The Short Version: We are launching a virtual Erb community to connect current and past Erbers! We know this is a big read but encourage you to join and read the information below!
Hello Erbers Near and Far,
We on the Erb Student Advisory Board have been working this past year on best ways to connect current Erbers to past Erbers—after hearing a call for more connection from both parties during Erb Returns this past Fall. Given the current COVID-19 epidemic and people’s ever-increasing desire for more connection, we could not be more thrilled to announce our launch of a Slack Channel that will serve as a virtual Erb community hub! We hope that every Erb student and alumni joins this channel. To find out more about our vision and how to join, please keep reading.
Introducing the Erb Community Online:
Are you a current student that is trying to pivot in their career or learn more about an intersection of business and sustainability? Do you wish you had a way to learn from the wise Erbs that came before you? Are you an alumni that misses being surrounded by the Erb community and wishes there was a way to better connect to other alumni about the highs and lows of life out in the real world? Are you working on a tough project and need some expertise from the Erb hive mind? Did a new policy pass or did a new article get published about current events that you want to discuss with like minded folks?
We have all been there, and that is why we are so excited to be launching a Slack channel—a virtual communication workspace—as a way of connecting current and past Erbers.
We all know one of the premier strengths of the Erb institute is the enthusiastic alumni community. Whether it is through projects, internship and job opportunities, or hundreds of networking and advising calls, the Erb community provides students and alumni alike a wealth of resources and support. However, in speaking with both students and alumni, we found that Erbers often run into various barriers in attempting to take full advantage of these resources. Challenges range from out of date information to simply not knowing who the best person is to reach out to. Our goal is to break down some of these barriers by bringing the Erb community online!
We want this Slack channel to be an Erb hub of knowledge, resources, and community. As we grow in numbers and the problems businesses face become more complex, we all need to lean on our community more than ever. Below we have some resources about how to join the platform, and FAQs.
We are so excited about this platform and hope that it brings value, connection, and learning to our community. Please feel free to reach out to either of us (contact information below) with any questions.
Greg Phillips and Madeleine Carnemark, and Carlotta Pham
2019 Co-Presidents of Erb SAB, and 2020 VP of Alumni Engagement
Already know about slack and ready to go? Check out Norms and Best Practices (attached) and Join with this link!
Want to learn more or have some questions, read the FAQ and Norms and Best Practices attachments. Also feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Slack?
Slack is a collaboration hub that can replace email to help you and your team work together seamlessly. It’s designed to support the way people naturally work together, so you can collaborate with people online as efficiently as you do face-to-face. Read more here.
How will this platform work?
The feature of Slack that we believe will be the most beneficial to the Erb community is the ability to create sub channels within the broader Erb Slack channel. These sub conversations will enable us to create topic or industry specific conversations, keeping the broader channel well organized, and better allowing students and alumni to target their conversations toward those who might be best to contribute. To begin, the Slack will have channels centered around geography, interest, and other. To learn more about available channels and how to join, see Norms and Best Practices.
Who is this for?
This tool is exclusively for members of the Erb community, including current students, alumni, and the Erb faculty and staff. This channel is not for prospective Erbers, friends of Erbers, or non-Erb professionals in the sustainability space.
How do I set it up?
Setting up Slack for desktop or phone is easy! Follow the instructions here for joining an existing workspace. Here is the link to join: https://join.slack.com/t/erbcommunity/shared_invite/zt-d1vbyj45-uYLukvIQDkwbBLcbBp4zKg
Feel free to reach out with questions.
Why not use LinkedIn?
While LinkedIn is ideal for networking with specific individuals, researching people’s experience, and sharing content, it is less effective at fostering a conversation within a specific community like Erb. There is no effective conversational feature that allows us to seek knowledge from the broader community.
Why not use email?
This is intended to be supplementary to email. As students, we have found that it is not always easy to find the right person to email about a topic, or that email addresses are out of date. We hope that this platform will be one that the majority of the Erb community chooses to opt into.
Do I have to be on slack all the time?
No. Slack has both a mobile and desktop version. You can keep slack closed and allow notifications or turn it on and off. Slack allows you to choose what type of content you receive alerts for, ranging from everything, to only messages in which you are mentioned. Thus, you can engage at whatever level you desire.
Is there a mobile version?
Yes. Slack has a mobile application that functions very similarly to the desktop version and is very similar to any familiar texting platform. You can also receive mobile notifications to help better engage when you are mentioned on a thread.
Norms and Best Practices for Erb Slack
In order to make this tool as valuable as we believe it can be, we wanted to establish some basic norms, and convey how we believe it can best be used
Keep it professional yet fun! The beauty of the Erb community is that we are informal, collaborative, and welcoming. We want this to be the case online as well. While this Slack channel is intended to foster professional conversations and social networking, we do not want anyone to feel pressure in reaching out to Erbers. While there will certainly be channels that are socially oriented, we hope that these conversations can be kept appropriate and cordial.
Feel free to tag whole channels or individuals: One of the main reasons we believe Slack will be a valuable tool is the ability to tag both individuals and whole channels. For example, if you have a question about a specific piece of energy related legislation in a state and are in search of an expert on the topic, you can address the whole energy channel. If you see a message of that sort and are an expert, you can respond. If you know someone in the Erb community who has expertise on that topic, you can tag them in a response, which will notify them, and loop them into the conversation. It is via this functionality that we hope to use slack to capitalize on the collective expertise of Erb. See more about tagging here.
Take one on one conversations private: Once you have found the right person to talk to and the connection has been made, please take the conversation private. This can be done within slack via one on one conversations, or via good old-fashioned email and phone. We would like to limit one on one conversations on the public channels.
Use channel tags to enter pre-made groups or create new groups: To ensure that everyone has access to channels and to organize your workspace, we encourage the use of channel tags. The three channel tags separate groups into geography, interest, and other. To start off the workspace, we have created the following channels based on major Erb hubs and interests. Please feel free to join as many channels as you like/are relevant. To join a channel, see instructions here. To create a new channel, see instructions here. If making a new channel, please remember to use the proper channel tag to keep workspaces organized!