AWIU Chapters: Revive, Reinvigorate, Refresh
There’s a revival happening with AWIU chapters. Most AWIU members joined the organization to bring more collegiality and friendship into their lives; the pandemic suppressed the ability to congregate, but slowly, slowly, members – and chapters – are looking to gather in person and take up local projects.
“People want to get together,” says Carol Ann Warren, who lives in Pasadena, California. “Gatherings anchor people in an organization – and we all feel the need to socialize and get to know each other better.”
Carol Ann is working with AWIU consultant Miranda Cohen to revitalize AWIU chapter activities. They started in December, 2021, and have met twice with chapter chairs via Zoom. “Not all six chapters – Chicago, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Washington, D.C. – have chairs. And not all chapters know what direction to head in,” said Miranda, who noted that some chapters are more engaged than others, but that information on chapter direction and activities is hard to come by for everyone.
To fuel communication, Miranda produced a “Chapter Toolkit,” informing chapter chairs of the resources available to help them tell their stories to the wider AWIU membership.
Janice Colom, herself the Chicago chapter chair, unearthed an AWIU document from 2013 with guidelines on the role and responsibilities of a chapter chair. She chairs the Governance Committee, “so I’m always looking through AWIU documents,” she explains. “I was thrilled to discover this guide, as I think it will be really helpful to those members who may consider chairing a chapter.”
The Chapter Revival group is currently looking at establishing chapters in San Diego and Northern California/Washington State. “We also want to solidify a virtual chapter, for members who live far away from any of our established chapters,” explains Miranda. “We have members living in places such as upstate New York and Nashville. We have to find a way to make them feel more included in AWIU activities and meetings.” Miranda added that Passports, as well as members, live all over the country and that they need to be anchored in AWIU as well.