Rethinking FCLIR programming

Many of FCLIR’s programs have survived the Covid pandemic well, successfully transitioning online. For example, after a brief dip, the number of seminars and workshops offered each semester and the number of members who participate in these core programs are back to levels that approach pre-Covid times. Encore and interest groups have moved online, as have most of the committees and events such as the Previews.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of our Social Events committee, 2023 brought us some well-attended in-person events. But many FCLIR members miss the variety of opportunities to talk face-to-face with their peers that used to be integral to the LIR experience, whether this was chatting before a seminar started, an outing to a local museum or musical event, a book group, or committee work. In many ways those in-person interactions provided the glue that made LIR feel like a true membership organization, not just a purveyor of intellectual stimulation. Without them, enthusiasm for volunteering to support the work of the organization plummeted.

These observations motivated series of meetings (on Zoom, of course!) to consider how to revive that enthusiasm and cohesion. Here is a summary of the outcomes of those meetings.

  • There were dozens of suggestions for programs and social events, illustrating the synergy that evolves when you invite a large enough group to brainstorm.

  • Two members volunteered to work to implement one of those suggestions, a program tentatively called the LIR Cafe Society. This would consist of regularly scheduled get-togethers, some online and some in person, some themed and some not. Stay tuned!

  • Council voted to combine the six non-academic program committees under one umbrella “Programs” committee, on a trial basis. Some of those committees will continue to operate as subcommittees, and others may continue with individual coordinators.

  • After an initial organizing meeting of the new umbrella committee, Suzie Metz and Martha Cohen agreed to take the next steps needed to make this trial a success.

If you are interested in this effort, get in touch with Suzie or Martha. Please also keep an eye on the new website over the next few weeks. We will be updating information about committees and volunteering, in addition to posting information about winter programs as they are finalized.

It’s not too late to propose a short program or event for the January-February time frame if you are so inclined, nor too early to start thinking about next summer. Remember, all LIR programs, from seminars to coffees to trips, start with YOU.