Local Action Project
The PA is proud
to be the very first community college local to receive a Local Action Project
grant from NYSUT. NYSUT's Local Action Project (LAP) is the statewide union's
coalition building and community outreach initiative. We began drafting a LAP
grant proposal in October 2001 and were accepted in Spring 2002.
We completed the three-year grant program in 2004, which featured a graduation
presentation at the annual LAP Conference. Looking back at our 2002, 2003, and
2004 activities, we feel that our LAP participation has been successful, we
fully intend to continue our LAP initiatives, and we will continue growing our
union! Here is a review of our three years in LAP. Our LAP photo album is available
in the Events & Photos section of our website.
Action Project Year One: 2002-2003
Action Project Conference 2002
of our acceptance into the LAP program, President Searles assembled
a group to serve as the LAP team. As shown in the picture at left, in
the front row are Cynthia Villanti, Ellis Gage Searles, Beverly Quist,
and Gene Militello, as well as in the back row Jim Henck (our NYSUT
Labor Relations Specialist) and Mike Donaruma.
team attended the week-long LAP Conference at Roaring Brook in Lake
George. During the conference, the team learned strategies for strengthening
member participation, welcoming new members, and building community
support and political action (see "PA
becomes first NYSUT community college to receive Local Action Project
grant" in PAnorama Sept. 2002). The
team also developed a budget for their first year grant and drafted
a plan for local initiatives.
"Monster Mash" party ~ The event was decidedly celebratory,
with a party in Payne Hall, to introduce our Local Action Project.
The LAP team sponsored a best-costume contest and informed members
about the Local Action Project.
gain a better sense of the current involvement and ideas for future
activities of our membership, our LAP team devised a Membership Survey.
made the survey available to members both in paper
an incentive, upon completion of the survey, members were given a
new blue PA polo shirt, like the one modeled at left by Marie Czarnecki.
summary of the complete survey results is available here: 2002
PA Membership Survey. Refer
to the original survey questions
to make sense of most responses.
reviewing the results of our Fall 2002 LAP Membership Survey, it became
clear that our members wanted us to do more to recognize MVCC students.
So we developed the idea to present a small keepsake gift to each MVCC
student who participates in MVCC's Commencement ceremony. As shown at
left, coin-style, bronze tone metal keyrings were designed to show the
PA logo and motto on one side and the words "MVCC Graduate"
encircled by "The Faculty and Professional Staff Congratulate You"
on the other.
Commencement, President Searles is on stage to congratulate each graduate
and present this keepsake on behalf of the membership. (In the photo
at left, Ellis presents a keychain to 2003 graduate Janna Strong, daughter
of PA member Cathy Hardy.) The MVCC Commencement program also contains
a letter of congratulations from
the PA Executive Board on behalf of the faculty and professional
staff of Mohawk Valley Community College.
Action Project Year Two: 2003-2004
Action Project Conference 2003
two, the team attended a week-long LAP Conference at Jiminy Peak. As
shown in the picture at left, the LAP team attendees included Beverly
Quist, Ellis Gage Searles, Gene Militello, and Cynthia Villanti. Our
fifth LAP team leader, Mike Donaruma, was unable to attend. Not shown
is our NYSUT Labor Relations Specialist, Jim Henck.
the conference, the team learned more strategies for political outreach,
community outreach, and internal & external communications. The
team utilized a great deal of time reviewing their goals, refining their
budget, and developing more initiatives.
& Recognition Initiatives
to covering our members in our bright bold blue PA polo shirts, the
team decided to invest in a number of items to further develop recognition
of the PA.
external recognition, they invested in a banner
and magnetic vehicle
signs as well as pens
for distribution to students and parents during Summer Orientation
and Registration Week.
enhance internal recognition, they utilized the LAP Communication
Centers (bulletin boards) in three campus buildings, distributed more
shirts (both white tee shirts and the new blue PA polo shirts),
and gave a mousepad
to all members at the annual January luncheon.
identity/logo items included lapel pins, picket
signs, and stationery (letterhead, envelopes, and notecards).
Finally, because the PA had negotiated for a new Benefits
Trust Fund in the last contract, they helped develop a new logo
for that as well.
the second year of the LAP grant, the team leaders made great strides
in improving their political outreach initiatives. These included
conducting screenings for Oneida County Board of Legislators candidates
and placing an advertisement
in the New York Teacher as well as stepping up the local's
team also expanded the PA's successful Educators
Meet Legislators project by creating a special edition of our
for the Oneida County Board of Legislators. They titled the full-color,
glossy newsletter the Legisletter,
and it was a great success in educating our legislators about the
good work that the PA does in terms of political outreach, community
outreach, and student outreach.
Recognition & New LAP Team Leaders
first year & a half of LAP work was featured in the March 26,
2003, New York Teacher article: "Faculty
union steps up community activism." Our
LAP projects were also highlighted in the December 3, 2003, New
York Teacher article titled "Faculty
union forges its identity."
that they had completed their second year and were about to embark
on their third and final year, the LAP team reached out to involve
more members. The talents, intelligence, and energy of Alison Doughtie,
Steve Getchell, and George Zook will surely keep the PA's LAP efforts
Action Project Year Three: 2004 and onward...
Action Project Conference 2004
three, the team attended their final week-long LAP Conference--this
time, at Fort William Henry in Lake George. Team leaders in attendance
included Ellis Gage Searles, Mike Donaruma, Alison Doughtie, Steve Getchell,
Gene Militello, and Cynthia Villanti. In the photo at left, Alison and
Gene participate in a team brainstorming session.
major goal of ongoing LAP efforts is to continue increasing member
involvement through the extensive PA committee structure. Just prior
to President Searles' first election as President, the PA had revised
its Constitution and By-laws
to increase regular and active participation in the local, as represented
in the graphic at left. In addition to the standing
committees shown in the graphic, the PA has a number of ad
hoc committees that add to the active participation of members,
such as the Member Support & Recognition Committee, the Technology
Committee, and the Audit Committee.
the committees, the Executive Board,
the Benefits Fund trustees,
and our Area Reps, then, the PA
has about 80 regularly participating members in a local of approximately
215. A continuing goal of the LAP team, then is to keep these members
actively participating in the PA, encouraging the involvement of other
members, and keeping our annual elections ballot as full as the one
depicted at left.
LAP Graduation Presentation
final LAP Conference, each third-year local offers a graduation presentation
and sets up a display of their LAP initiatives. This enables first-
and second-year locals to learn from the successes and challenges of
the more experienced LAP teams.
team presented a graduation skit that compared their LAP experiences
with that of the typical community college student. Titled "The
Little Community College Local That Could," their presentation
compared their application for the LAP grant to applying for financial
aid and demonstrated how their first year of LAP was similar to the
experiences of a first-semester community college student (eg, feeling
overwhelmed and uncertain yet excited). They acted out scenes from their
years in LAP that parelleled how community college students often grow
more confident and eager to learn as the semesters pass, learning to
manage their time while working hard and playing hard, and finally coming
to realize that education is a lifelong project.
team also created a display, shown at left, filled with their logo/identity
items as well as with samples to represent their community outreach
activities (such as a Ted Moore Run/Walk poster identifying the PA as
a major sponsor and photos from recent events), political outreach initiatives
(such as a copy of our Legisletter as well as our picket signs
and banners), as well as a laptop showing the PA website and a video
showing our Educators Meet Legislators presentations.