Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Registration Open for NASCO Institute 2014

Registration is now open for NASCO Institute 2014, which will take place November 7-9 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. NASCO Institute is an exciting opportunity to meet and network with hundreds of co-opers from all over the U.S. and Canada, to deepen understandings of our movements, and to learn new cooperative skills.
 The deadline for the discounted early-bird rate is Friday, October 10, so register now on our website. Scholarship applications are due on Friday, September 26  - you can read more about our Low Income Scholarship Fund here.
 This year's conference theme "Co-ops for Life: Owning our Future," focuses on the importance of individual and organizational development as strategies for cross-sectoral movement building. This theme provides a space for you to reflect on your co-op's position in our broader movement, gain tools to support the sustainability of your organization in the long-term, and envision your own future as a cooperative leader and change agent. 
 Check out this year's schedule, course listings, and presenter bios - 2014 programming features seven course blocks filled with workshops on a wide variety of topics organized into six different course tracks (co-op skills, co-op development, anti-oppressive skills, the cooperative movement, large co-op specific tools, and topics for co-op staff and managers).
 Rather than showcasing only one keynote speaker this year, we'll be featuring two impressive speakers - Nikki MarĂ­n Baena, Co-Director of Cooperation Texas, will lead the keynote on Saturday and Rachel Plattus, Director of Youth and Student Organizing for the New Economy Coalition, will lead a plenary session on Sunday.
 Register on our website today! Our web registration system can accommodate group registration of up to 10 people at a time - if you require assistance with registration, particularly for larger groups, please email Rek Kwawer at If you have any questions about Institute in general, please email Morgan Crawford at
 In cooperation,
 The NASCO Staff
The Cooperative Skills Roundtables are designed as open, participatory spaces to build knowledge in areas that are key to running your co-op. Knowledgeable facilitators will guide the discussion, but more than anything roundtables will give participants a chance to hear how folks in the room have dealt with challenges at their own co-ops. Everyone will go home with a packet of resources which will also be available on the NASCO website.
Join Brian Van Slyke (Toolbox for Education & Social Action) & Charlie DeTar (NASCO Board) for a fun-filled evening as they share the games that they’ve created (Co-opoly, Moon Talk, and Flame War). Make a new friend, learn how Charlie and Brian created their games, and sharpen your cooperative skills all at once! This is guaranteed to be a good time.
Every year, the Banquet is a time for all participants of Institute to share the same space in reflection, over a hearty meal. We welcome new members to the movement and, in the Hall of Fame Ceremony, recognize individuals who have shown outstanding commitment to the cooperative movement through their hard work and tireless enthusiasm for cooperation. Those wishing to run for Active Member Representative will give brief speeches before members have the opportunity to vote for them.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is where NASCO members can voice their opinions and engage in NASCO’s governance. This get-together gives delegates a chance to think and speak together as a broad and diverse membership about the future we envision for NASCO's co-op education, development, and organizing. It is also the forum for active members to nominate and elect an Active Member Representative (AMR). The AMR is elected by active member co-ops at Institute and serves a one-year term on the NASCO board of directors.
AGM delegates will receive a reduction in their registration fees (1 per co-op). The AGM will take place on Sunday morning, during Course Blocks 5 & 6. Breakfast will be served for participants. All are welcome to attend the AGM. Voting privileges will be limited to one delegate per NASCO active member co-op. If your co-op would like to join NASCO or renew your membership, or if you have questions about participating in the AGM, please contact Rek at
Is there something that you’ve always wanted to share or teach? Do you have a rad skill that you’d like to showcase in a skillshare? Would you like to present a workshop for your co-op, but need feedback from other cooperators first? Well, we clearly had you in mind when we chose to host a Guerrilla Workshop this year at the Institute. At any point on Saturday or Sunday, presenters are welcome to self-organize and use either of two rooms that are designated solely for Guerrilla Workshops. Bring a note or flyer to the Registration Desk, and we can even advertise it for you!
The ICC Ann Arbor is made up of 19 houses with unique personalities and rich history.  Born during the Great Depression, growing by leaps and bounds in the sixties and seventies, and still going strong in 2011, the ICC has a long history of student cooperation. Join us on a tour led by ICC Ann Arbor members to hear (and see) the dirt on the ICC.
Folks had so much fun on the Detroit Tour last year that we’re bringing it back again! Departing the University of Michigan Student Union in Ann Arbor at 11:00 am and returning around 5:00 pm, tour participants will visit and learn about cooperative and community-based organizations that are serving the Detroit community and changing the local economy. More information will be posted on our website as the tour schedule is finalized. An additional fee of $20 per person, payable on-site or with registration, covers round trip transportation with local tour guides.
Introduced in 2006, the Commons is the caffeinated haven of Institute. It serves as a space for networking, hanging out with friends, participating in skillshares, holding informal caucuses and meetings, relaxing, browsing the bookstores, and drinking coffee & tea. Open from early morning to late at night, this will be the place to take a break from the packed weekend and connect with other co-opers.
The Friday Night Film Festival has become an Institute tradition. This year, we’re screening SHIFT CHANGE to explore the ways that worker-owned cooperatives can combat economic inequality and create new economic realities.
SHIFT CHANGE is an inspiring documentary film produced by award-winning Northwest filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin. At a time when many are disillusioned with big banks, big business, and growing inequality in the United States, employee ownership offers one of the solutions for workers and communities. SHIFT CHANGE visits thriving cooperative businesses in the U.S. and Spain, sharing on-the-ground experiences from the worker-owners on the front lines of the new economy.
In this interactive day-long intensive training on Saturday, the Catalyst Project will lead participants through developing visions for social change, exploring how institutional racism functions, and examining how white privilege undermines social justice efforts. We'll develop tools to build powerful multiracial movements for collective liberation. This workshop is geared towards white people; folks of all racial and ethnic identities are welcome to attend. In order to create a productive and interactive learning environment, participation will be limited to 30 people.
Caucuses are spaces for participants from similar identities to share experiences, strategize, and build power, as well as plan actions and draft proposals to bring to the AGM. Caucus participants elect a caucus chair to  keep each caucus active throughout the year and ti be an official representative to NASCO’s Diversity Congress. This year, the following caucuses will be organized: Women's Caucus; People of Color Caucus; Working Class Caucus; Queer/Trans Caucus; People with Disabilities Caucus; and the Collective Liberation Caucus.
The Collective Liberation Caucus is a forum to examine how our movements for liberation intersect with each other and to build our work based in a common vision of a liberated world.  How do our social justice efforts--fighting racism, working for gender justice or economic justice, creating collective access, and creating economic alternatives to capitalism--support each other?  What roles can we play to create more just institutions and a cooperative sector committed to justice?
Members of NASCO Development Services (NDS) investing member cooperatives, supporting members, potential members, former NDS clients, and former members will have the opportunity to learn about NDS's advocacy and development work. The luncheon is open to anyone interested in NDS's work.
Some free housing is available in local community homes and student housing co-ops. If you are interested in this option, you must fill out the application for community housing on the registration form. These spaces are limited, so please apply early. Rooms have also been reserved at local hotels for Institute participants and faculty. For more information about how to reserve these rooms at a discounted conference rate, please see our website.
In order to make Institute accessible for parents of young children, we provide referrals to experienced childcare providers who have agreed to be available during Saturday & Sunday of Institute on a sliding scale of $15-$30 per day. If you need childcare during Institute, please fill out the childcare section during registration. For more information, email Rek at
In order to keep transportation costs low, we encourage our participants to use low-cost travel alternatives (buses, trains, carpools) whenever possible. In an effort to facilitate the formation of carpools between different attendees, we've created a rideshare board using a third-party website. To use this board, please follow this link to post a ride or join a waitlist for future rides.
We actively strive to create an event that is fully accessible for all who wish to participate. We aim to avoid replicating the barriers in society that exclude and marginalize people. We are doing the following to ensure that the 2014 NASCO Institute is accessible:
+Offering need-based scholarships
+Making affordable childcare available
+Taking care to house participants in co-ops where they will feel safe and affirmed
+Assuring that conference sites, including all restrooms, are wheelchair accessible
+Asking about personal access needs in our registration form
+Displaying ingredients lists for all meals; including vegan, vegetarian and meat options
+Encouraging and supporting the participation of people identifying with historically marginalized groups within NASCO's membership
+Providing gender neutral restroom facilities as well as education on their necessity
+Asking that participants refrain from wearing strong smelling lotions, perfumes, or other chemically-scented body products (such as shampoo, body wash, and deodorant)
+Requesting that presenters speak loudly and clearly, respecting the needs of those who have impaired hearing
+Designating a quiet room where participants can take a break and rest
+Creating safer spaces for people of similar identities to caucus
+Providing materials in a variety of formats
+All of our attempts to equalize access are made within the limits of current resources and therefore are not perfect. However, we welcome suggestions for improvement and will do our best to implement them. 
For accessibility requests, please list them when you register or contact Rek at We appreciate your help in making the 2014 NASCO Institute an event that is welcoming and accessible to all who attend.

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