This post covers the major plans and updates the CEA uni groups team intends to implement over the next quarter. Specifically, this post goes over our plans to:

  • Re-focus UGAP to concentrate on starting new groups or restarting dormant uni groups;
  • Expand mentorship for EA group organizers at existing groups;
  • Update and streamline our system for screening and onboarding new groups.

UGAP Re-Focus

As described in the starter program review post, we intend for UGAP to focus exclusively on supporting new and re-emerging groups next semester, rather than also including new organizers at existing groups.[1] We think that this will help make training and support clearer and more relevant for all participants.

We feel confident that UGAP offers helpful advice to orient new EA groups and reduce barriers to entry at scale. We have been pleased with the results of UGAP so far - there has been very strong demand and participants report high levels of satisfaction. More importantly, we’ve seen a number of UGAP participants get more deeply involved in EA community building and direct work and we think UGAP has a good counterfactual impact case for several of these stories. Because of these reasons, we think there is a strong case for UGAP to continue to grow and improve in order to make it easy for new EA groups to start (and re-start when a previous iteration dies) using high-fidelity, strategic methods and best practices learned from other university groups.   

Applications for the next round of UGAP are now open for all new university groups. Apply here before November 20th!

Organizer Support Program (OSP)

We are piloting an expanded mentorship program that is not limited to new groups. If your group is interested, please express interest here before November 20th. One of your group leaders should apply as a representative of the group. Depending on capacity, mentorship offerings will encompass a range of frequencies and focuses that align with a group’s needs.

While we are confident that UGAP provides useful support for new EA uni groups, we think the playbook for established EA groups is much more underdeveloped. This means that, at the current margin, providing more tailored mentorship and guidance to group organizers at established groups seems to be a better strategy. This intuition has been strengthened by the fact that organizers at more established groups have reported mentorship as the most useful component of UGAP for them. Over the next few months, we intend to roll out more mentorship programs and opportunities to group organizers (you can express interest in mentorship here. This form will close on November 20th).

All university group organizers are eligible to apply for OSP. You can decide who attends these meetings, but we think it is best when only the main organizer(s) and those soon becoming the main organizer(s) attend. The mentorship program does not provide stipends.

We anticipate being constrained by mentor capacity and we cannot commit to offering mentorship to everyone who is interested in receiving it. Instead, we plan to prioritize offerings based on our analysis of who could benefit most from mentorship. Currently, for groups that we are able to support, the range of support we hope to eventually be able to provide will span from a one-off call to regular check-ins to in-person, multi-day visits from an experienced organizer. 

Relatedly, we are hoping to recruit and train more mentors to meet anticipated demand as much as possible. If you have experience running an EA uni group and are interested in mentoring new organizers, please fill out this form or email us at ugap@centreforeffectivealtruism.org with questions.  

Screening new organizers

Note: The following is not confirmed but we wanted to give a heads up on what we are thinking about and leaning towards. 

As the number of EA groups at universities grows and they continue to run more programs with more people, the importance of evaluating the quality and relative success of some strategies or programs over others is even more important. We now feel clearer that it is important to ensure that student organizers understand and are able to explain well what EA is and is currently doing.

To do this and to streamline the process for organizers seeking support, we are working to update our system for gaining eligibility to apply for basic groups expenses. Before the end of Q1 2023, we intend to roll out a new process for evaluating new organizers and approving groups. We anticipate that we will ask an organizer or active advisor of every uni group to apply for CEA registration in order to be eligible for basic groups funding and support.

We are still working out the final details of the process to ensure a good user experience and a smooth evaluation process, but we anticipate that the broad strokes will end up resembling this:

  • Organizers will submit an application designed to assess understanding of core EA ideas and principles and alignment with the basic goal of seeking to do good as well as possible.  
  • If an organizer has previously received a stipend through UGAP, been approved as a registered CEA group organizer, or received an OP fellowship, they will be automatically eligible to apply for groups funding and mentorship. 
  • When the approved group organizer passes off responsibility, a new organizer will be asked to re-apply to renew eligibility for these support resources.
  • In some cases, CEA may approve organizers for a 1-2 month trial period and those organizers will be asked to re-apply at the end of the trial. 

We hope that the process will clarify offerings for students and provide a mechanism for CEA to ensure that funding is directed as well as possible. If you have any questions or feedback as we work to finalize this process, please let us know. 

Conclusion

We are excited for the work we have planned for next quarter and we believe that our current priorities are well calibrated to help improve the quantity, quality and potential of university EA groups across the world. Please feel free to share questions, comments, and feedback in the comments here or reach out to us directly at unigroups@centreforeffectivealtruism.org.     


 

  1. ^

     If you aren’t sure whether your group counts as “new” or “restarting,” feel free to reach out to us at unigroups@centreforeffectivealtruism.org 

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