Group-Wisdom Model for Student Self-Organizing

Twice a month, residents of the women's dorm gather together for a group meeting. The residents take turns facilitating the meeting and taking notes. Meetings begin with a brief check-in, and then the agenda starts. Anyone can add to the agenda, and contribute to the discussion. 

"The energy during the meetings is great. We get to connect as a community, keep each other informed, and create a mutually supportive living environment. There is always a lot of laughter" says an MA student.

The dorm meetings are run using a format called the Group-Wisdom model. The method is inspired by the self-managament system Holoacracy, a new method of organizing that has been adopted by companies and organizations around the world. DRBU students and staff modified aspects of Holacracy for DRBU, and it has been in practice around campus for the last several years. 

The Group-Wisdom model gives everyone a chance to share their perspective for the benefit of the group and helps facilitate honest and efficient conversation so people are on the same page during the discussion. At the end of the Fall semester, several students reflected that the meetings contributed to building a supportive and happy community in the dorm.

Below are basic instructions on running a meeting:

How to run a meeting using the Group-Wisdom model:

This round is a space for every participant to check-in with the group and get present for the meeting. Everyone speaks, one at a time.

"Any updates?" A simple space to give the group updates, anyone can participate. Clarifying questions are allowed, but no discussion. If anyone needs to discuss the topic further, they are invited to create an agenda item.

Build the Agenda
Use one or two words to capture a topic for discussion and add it to the agenda. There is no specific order and anyone can add items to the agenda. Any participant can also add items to the agenda later.

Process each agenda item
Once the agenda is complete, the Facilitator starts going through the list. The goal is to process all the agenda items in the time allotted, therefore the time per agenda item is limited. The agenda-item holder speaks first. Everybody can participate in the discussion as long as it's helping the agenda-item holder to move forward. As soon as the agenda-item holder got what he/she needs or is ready to stop the discussion, the Facilitator moves on to the next agenda item. 

Each person can share a closing reflection to improve the next meetings. No discussion.

Modified from