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ESIP’s Meeting Culture and Community Participation Guidelines

ESIP’s Meeting Culture and Community Participation Guidelines

Credit: Yuhan Du via Unsplash

As we welcome our community back to in-person gatherings, our Executive Director Susan Shingledecker shares reflections on the meeting culture and Community Participation Guidelines for Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP).

It has been 30 months since the ESIP community has gathered in person. The excitement builds each day as we get closer to our 2022 July ESIP Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The ESIP staff, Meetings Committee and Board of Directors have worked hard to navigate the many challenges of returning to in-person meetings while ensuring virtual access as well. 

We do not consider the ESIP Meeting a hybrid gathering — the experience will not be the same for in-person and virtual attendees, and some events are in-person only — but it matters to us to make the ESIP Meeting as accessible as possible.

ESIP is built on COMMUNITY. For that reason we continue to lean into the Community Participation Guidelines that were adopted by ESIP last year and we have used these as our North Star when faced with complex decisions around a return to in-person gatherings. Here are the expected behaviors listed in the ESIP Community Participation Guidelines:

  • Be Respectful
  • Be Direct but Professional 
  • Be Inclusive
  • Understand Different Perspectives
  • Appreciate and Accommodate our Similarities and Differences
  • Lead By Example

Allow me to share below how we have applied the Community Participation Guidelines to decisions specifically around COVID-19 and alcohol for our meetings.

Welcome to the ESIP Meeting

ESIP Meetings are collaborative, community-driven events that bring together the Earth science data community. They happen each January and July. 

To explore complex topics, share work from across our 30+ Collaboration Areas, and pull in the latest updates on new technology and tools, ESIP Meetings rely on interactive formats. Collaboration and connections are key — from plenaries to breakout groups, from wide strategy discussions to focused do-a-thons.

What is ESIP doing about COVID-19 at the July meeting?

We have asked that all who attend the ESIP Meeting in-person be vaccinated. We are following the CDC guidance regarding masking for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which as of today is low and masks are not required. 

That said, we encourage anyone to wear a mask if that increases your comfort level fully engaging with the meeting. We have heard from a few community members who would prefer mandatory masking, and we have heard from equally as many who appreciate the voluntary approach. Additionally we know of a number of ESIP Community members who due to various disabilities have challenges with masks. 

I ask that we all be understanding, compassionate and respectful as we all reacquaint ourselves with in-person meetings.

We ask that you take a rapid test before traveling to the meeting. ESIP will have a limited supply of masks and rapid COVID-19 tests available. Should you experience an onset of symptoms or are feeling ill, we request that you remove yourself from the conference area and test as soon as possible. We have provided virtual access to the meeting for everyone, so you are encouraged to join us remotely.

Additionally, we have made sure plenaries and breakout sessions are available virtually. Every session is being recorded on Zoom and registered participants will have access through Qiqochat and the plenary Q&A will run through Slido.

New to ESIP? Check out ESIP 101

This ESIP 101 presentation gives a fast-paced overview of the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) and the many ways you can get involved.

Why is ESIP not serving alcohol at the Research Showcase?

Sharing a beverage with a colleague can be some of the best conference memories and networking. Alcohol can also have negative effects on behavior and can complicate power dynamics and interactions. 

We are excited to change things up and offer an Opening Reception on Tuesday night. This social event will feature appetizers and a limited beer and wine bar. On Wednesday night for our Research Showcase, we will be serving light food and we have chosen not to serve alcohol. This was a conscious decision: The event is a time for lively but sober conversations. We feel this will allow participants to give poster and demo presenters their full attention. Our Thursday night event — FUNding Friday Poster Making and Local Innovators Meet-n-Greet at Bar Louie – North Shore — will have a cash bar and food available for purchase at the venue.

Looking Forward: ESIP Community Participation Guidelines

We know that the world has shifted in ways we see and in many ways not yet seen. 

We know that travel has taken on new meaning. For some they are eager for familiarity and for others they are excited not to return to life as before. 

Whether it is to lower carbon footprints, to adapt to travel budget changes or to expand our reach, especially to more remote areas of the world, ESIP plans to hold one in-person meeting and one virtual meeting each year. We feel this can help us increase our reach in an inclusive and climate-friendly way.

We also know that meeting and travel costs are a barrier for many. We work to keep attendance affordable to all and offer registration assistance and scholarship opportunities. 

The ESIP community  works to maximize the value and use of Earth Science data. Meeting together and working together is core to how we create this impact. We will continue to innovate and iterate to best support the community and we hope you will join us!

Reporting Process through the ESIP Community Participation Guidelines

The ESIP community is an incredible group of professionals. The staff and Board are committed to supporting and growing this community in any way possible. If at any time you experience behavior in an ESIP space that runs counter to our Community Participation Guidelines we ask you contact Susan Shingledecker, a member of the ESIP staff or a Board member or file a report online through Integrity Counts. We have a robust system in place to ensure that ESIP is the professional, supportive and inclusive community we count on.