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Andy G.
Media, PA
Dear SLN members,

With the coming of the new year we're excited to really kick up the energy in the group with some new Meetups and more conversation (and even do some good in the world with some sustainability-focused volunteer opportunities)!

After getting feedback through the group survey we sent out in November and from members themselves, we really want to establish a talkative community that can use the Meetup site (and potentially our very own independent SLN website--more to come on that--) to really drive the planning and participation of Meetup events.

Sustainability has as one of its tenets that each part is critical to the success of the whole and this is especially true in our group. Each of us has lots of ideas to offer and connections to leverage that make everyone a potential organizer. With that in mind, we'll be looking this year to leverage everyone's expertise and ideas to schedule a diverse array of Meetups that will match the variety of our members' interests and expectations of activity types.

I want to point out the 2 best tools on the Meetup site we can all use to help get a variety of Meetups scheduled and get some good collaboration brewing.

First, the "Suggest a Meetup" tab in the center of the home screen should be everyone's favorite tab as it allows us to throw out an idea of something you're interested in to start getting it scheduled. We'd love to see 100+ suggestions for Meetups (we have over 100 members) on there that would allow us to really survey interest as well as facilitate planning and date setting. Please check it out and contribute the fruits of your brainstorms!

Second, if any of you through your connections to other sustainability-focused groups and people want to make the group aware of non-SLN events that our members would still be interested in attending, there is a "Discussions" tab toward the top of the screen. Please feel free to post any sustainable, green, outdoor etc. events here and check back on these often as they may be of interest to you but not being formally organized by our Meetup. No reason we can't boost attendance at other area "green events!" For example, you'll find a new Discussion there advertising for Green Drinks at the Great Dane and Sustain Dane's new Sustainable Business Network for business owners.

To get your creativity flowing I'll start with a few ideas we got from the survey. If you are an expert on a certain topic, offering to teach a skill or educate the group on an issue would be a great Meetup. If you want to start a book discussion or film screening, a few people together to plan these events (these don't need to be organized by only one person). Volunteer activities at your favorite outdoor venue or for an organization are also excellent Meetups. I will be more than happy to help facilitate the scheduling as we start out. It would be great to see everyone actively helping plan an event here or there to really make this an interactive and bottom-up group (and therefore, inherently sustainable). The success of our group has everything to do with the contributions of its members, and with such a large and diverse membership contributing even a little bit, we can be one of the stronger groups in Madison.

Please do not hesitate to email Brian or myself about new Meetup ideas for the group, feedback on how things are going, and ideas for improving the website etc.

I look forward to an event-packed new year and to really getting everyone actively involved in shaping our group's Meetups to cover the diverse interests we all have.


Andy Gostisha

SLN Co-organizer
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