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High turn-over communities

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Hello Joshua!

I am part of an on-campus cooperative at UC Davis called the domes. As a student co-op, we have high turn over each summer (%33-%66). We are working on different structures to efficiently pass on skills needed to live with 25 other people. So far we have a hand book of sorts and an orientation at the beginning of the year. Aside from those, do you have any thoughts or suggestions for what else we might do to settle in as a community with our new members? Or maybe there are key things to include in a hand book or orientation?

(and welcome to the forums!)
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Hi Jake,

How about a series of videos? Maybe a dedicated youtube channel that shows hands-on examples. A big plus of that is being able to direct students to the channel remotely, and they can review before arriving, or at their leisure through the year. Maybe have a big orientation "Screening" party where all the videos are played back to back, giving time for Q&A between vids.

I've made a couple training videos in the past to train different departments on software. The hardest part is keeping some one's attention (Try to keep it simple, between 2 - 5 minutes. More short videos is better than one big long one). Maybe UC Davis has an AV department you could enlist? Another big factor that plays a role in "watchability" is production value.

Best wishes!

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ok we have the same sorta set up and handbook and orientation...the handbook is thorough and in two parts...one aspect is the organizational manual that talks about daily life procedures and the other is the project and goals which is more specific to organizational plans. we reviewed these documents for many years on annual basis, it was good review and served to align and empower staff on regular basis...but we got bored with it, keeping it up to date and most often applicants did not read it because it was boring and out of context...

here the application and those documents

orientation we have onsite with a bullet point checklist of info...the orientation is administered by staff buddy who serves as primary liasion for new resident. there are 3 week and thereafter meetings scheduled to discuss and refine expectations...

there is an ecohouse at plymouth state university here with similar turnover issues...seems that alignment early with purpose, intentions and goals of campus organization and then design how to meet those goals with the group...in other words what are the agreed rules for engagement? how are conflicts resolved?
Jake Parkhurst
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Thanks for the guidance Josh!

Adding the ongoing projects to the handbook is a great idea! Too make it less boring, what if there was a treasure hunt section of the application that led to a secret password for applying:

1) "What is the third letter in the third paragraph of our third oldest project?"
2) "What is the first vowel in..."
1) _ 2) _ 3) _ 4) _ 5) _

... or more simply, a questionnaire about ongoing projects.

Corey- Video would be sweet. You're right about the watchability aspect of it though. I am worried that video might not be flexible enough to change with the community. (Although that brings up the larger issue of wether we should just hash out our values and write them in stone or continue our existing structure that fluctuates from generation to generation.)

Thank you both!
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