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New Member Orientation Policy

(As Approved by the Board of Directors May 27, 1997)

1. The general purpose of New Member Orientation ("NMO") is to orient new members into the way SCA works. Orienting new members is one of the most important things we can do in the SCA to promote the smooth running of our houses.

2. The Speaker is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the NMO takes place at the beginning of every term. In addition, the Corporate Membership Coordinator, House Membership Coordinators, and House Interim Coordinators also bear responsibility for conducting quality NMO's that will pass on the information that new members need to understand the workings of SCA houses. The Speaker and the Membership Committee (including the Interim Coordinators) will also be known as the "NMO Committee."

3. The NMO committee must meet before the end of each term to plan the NMO for the following term. During this meeting the Committee shall:

  • A. Review the materials in the NMO folder in the SCA Business Office;
  • B. Brainstorm items that need to be covered and who the best person will be to present each item; and
  • C. Prepare a detailed NMO agenda, addressing two broad levels of information sharing: first, issues on the corporate and "movement" level; and second, house-specific information.
    • 1. The first section should explain co-op philosophy and history, SCA history, SCA corporate structure, and the responsibilities and duties of Board Members.
    • 2. Then, new members should divide up and go to their respective houses. There, the second section should introduce new members to:
      • a. the physical workings of the house (e.g. where things are, how to use the Hobart mixer, how to mop a floor).
      • b. the job board systems;
      • c. house meeting attendance requirements; and
      • d. a brief introduction to the consensus process.

4. Timing: The first section of the NMO must take place before the General Membership meeting, and the second section must take place before the first house meeting of the term (which ideally will happen early in the first week of the term). The two sections may take place on the same day or on different days. The NMO committee is advised to plan NMO sessions at times that all new members will be able to attend. For example, NMO on the Saturdays before the beginning of Winter and Spring terms are not likely to be well attended. It may make more sense for the NMO's to occur in two different sessions for these terms at the beginning of the first week.

5. General Member Responsibilities. While the NMO Committee is responsible for ensuring that NMO's take place, it should try to incorporate other members into the presentations. For example, kitchen coordinators could conduct a tour of the kitchen and job coordinators could explain the job boards, fining policy, and job expectations. Incorporating more people into the presentation helps to create a shared sense of responsibility for helping new members transition into living in the SCA, and it makes an impression on new members that leadership and responsibilities are shared here.

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