Virtual social hours generate ideas for Switzer Network actions during the pandemic

Posted by Lauren Hertel on Monday, April 27 2020

Fellows:

We caught up with 18 fellows during the first three virtual social hours for the Switzer Network earlier this month. As expected, the conversations started with how you are all doing during these difficult times (mostly well!). We discovered a number of surprising professional and personal connections, including a cluster of fellows who have connections to Newton, Massachusetts! 

Although not the main reason for the calls, lots of amazing ideas also came up. We encourage fellows who are excited to run with any of the ideas below (or something else not on the list) to reach out to the network. The foundation may be able to provide grant support through a Network Innovation Grant, if a group of fellows is interested in bringing relevant ideas into action.

  • Switzer Fellows Summit to compile position paper(s) or other products exploring opportunities to rebuild more sustainably during the recovery phase of coronavirus. This could feed into the Green New Deal, advice for federal agencies, the TED Countdown initiative, and more.

  • Put together virtual groups of fellows from different sectors to advise political candidates looking to develop their environmental platforms, leading to opportunities to engage in future policy initiatives, feed into spring policy communications trainings, and more.

  • Set up a series of peer learning sessions on leading effective online sessions, whether for conferences or teaching. Of particular interest was how to use video conferencing to increase equity and inclusion.

  • Set up a science communication training event or series for network members to tap our collective expertise.

  • Think of what we can do as a network for people around the world with no access to food or other resources.

  • Set up Working Groups in the network around topics that are either of short- or long-term interest. This idea actually fits in well with a number of the other ideas generated, and is something we’ve been discussing internally for some time. 

We are continuing with the series and will offer two more virtual social hours:

Thursday, April 30th for Eastern and Central time zones, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83244213979

Tuesday, May 5 for Mountain and Pacific time zones, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87604021374

We hope you will join us to check in, reconnect with each other, and share mutual contacts, which was a big highlight of each call so far.

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