term goal across the country is to build student power and a more representative democracy.
DECIDE ON A GROUP NAME
If you already have a name, skip this step! Otherwise, propose a name and open the floor for additional suggestions. A good place to start is with a name that includes the geographic area of your group or the name of your school followed by Walkout (e.g. Easton Walkout). If multiple names are proposed, take a vote. Try to keep this section of the meeting as short as possible—you want to get to the action.
ADOPT A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION
You need a way of reaching everyone in your group in order to coordinate actions. This can be a Facebook group, a Google group, a Slack team, an email list, a phone tree—whatever people are most comfortable with.
This is also a good time to talk about the different ways that group members can contribute to the group: attending events, recording events, recruiting other students, hosting meetings, engaging on social media, writing op-eds for local papers, etc. Ask each person in attendance how they would like to contribute. Have your note-taker take good notes during this section. Whenever possible, have people commit to a specific action at a specific time.
COMMIT TO ACTION
Set a time and date for a specific action that your group will take. We suggest that your chapter make a plan for your walkout in your first meeting. This could be your first action.
Select someone who will be the lead coordinator for the action. For the first action, this may be you! But in the future, you may want to designate a group member as the lead on each action. This person will ensure that everything runs smoothly the day of your event. You may also want a media spokesperson for each action.