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Why is Community Meeting at the PLP More Than Just a Meeting?December 28, 2020
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,”, this proverb aligns with the idea of cooperation which has always been deep-rooted in Parami's philosophy, and the weekly community meetings at Parami Leadership Program definitely showcase it.
Community meeting, the core tradition of the Parami Leadership Program (PLP), is held every Friday for students and teachers to share and brainstorm plans, evaluate ideas, as well as, a space to catch up with each other.
In every community meeting, one of the students serves as a Chairperson along with his/her chosen Secretary, who would assist with note taking during the discussion. As a part of the tradition, all attendees have to dance to the music selected by the Chairperson. Then, the meeting begins according to the agenda list proposed by faculty or students.
The faculty or students propose items/activities to be announced or talked through on the agenda list. When the list is completed, the discussion begins starting from the top-most task. Those who propose have to justify their ideas, and the attendees have to raise their hand if they want to follow-up or comment on the discussion.
In physical meetings, once someone puts a hand up to ask questions, the chin-lone (cane ball) is passed onto the person. The laugh breaks out when a person misses the ball or throws it too hard that another person cannot catch. The dynamic energy is felt in the atmosphere as people do not feel held back in sharing their honest thoughts and opinions.
Community meetings provide students the opportunity to get familiar with the process of formal meetings. Motion to start, Seconded, All in favor, All oppose, and Motion to adjourn, these formal meeting codes are all used throughout the session. It may feel a bit too formal, but this does add a sense of belonging and uniqueness. Moreover, one may also feel like being professionally present in a parliament meeting.
Nevertheless, faculty and students share the love of fun activities, so they bring the hot seat into their conversation. In this session, one faculty or staff is chosen to answer the questions thrown by the attendees within 10 minutes. Types of questions range from something serious [Do you agree with Darwinism?] to something light and funny [Is your mustache impermanent?], which aims to fill the atmosphere with eagerness and waves of laughter.
Despite being unnoticeable, the aura of leadership exists even in the community meeting. The meeting allows students to speak up and put themselves out there. They are willing to be vulnerable, sharing their ideas with others, and asking for feedback and suggestions. These are all the critical aspects of good leaders, and community meeting provides an ideal space for honing all these skills.
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