2011 Gathering + beyond

Thanks to a dedicated team of organizers, over fifty NU alumni, participants, staff and advisors came together at Sylvan Lake, AB for the second NU Gathering — this time with participants from the four cities: Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Vancouver. It was a great opportunity for alumni and current participants in Next Up to connect and learn from each other. The weekend was filled with discussions on how to foster and grow the network, an overflowing marketplace of ideas, a session of pooling together our collective skills and experience to hone in on case studies of projects that NU folks are engaged in – and to top things off, a no-talent show of epic proportions.

At this years gathering we also had good discussions about diversity, safety, inclusion, anti-oppression and more. Many thoughtful ideas on how to bolster the program were suggested. In August, the NU staff team came together to look at each individual program and the program as a whole. The team landed on a few key things to integrate across all programs in relation to anti-oppression work and building allies. They also looked for important pieces that have been developed in different programs that they thought could be applied to all programs.

The team is pleased to share the key pieces that have been put in place this year;

  • Participants sign an agreement at the start of the program that outlines expectations with regards to program participation and includes the programs commitment to participants around building the best experience for them that we can;
  • A written policy on harassment that is introduced at the start of each program;
  • Each orientation session now includes a discussion about how we can better take care of ourselves and each other;
  • Each orientation session now has anti-oppression introduced;
  • A full day of anti-o training is included in all programs;
  • All cohorts will have opportunities to learn more about and become more engaged in Aboriginal issues, with a specific focus on issues specific to their city/region.

Without a doubt, the program will continue to grow and evolve as we learn hands-on how to build a broad and inclusive network.