Category Archives: Sarah Lawrence Campus Events

Facilitation Workshop Notes

[ Hi Folks – These are the notes I (Kat) took during the facilitation workshop we had before winter break. They formatted themselves a little funny but I’m not sure how to edit them. Please let me know if they need clarifying ]


“What is consensus & How does it work?”
An informal facilitation workshop with Stephan Fink and Jillian Quinn Buckley of Occupy Wall Street



  • got in two groups, gave us the question: what would make you feel more comfortable in this space? to get accustomed to process
  • reviewed hand signals: spirit fingers, block
  • in facilitation – during review, she asked to hear from female-bodied folks since people who had spoken were both men

Ground Rules

  • active listening/internalizing
  • step up/step back: if you’re speaking a lot, sometimes step back and vise versa
  • be aware of voice volume
  • be aware of time limits
  • be present
  • progressive stack: folks with hands raised – people who are typically marginalized get listed first on stack if hands raised at same time. Same for folks who speak a lot.
  • look at needs behind what someone is saying, rather than comparing opinion: be empathetic, constructive
  • respect the space: self-facilitate, don’t put “baggage” on others
    • She went through and did temp check on items
      • brief discussion of gender powers on campus vs. general society
      • clarification of computer use


  • way of taking notes
  • Pizza example
  • like bubble graph
  • way of thinking “expansively” since our brains don’t really work linearly
  • in facilitation, he asks to hear last one from someone who hasn’t spoken yet

Consensus Explanation

    • applause in sign language is spirit fingers up – means I’m In Agreement
      • nuances of hand signals
  • finger pointing up – Point Of Information
    • info that changes the dialogue
    • used if person speaking is basing what they’re saying on wrong info
    • is a FACT that is a FACT to everyone
    • IMMEDIATELY gets attention, jumps folks on stack
  • “C” shape is clarifying question
    • recognizing that there’s something ambiguous about what person is saying that needs clarification
    • IMMEDIATELY gets attention, jumps folks on stack
  • Hands in shape of up triangle
    • Point of Process
    • gets folks on track – brings us to the agenda point we’re at
    • used often if we’re on Questions and some begins to rant instead of ask question
    • Should be directed at facilitator – NOT at person who is off process
  • Wagging fingers back and forth away from body
    • used to ask facilitator for permission to do the back and forth, get permission first
    • calls folks out for individual conversation if inappropriate, if convo doesn’t pertain to everyone
    • solution: ‘come talk with me afterward’
    • similar to point of process, actually, use point of process instead
  • Block
    • forearms crossed across chest
    • means: I have moral ethical safety concern that’s so big and I’ve tried raising this in other forms and I feel like I’ve been left behind in this and if this goes on, I’m leaving
    • overused at OWS a lot
    • this is – “this is totally racist” and unacceptable NOT “I don’t agree”
    • ask, is this something that’s going to completely halt our movement? if so, then it’s appropriate
    • Discussion of Process: THIS PROCESS IS NOT VOTING
      • should take vibes on agenda
      • Fake Proposal: We should all wear green shirts from now on!!!
  1. Facilitator says, Now for the Proposal: Proposer person has floor, explains reasons for proposal
  2. Fac says, great. Questions? Open Stack:
  • take names, people talk individually and are answered individually
  • close stack if lots of repetitions
  1. Fac opens Concerns. Open Stack:
  • don’t have clarifying questions, but have concerns like, I hate Green
  1. Fac opens Friendly Amendments
  • “I think we should actually wear pink shirts”
  • make additions to proposal
  • Proposer can decide to take it or not take it
  • up to proposer to accept amendment: if someone has issue with amendment, can block it and then address that.
  1. Temp Check:
  • Proposer restates proposal with amendments accepted, doesn’t say ones not accepted
  • if not good reception, offer for them to table it
  • offer to meet with folks separately to have clarifying conversation so we can agree on something: a break-out group is suited for people who really care about the issue
  1. Ask for Blocks
  • No blocks? – CONSENSUS!!!!!!!!!!
  • Blocks: each gets to voice why
  • OWS does 9/10 – if ten percent are against, not doing it
  1. Stand Asides:
  • middle spirit fingers, or they stand aside
  • means: I’m not into it, not a moral concern though, but I understand its important to you so that’s okay
    • **OWS is using 9/10ths more often now, which is not cool
    • ROLES
  1. Facilitator
  • front of room, mirror back to the group what they’re seeing.
  • responsible for moving process forward,
  • do not give opinions or twinkle
  • keep folks accountable
  1. Stack Keeper
  • see people for stack
  • write name down
  1. Fac Greeter
  • help folks understand the process, explain why off process or what’s going on
  1. Vibes
  • calls group out for vibes, offers solutions to equalize vibes
  • spirit vegetables are one, dances, give inspirational speeches,
  1. Time
  • make signs, raise them
  • 1 min, 30 sec, times up
  • “We love you, Time is Up”

Roleplay Activity

  • We Leanred: use discretion regarding facilitator’s participation


  • To focus folks:
    • clap once if you can hear me, repeated until silent
    • Mic Check
      • not to be used if 2 people are arguing,
      • After usin Point of Process without avail, use instead clap once if you can hear me to bring back to silence so folks aren’t comfortable yelling anymore
      • Projecting
      • Redirecting folks if arguing –
      • “I’m hearing”
        • be active listeners, reflecting back what’s said in the room.
        • I’m hearing this concern, is it common?
        • Okay, you’re obviously uncomfortable with this person, so let’s get a mediator but move it out of the larger space
        • Provide outlet: Soap Box after GA or before
        • Building a culture
          • accountability to their actions
          • Facs should be cheerleader role, get people hyped – get people invested
            • take a moment to celebrate consensus
            • be supportive, but not personally involved
            • keep group vibes in mind
  • part of the process is breaking process when it needs to happen, taking group’s thoughts into consideration: ex. should we try to get consensus about this proposal, or postpone it for smaller meetings?
  • If folks are fighting and screaming, its your responsibility to settle it. BUT if they aren’t listening to your mediation, use the HAND SYMBOL of hands over head in shape of house: “Bring it home” “respect the house” – says to folks having side convos to be quiet, so fac can address fighting parties by saying, “I’m not moving forward until this is over”
  • Breakout Groups
    • who’s interested in specific thing? meet afterward
    • Bottom Lining
      • I’ll bottom line buying the tents
        • person responsible for finding tents at good prices, bringing back to group for consensus, logistically get to park
        • coordinator to get those things to happen

Event: Facilitation Workshop & Meeting of the Minds

Saturday, December 3rd, from 3-5pm in the SLC Pillow Room
“What is consensus & How does it work?”
An informal facilitation workshop with Stephan Fink and Jillian Quinn Buckley of Occupy Wall Street
“How can full time students be more involved in the Occupy Movement?” 
A creative discussion concerning the student “role” in the Occupy Movement. An organizational meeting for future campus involvement with OWS.”
Join us this Saturday and lend your voice.
RSVP via FB event:

OWS Teach-In Information

First SLC Teach-InThe following are each speaker’s short biographies and descriptions  of their discussions from today’s teach-in:

  1. Kim Christensen (Economics and Public Policy Professor at Sarah Lawrence College)

Bio: Dr. Christensen’s research focuses on the intersection of economics with public policy issues, with a particular emphasis on issues of race, gender, class, and labor. She is a long-time political activist, most recently involved in OWS.

Talk: “How Did We Get Here? The Economic and Political Context for OWS.”: “Following a brief survey of the state of the mortgage/housing market, this talk situates the current economic crisis in the deregulation mania of the 1990s and 2000s, and in the increasing inequalities of income and wealth. We will locate this increasing inequality in both structural changes in the global economy and in regressive government policies that disproportionately favor the top 1%.”

  1. Dominic Corva (Latin American Politics Professor at Sarah Lawrence College):

Bio: Dr. Corva is a Political Geographer. His research interests include the role of social movements in political formation, the geopolitics of the “war on drugs” in the Western Hemisphere, transnational governance and state repression, biopolitics and hegemonic strategy, and the political economy of commodity chains.

Talk: “Cautionary Tales, Horizontal Tactics and Common Grounds: Notes and Notions from Occupied Latin America”: This talk presents parallels between the politics and tactics of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and those of recent social movements in Latin America that are also concerned with inequality and the dominance of financial interests in their governments’ economic policies.

  1. Jamee Moudud (Economics Professor at Sarah Lawrence College):

Bio: Dr. Moudud is an economics professor whose research publications focus on the relationship between industrial competition, innovation, and the developmental welfare state.

Talk: “Challenging the Austerity Framework: Notes for the Occupy Wall Street Movement”: This talk will suggest that the scholarly work that should underpin the potential positive contributions of the OWS has to (a) link business history with the struggle for social justice (b) show why the call for social relief and the role of the State has nothing to do with “socialism” as the Tea Party suggests (c) show the need for a Jobs program based, in part, on repairing and extending the country’s decaying public infrastructure: in short the need for a New Poor People’s campaign and (d) show that long-term socio-economic problems facing the country and the world will deepen with austerity measures which tend to squash innovations of all kinds.

  1. Joey De Jesus (2nd year Graduate Student at Sarah Lawrence College):

Bio: Recent graduate of Oberlin College currently a second year in the MFA program in poetry. He has been involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Talk: “The Presence of Poetry in the Occupy Wall Street Camps”: This talk will discuss poetry events in the Occupy Wall Street Camp at Liberty Square/Zucatti Park. It will highlight some ways in which the movement is being used as a platform for poetic discourse as exemplified by the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology. This talk will also discuss the way poetry confronts the commodification of language by eliminating silence and by emphasizing a mode of communication that relies on the human capacity for empathy over explanation, fact-telling and narrative rationality. Poetry is a way of being, not a way of getting something done, and is, perhaps, the proposed alternative the Occupy Wall Street movement asks for.

  1. Jillian Buckley (Alumni, SLC’ 11):

Bio: Graduated in 2011 from the MFA program in poetry. Currently in outreach working group at occupy wall street.

We were able to stream the event LIVE today!! To view these clips, click here!

Here is the itinerary from our event today!

Got comments or questions regarding the event? Email if you want more information or want to be put on our email list!


OWS Teach-In: Saturday November 19th!

In the context of the current economic crisis, and initiatives to push through austerity programs by some political forces:

What is the Occupy Wall Street Movement about, and what are some of the issues and challenges it confronts?

Please join us for a Teach-In with SLC faculty members who will provide a historical, political, economic, and social analysis on the current situation. Speakers: Jamee Moudud (Economics), Dominic Corva (Latin American Politics), and Kim Christensen (Economics). With SLC Alumnus Jillian Quinn Buckley, and Graduate Student Joey De Jesus.

Moderated by: Ingrid Loveras, Rob Winslow, and Shay Roman.

This Teach-In is a mutual dialogue among all members of our community regarding this important political movement.

Here is our FB event:

And if you can’t be there, watch us LIVE: