Hello dear friends and WPCampus community members. It has been quite some time since I shared an update.
I hope 2022 has been good for you. A lot of intense things are going on right now. I hope you're taking care of yourself.
I have two significant announcements for you. I will do my best to keep this post as short as possible.
Summary of two (big) announcements (tl;dr)
I will go into details but first, a summary:
- WPCampus is considering hosting WPCampus 2022 in September at Tulane University in New Orleans
- I, Rachel Cherry, am stepping down as Director of WPCampus.
Alright. Here we go with the details.
#1: Planning WPCampus 2022 for September
The WPCampus in-person conference has always taken place in July. With COVID still a thing, we waited while Tulane worked on their summer event COVID policy. By the time they figured out the details, it was too late for us to plan a summer event.
In the spirit of trying new things (and wanting to see everyone after three years), I asked Tulane if we could host our event in September. They said yes! There's only one caveat: we can't use on-campus housing. On-campus dorms are only an option during the summer, which makes sense. So we'll have to find a few nearby hotels. Staying in hotels will raise the budget for attendees who were ok with staying in dorms. At least the weather will be more comfortable!
Another adjustment for having the event in the fall is the rooms we can use. We might have to be creative and do more with less, which I see as an opportunity to try different formats. We will need to assemble a COVID policy. That will be one of our initial priorities in planning the event.
We will also need an organizing team. I will need someone to take over as the lead organizer. All organizers will get a free conference ticket. And perhaps we can help with a travel stipend this year. I will be involved in planning to make sure you have what you need to produce a successful event.
Action items to help WPCampus 2022 happen
Want to help WPCampus 2022 happen? Here are some action items to get involved:
#2: Stepping down as Director of WPCampus
After almost seven years, I have decided to step down as Director of WPCampus. I know — huge news. I have my reasons, and none of them have anything to do with this community. But it's time for me to step down.
So what's next for our organization?
We've had the same leadership model for quite some time. Now is an excellent opportunity to consider our organization's mission and how we might adapt or improve.
I have received many messages from folks telling me they want to support WPCampus because of our work with the accessibility audit. Many folks participate in our community and events because of our organizational mission to help higher education. People notice our contributions and the value of our priorities. I would love to see these priorities highlighted, updated if necessary, and continued.
We recently received 501(c)(3) status as an organization! Which is amazing. But if we want to keep our non-profit status rolling forward, we will need to appoint a new Board of Directors with at least three directors. Or we could let go of the non-profit status and do something else.
This process could be a fantastic opportunity for the community to bring in new leadership and assess our structure, priorities, and objectives.
How to get involved in forming our new leadership model
I'm excited to say a working group has already begun to form, but it needs your help!
Have you ever been interested in what WPCampus does as an organization? Do you have ideas or goals for our community? Helping to form new leadership is a wonderful opportunity to get involved. We need folks who are passionate about steering our direction and the future of our community.
Over the years, folks often ask why we're not just a WordCamp? And the most straightforward answer is autonomy. We have the freedom to do what we think is best for our community. Because of that freedom, we were able to commission the accessibility audit. What else can we do with that freedom? That is up to the community and the folks who lead our community.
Action items to bring in our new leadership model
If you want to help with the transition, I want to help you understand what that means.
It is very early in the process. A working group has formed and has hosted one meeting and scheduled the next meeting. For now, getting involved means attending the meetings, joining the discussions, and being able to help with an action item here and there.
If you want to get involved, here is what you need to do:
- Bookmark: our leadership transition planning document
- Subscribe: to our leadership transition email newsletter
- We'll publish all updates and information via this email newsletter
- Join: the #transition Slack channel
- Not a member of our Slack? Join our Slack workspace
- Attend the next meeting: Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at 11 am Central time
- Add meeting calendar invite to your calendar
- Topic: We will discuss whether WPCampus will remain 501c3
It has been an honor and a privilege to champion WPCampus these past six years. I have so many beautiful memories—countless new friends. I have a fancy Director's chair. You all have given me such joy.
I care deeply about this community. I hope that is obvious from my time as Director. I will help with the transition as long as needed and ensure you have whatever you need to succeed. I am not going anywhere. No matter my leadership status, I will continue to be involved. I hope you'll see me at WPCampus events for years to come.
I'm always available on WPCampus Slack if you need me or have any questions.