You can start by asking yourself whether you are committed to reimagining education in response to the critical challenges facing the planet. Are you exploring new pedagogies which deepen our notions of Self and expand human consciousness? Are you supporting social movements, local communities and natural ecosystems? Are you working consistently with learners of age 17+? There is no one model for becoming an ‘ecoversity’. If you look through the website, you will notice that very different initiatives have joined the Ecoversities Alliance, exploring a range of learning areas such as sustainable living, social entrepreneurship, spirituality, cultural regeneration, ecosystem restoration, arts, direct actions, etc. Many of these initiatives are committed to respecting the autonomy of the learner, connecting with/replenishing local context, challenging violence and injustice, and aiming to decolonise knowledge.
The Alliance is an open ‘semi-structured’ platform meant to offer a wide space for co-learning/unlearning and learning from each other’s communities. The Alliance is designed to support diverse, dynamic, spontaneous, intimate friendships and collaborations between the members. We value the power of the ‘informal’ and encourage members to self-organize to collaborate on projects, publications and learning exchanges together. A steering committee of 6 members who have been participating and hosting the gatherings since 2014 is volunteering to support the spirit and the growth of the Alliance. Its role is also to administer grant funding received for collaborative activities.
We also try to work on a consensus decision-making process when it comes to decisions regarding our emerging collaborative. We respect the autonomy of every member and organization and encourage members to be critical, and raise their discomfort or objection when they occur in an open and respectful dialogue. Members can collaborate with other members to propose joint initiatives using the Ecoversities banner after discussing it with the steering committee. There are no strict rules about anything, but a respectful and generous attitude towards each other, kindness and mutual support, and an intention to enlarge our capacity to trust and work together in a committed way.
We invite all members to actively contribute to our network, by promoting and taking part in its activities, finding different ways to collaborate, and participating in collective decisions and events. As we grow, there is a need for more people to become involved in the day-to-day operations of our organization to support existing and new ecoversities in their efforts to thrive. We invite members to contribute 3-4 hours per month of voluntary service to the Ecoversities Alliance to support its operational aspects. There are various working groups connected with our initiatives: Publications Peer Review Committee, Germinator-Pollinator-Mentoring Committee, and Global and Regional Gathering Planning Committees, as well as Fundraisers, Communication, Social Media Collectives which you are invited to join. We also invite you to participate in your regional gatherings and actively collaborate with other Ecoversities in your region on relevant joint projects, hosting Ecoversities members, co-designing workshops, etc. Lastly, we invite you to participate in the annual Global Gathering, a fundamental experience to get to know the members, the ethos of the Alliance and its vision and mission.
The biggest benefit is to have a group of peers from around the world who share similar paths as you, and who are committed to re-imagining education and the ways in which we are, learn and relate. Collaborating within the Alliance can help your initiative grow and deepen, add legitimacy and credibility to our projects, strengthen our capacities and imagination, and thus expand the pool of learners and resources available to each of us.
The Alliance also offers grant funding to members for fellowships to travel to other ecoversities, participate in the global gatherings, organize regional gatherings, publish texts and produce films, participate in conferences, and promote and disseminate material within the network. A series of zoom talks were created to share our knowledge on specific questions, and share our perspectives. The network has also activated a campaign in support of members and communities in struggle.
There are currently no membership dues. Most of the ‘collective work’ of the Alliance takes place through voluntary efforts of the members. The idea behind gift culture is to experiment with and build an alternative economy which values everyone’s time and energy and is built on the principles of mutual care, solidarity, generosity, trust and open sharing. We are not dogmatic about how to proceed, and are considering retributing some members whose labor is becoming essential for the life of the organization. We would like to think that any of those who have benefitted from the Alliance through grants, fellowships and opportunities, will reciprocate the gifts with their share of care and dedication in what is needed.
Ecoversities has been built and nourished through relationships. In a similar way becoming a member means starting to weave relationships. If you would like to become part of the Alliance the first step is to reach out to an Alliance member in your region and introduce yourself and your project (see the Ecoversities page). The regional Alliance member will then recommend your membership to the Alliance and you will be sent a welcome letter. If you cannot identify an Alliance project or member in your region or have any questions on this process of membership, get in touch with us through the Contact page on this website.