Handbook

Overview

The Colorado Co-ops Study Circle is a community that brings together peers in the Colorado co-op movement. We convene to study, discuss, develop our skills, and build relationships. In the process, we aim to strengthen our local co-op movement through deepening our cooperative culture.

The Study Circle operates primarily through its Organizing Team, an evolving group of Study Circle participants that takes responsibility for maintaining the basic functions and empowering fellow participants. Meet the current team here.

Principles

OPENNESS. Anyone with an interest in co-ops is welcome to attend and participate. People can come and go as they please. There are no membership requirements except respecting the Study Circle’s rules and tenets as articulated in this handbook.

RESPECT, EQUITY, and SOLIDARITY. We all have different levels of knowledge; we come from different backgrounds and beliefs; we all have different co-ops that we work for, are helping start, or dream of. But we are united by our common interest in co-ops, and on that basis, we strive to show solidarity and respect to one another toward the success and development of our cooperative efforts.

PARTICIPATION. While the Organizing Team will handle the bulk of the circle logistics, participants can help bring snacks, drinks, and funds to share, as well as contribute ideas about the topics, schedule, and activities of our gatherings.

ANTI-OPPRESSION. We acknowledge that each of us experiences different degrees of privilege and marginalization as a result of systematic oppression, and we are each and all responsible for confronting oppressive behavior. Because cooperation requires respecting the equity and dignity of everybody, coercive, intolerant, aggressive, or abusive behavior is not welcome in this space.

CONCERN FOR COMMUNITY. We aim to be sensitive to the needs of our communities by making our Study Circle responsive and accessible to all. Together, we’d like to become a group capable of supporting our co-op ecosystem in times of difficulty and organizing to align what we do toward meeting the needs of our neighbors.

Participation

Study Circle events are free and open to the public. Anyone is welcome to participate who adheres to our Principles.

The Study Circle is a community designed to support participant leadership. The Organizing Team is responsible for regularly asking for input from all participants and for supporting participants in co-creating the Study Circle.

Participants are eligible to propose a Study Circle event or Power Hour episode. They can propose their idea by email to info@coloradocoops.info. Within a week a member of the Organizing Team should reply, either approving the idea or suggesting revisions for potential future approval. If approved, the Organizing Team supports the participant(s) to enact and promote their idea.

Participants must have attended at least two in-person Study Circle events over the past year in order to take part in governance processes outlined below.

Organizing Team

Organizing Team members make decisions about Study Circle policies in a closed Loomio group. Agreement on a decision requires at least 75% approval among those who vote, and no blocks, on a 3-day proposal.

Organizing Team members are responsible for carrying out their roles, which they agree on and revise together, and taking part in ongoing discussions about Study Circle business. Members have authority to operate and implement shared policies within their respective roles.

New members of the Organizing Team may be added by agreement among standing Organizing Team members. To join, prospective members should have attended at least two in-person Study Circle events in the past year. An Organizing Team member can also be added if supported by a petition of at least 20 participants. Organizing Team members may resign voluntarily, or they may be removed by consensus of all other members. A member can also be removed through a petition of at least 20 participants.

Organizing Team members are listed publicly on the Study Circle website for accountability and credit.

Economy

The Study Circle maintains a budget based on contributions from participants and backers. These funds are to be used exclusively to cover costs related to the activities of the Study Circle, including refreshments, publicity, and speaker fees. Finances are managed through the Study Circle’s Open Collective page, and all expenses should be publicly documented there. Decisions over costs should be made by consensus in the Organizing Team’s Loomio group.

Organizing Team members are unpaid volunteers, though we recognize this provision may be changed in the future to allow them to receive stipends for their work.

Evolution

This document may be revised by agreement of the Organizing Team, after such revisions are announced, with an opportunity for input, on the Study Circle email list.