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On the Road

By Mark Smith

In September, I moved temporarily to Cheyenne, Wyoming, along with my colleague, NEA Organizational Specialist Phadra Williams, to assist leaders and staff of the Wyoming Education Association (WEA) with their higher education membership recruitment and engagement campaign. The intense phase of the campaign lasted through the end of October, after several successful events during the spring and summer.

The campaign conducted intensive recruitment drives on five campuses, in Gillette, Sheridan, Cheyenne, Riverton, and Rock Springs, Wyoming, with professional development workshops complementing those membership drives at the last three campuses. We also conducted workshops in Powell and Casper.

In two instances, the campaign also partnered with local education associations in Riverton and Green River (outside of Rock Springs), and discovered a real community of interest between K-12 members and their colleagues in the community colleges. We hope to build on this partnership in future membership campaigns around the country.

All told, we recruited 111 new members, 86 at community colleges, and another 25 at two K-12 local associations. Our organizing efforts also helped strengthen local infrastructure and leadership capacity at several campuses.

WEA President Kathryn Valido recognized the importance of union solidarity:

“Folks from all over the country traveled to Wyoming to lend a hand,” she said. “This campaign epitomized the NEA family stepping up to the plate to assist one of its state affiliates. On behalf of all our members, K-16, thank you so much for all your efforts!”

—Mark Smith coordinates NEA higher ed activities

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December, 2008


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