Dear RPPN Supporters:
As you have undoubtedly noticed, RPPN has been a little (ok, very) quiet. While this is in part due to the nature of managing a volunteer organization, it is also a purposeful absence – one filled with internal reflection and refinement. Building upon the established framework that RPPN has had in place since 2000, but with an eye toward a renewed emphasis on the network aspect of the organization, we’ve been rewiring RPPN. Here’s the deal.
RPPN has always been an organization built on the ideas, activities, and needs of its members, volunteers, and supporters, that is, the Network. A national grassroots organization, if you will. In fact, the founding of RPPN was based on the fact that there was a tangible need to connect and rally interested individuals and organizations from throughout the country and provide an open forum for the exchanging of ideas and support. Over the past 10+ years, the means by which we’ve connected the network has varied, whether through formal notices, an e-mail listserve, on-site meetings at conferences and workshops, or whatever else made itself available. Some of these have been more effective than others and some have been more consistent than others. Regardless, whatever the past shortcomings, get ready to experience a revived network, with RPPN’s spoken commitment to fostering connections at a new level. Not only are we focusing on building the network and improving how the network connects with leadership but we’re also emphasizing how individuals in the network connect with one another to establish meaningful and helpful connections in the effort to lead the recent past preservation movement. After all, RPPN, as a grassroots organization, is about you. You should be able to connect and engage freely to foster mutual appreciation of our recent past. Going forward – you can. We’ll cover individual features of the new RPPN in their own posts over the next week or so, but for now, a briefing.
Connecting You With Leadership: In the past, it hasn’t been so easy to connect with the team behind RPPN except for the president. We’re moving away from that. No more faceless organization. Get to know the people behind RPPN; get to know their passions, their reasons for being involved with RPPN. Share your stories and ask questions. Just as it’s important to be able to connect with others in the Network, it’s important to be able to connect with the leadership of RPPN. We each have our own personal expertise, geographic knowledge and connections that we should be sharing with you, the network. From this point on, we will. You can now contact any member of the RPPN board through our website.
Social Media: While RPPN has utilized social media for awhile now to carry its message and connect its supporters, we’ve never fully utilized outlets to their full capacity and to the benefit of the network. Now, we’re focusing our social media plan to make sure it’s the most useful tool possible. That may mean ending some accounts so we can focus on those that truly provide the network the best opportunity to connect and share. We’ll also be looking into new avenues to collect research questions and requests for project assistance, replacing the aging listserve system. Our new venue will allow us to archive messages so they become part of the permanent record for future researchers. We’ll keep you posted on this. In the meantime, keep on following us in the usual spots: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Flickr.
State Representatives: Last year RPPN began taking applications for the re-visioned State Representative program, which was originally part of RPPN during its infancy in 2000. The purpose of the program is to establish clearinghouses in each state, where members and supporters can go for information, assistance, updates on endangered properties, etc. Each state will have a person or persons who, with RPPN, will build the local network in a particular locale to strengthen the local knowledge base, on-the-ground support, and personal connections. They will also give RPPN a local presence at conferences, workshops, and meetings, so that they can connect with others passionate about recent past preservation. The State Rep program, a volunteer-based initiative, is completely up to you to make it what you want – but we think it’s more fun when you take an active role! For those of you who previously contacted us about being a State Rep, don’t worry, we’ve got your name and will be in touch shortly. For others, if you are interested in learning more about the State Representative program, benefits, and duties, please contact us at email@example.com.
Website Portals: One new feature of the website speaks directly to the goal of improving the network, facilitating new and better connections. We’ve created state portals for each in the U.S. Each portal will collect all information related to modernism and the recent past in that particular state, as well as directly link you to the State Representative and any discussions dealing with issues in that state. For example, if someone wants to find anything related to Michigan, they’ll simply be able to go to michigan.recentpast.org (not yet active). These portals will literally serve as one-stop shops for all things in that particular state, and they’ll available to everyone. We’ll post a follow-up when these are available, but in the meantime, if you’re interested in helping guide the direction of the portal for your state, give us a shout.
The Bulletin: We will also be publishing new issues of the Bulletin, our quarterly magazine that is distributed to preservationists, historians, and interested parties throughout the country. The Bulletin is a full-color digital publication that features stories of general interest, endangered resources, new research, upcoming events, and advocacy issues from throughout the country. They’re your chance to directly share your story, your passion, your place of interest with the network at-large. If you’ve never read the Bulletin, feel free to dig into our archives and check out our past issues.
Students: RPPN continues to hold a strong focus on bringing students into the network. As our future historians, preservationists, and activists, we recognize the important role that our current and recent students will play in the future of the movement. RPPN provides a unique opportunity for you as a student to get involved at the ground level, whether through volunteering, serving as a State Representative, or any other activity. We’ll also continue to seek out and bring awareness to the work of recent students, especially creative projects and theses, which comprise some of the most cutting edge work on the recent past. Your work deserves to be in front of other recent past advocates and RPPN will continue to lead the way among all organizations to make sure that it is. If you’re a student and interested in RPPN, send us a message to learn about the special ways in which you can get involved.
From my perspective, it is certainly an exciting time to be a part of the network, which provides connections in ways that really aren’t available through any other organization. The network truly is about the collective knowledge, experience, and passion of its members, whether you’re a student or a seasoned professional. It’s about you and your story, and RPPN will continue to lead advocacy, provide information, and build connections to promote and preserve the modern built environment. Whatever your interest in the recent past, we hope you’ll choose to join us in our mission and our vision, and we look forward to connecting with you. If you ever have a question about RPPN, the network, or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765.387.7776. Otherwise, stay tuned. Good stuff is on the way.
All the best,