This post is part of a series to share more about the CEA uni groups team programs and strategy in the upcoming period. 

In this post, we outline our current strategy for the next quarter, which focus on providing scalable support to promising university students to get started building high-quality, epistemically robust EA communities on their campuses. We also go over some of the activities that we would like to do later and things that we wish others would do now given our limited capacity. 

CEA Uni Groups team strategy 

Mission

Our mission is to support high-fidelity, ambitious, epistemically robust, constantly-learning EA communities at universities to attract, develop, or support impactful, talented EAs in order to ultimately build a better world for all sentient beings. We believe that supporting these groups is ultimately an effective way to identify, develop, encourage, retain, and direct talented and motivated people to work on the world’s most pressing problems.

University groups have the potential to be especially significant EA spaces because:

  1. Students are in the process of deciding how to spend their careers.
  2. Universities are a very large source of new EAs each year, which means that student groups are likely to have an outsized influence on the development of EA culture and movement priorities. 
  3. Universities are places where people are building communities and deep social networks. (We think it is, on net, likely that they will spend more social time deeply engaged with the EA community than professionals would.) These in-person social ties are important for people being more likely to take significant action.
  4. (many) Universities have high concentrations of pre-screened talent.

What the CEA Uni Groups team does 

  • Identify, motivate, and support great group organizers through training, mentorship, and other opportunities;
    • How: We do this through programs like UGAP, mentoring, and retreats.
    • Why: We think group organizers are often the largest determinant of groups successfully channeling altruistic, truth-seeking individuals into high impact opportunities. 
  • Help promote high-fidelity outreach and group strategy that optimizes for ambitious, epistemically robust, constantly-learning EA communities that attract, develop, and support impactful, talented EAs.
    • How: We screen against potentially negative group-organizers, manage the groups resource centre, and update the intro fellowship curriculum. We also provide funding for groups, provide some strategy advice, and send a regular newsletter with opportunities.
    • Why: We think university groups will have a large effect on the culture of the EA movement and want to ensure they are epistemically rigorous. We also think that future influential people who may not adopt EA ideas might learn about EA through universities and want those interactions to be high-fidelity.
  • Provide opportunities to accelerate particularly promising organizers to pursue ambitious projects.
    • How: We do this via 1-1 calls, mentorship, retreats, grants, and internships
    • Why: Uni group organizers themselves often go into high-impact roles and make large contributions in EA (in and out of meta work). They have historically been a large source of entrepreneurial talent, which is needed in EA. We think promoting the creation of additional programs helps fill bottlenecks in the space.
  • Make it easy to start up university groups. 
    • How: We do this through UGAP
    • Why: We think there is a lot of low-hanging fruit at unis that don’t have EA groups and we want to make it easy for groups to be restarted if they are fading out. We have developed a product market fit for this with UGAP.
  • Reduce time costs in running groups.
    • How: Resource Centre
    • Why: We think group organizer time is valuable and want to reduce the amount of time they spend on repeated processes such as writing outreach emails. 

What are some things that we almost did and/or would love to do later?

  • More support for the most established groups
    • While expanded mentorship opportunities will be available for advanced groups, we do not currently have many opportunities and resources for non-new groups. We would love to see more of this.
  • Run retreats and events for non-UGAP participants (such as organizers from more advanced university groups)
    • We think people’s first retreat is often of high marginal value and can accelerate a group a lot. This is an area we would love to see developed more.
  • Improving the resource centre
    • We hope to expand capacity to be able to update and curate the best resources for group organizers.

What are other things we would like to see?

  • Doing all of the above more thoroughly
    • We have limited capacity and think there is a lot of room to improve our above efforts. In particular our mentorship program is very new and doesn’t include trainings or resources specifically for new organizers at existing unis.
  • Coordinate residencies for the start of the semester or an organizer exchange program
  • Seed groups at important universities 
  • Coordinate experimentation for groups
  • Facilitate regional networks of university groups
  • Set up regular sharing sessions for subgroups of the uni-group space
  • Create opportunities for promising group members to accelerate their engagement with EA quickly (such as impact generator workshops)
  • Coordinate VAs and consultants for professionalised university groups
  • Coordinate more internship opportunities for members of university groups

Feedback

We are keen for feedback and input on our strategy and priorities. We intend to continue sharing updates on our work and hope that you’ll share comments with us directly in the comments or via email at unigroups@centreforeffectivealtruism.org


 


 

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