AAUW of Vermont Board of Directors

Minutes of the November 3, 2012 Leaders Meeting
Chellis House, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont

Present
Mary Feidner, Lonnie Fisher, Margaret Galgano, Gudrun Hutchins, Louise Luring, Julie Mackaman, Pat Morgan, Barbara Stearns

Welcome and Call to Order
President Galgano called the meeting to order at 10:10 am, welcoming officers and representatives from the Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington and Middlebury AAUW branches. Mackaman volunteered to serve as the meeting’s Secretary, in compliance with national AAUW bylaws and the Internal Revenue Service.

President’s Report
Galgano summarized the participation of AAUW of Vermont, following a poll of AAUW state leaders, as an amicus curiae in the amicus brief submitted by the Vermont Commission on Women and other organizations and individuals dedicated to gender equity in support of the plaintiff in the case of Wendie Dreves v. Hudson Retail Group (U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, Civil Action
No.2:11-cv-4).

She reported on her discussion with Lin Rising about how AAUW of Connecticut restructured its organization to focus on developing college/university partner memberships, while also maintaining its branches. As AAUW of Vermont considers its own structure, Galgano said that Lin Rising would be available to share Connecticut’s thus far successful initiative.

Galgano announced that Middlebury College is a new site for national AAUW’s “Elect Her” leadership program, which encourages and trains college women to run for student government on their campuses.

Future of State AAUW
Galgano reviewed several organizational challenges facing AAUW of Vermont, particularly the difficulty in cultivating new leaders to fill officer positions (most of the 2011-12 officers have continued for 2012-13). The group discussed the problems inherent in meetings that require travel from various parts of the state and in a generally aging and decreasing membership base.

The group reviewed options that had been presented by Hutchins in advance of the meeting: 1). continue with current structure, including a minimum of three required officers (President or Administrative Contact, Financial Officer or Financial Contact; Secretary); 2). become inactive, with the possibility of re-activating in the future; or 3). disband. Galgano added a fourth possible option of restructuring along the lines of AAUW of Connecticut, with a revised focus, such as the college/university partner membership program. The group expressed no interest in de-activating or disbanding, but instead discussed ideas for a streamlined focus that could be carried out on any of several levels (“small, medium or large”) with its current or revised board structure.

The idea that garnered the most enthusiasm was for AAUW of Vermont to identify a high-profile topic of fundamental importance to Vermont women and girls, most likely a legislative issue, and focus its efforts on advocating on its behalf and promoting the issue and AAUW of Vermont’s advocacy role among branch members and college/university partner members. Such a focus may be the best option to leverage the organization’s name, heighten awareness of its mission,
and brand it as an effective advocate for Vermont women. It could open up or strengthen natural partnerships with other organizations, such as the Vermont Commission on Women. No vote was taken but it was decided to continue with the current structure and officeholders, and resume this discussion in a meeting to be convened by Galgano in mid-January 2013, with additional input from officers and branch representatives absent at this meeting.

Reports

Treasurer. The group reviewed the report submitted in advance by Treasurer Ambler, which reflects total assets of $5,240.18, with branch membership figures from Bennington (59), Brattleboro (38), Burlington (30) and Middlebury (22). In 2012, AAUW of Vermont awarded $500 to a Middlebury College student to support her participation in the 2012 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). Hutchins moved, Fisher seconded that $500 be authorized in NCCWSL scholarship funds for one Vermont female college student to attend the conference next summer; motion approved.

Public Policy. Luring, who also serves as the state AAUW Liaison to the Vermont Commission on Women (VCW), announced that Cary Brown has been named the new Executive Director of VCW. She also reported that many colleges have extended their application deadlines because of Hurricane Sandy. Hutchins mentioned changes in federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements, reducing support from 18 to 12 semesters, that will adversely affect many college students.

Communications. Hutchins said she will contact branches for updated program and contact information for use on the AAUW of Vermont website. In lieu of republishing a hard copy of the AAUW Vermont Leaders booklet, last published and distributed in 2011-12, Hutchins will email an electronic file to state board members and branch officers with updated contact information.

Special Guests
Guests Karin Hanta, Director of Middlebury’s Chellis House, and Middlebury sophomore Alex Strott joined the group for the lunch break. Alex, who attended NCCWSL in 2012 with support from an AAUW of Vermont scholarship, spoke of her experience at the student leadership conference.

Respectfully submitted,

Julie Mackaman, Acting Secretary


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