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The Other Vols

By Linda Fippin, president of the Board of Trustees

Raise your hand if you knew that Westside had an Aesthetics Committee. You did if you read the most recent blog post by our Membership Coordinator, Elizabeth Corbett. As she noted, it is one of several committees that are very active at Westside right now. So what are these committees and what are they up to these days.

Let’s start with the Aesthetics Committee. This is actually what I think of as a “resuscitated” committee. This committee was formed and was active in the past, as some long-time members may remember, but has been dormant for years. The current version is a subset of the Marketing Committee. (More about that committee later.) As the name suggests, the goal of this committee is to enhance the appeal of Westside for members and visitors alike, not only in its visual appearance but also in the sounds and even smells that surround the building and grounds. They are also working on familiar objects and materials that need to be updated to be consistent with Westside’s and the UUA’s current focus and yet retain some of their traditional roots. Keep your eyes peeled for the results of their efforts.

The Green Sanctuary Committee has been around for quite a while, and I think of it as being “rejuvenated.” Westside has chosen environmental issues to be a major focus, and the Green Sanctuary Committee is evaluating how best we can address those issues. One major component of their efforts is to identify ways that Westside can reduce its carbon footprint and thus its contribution to climate change. One of the ways they are pursuing this goal is to obtain an “energy audit” to see if there are parts of our building that leak energy, as well as inefficient energy use practices that might have simple and low-cost remedies. More ambitious approaches such as installation of solar panels are also under discussion.

The Stewardship Committee is another rejuvenated committee, but it has also undergone a makeover. In the past, this committee was focused on all of the financial aspects of the church. The current version has handed off the operational finance components, including maintaining fiduciary integrity and day-to-day reporting of income and payments, to the Finance Committee. The Stewardship Committee takes a broader view and is responsible such things as providing guidance regarding fundraising, oversight of the budget process and overseeing the auction so that the mission and vision of the congregation are put into action in consistent and financially sustainable ways.

The Marketing Committee actually DOES have a sort of Mad Men vibe.

This brings us to the Marketing Committee. This is a new committee. and I confess that when I first heard about it, I was puzzled. I associated marketing with selling laundry detergent or sneakers or time shares, and, frankly, I thought it had a sort of Mad Men vibe. On further reflection and interaction with the committee, I came around. What Westside “sells” is itself as a place where people want to come, a place where we do things that support and make connections with our community, a place where we welcome diversity of belief, thought, identity and orientation. The Marketing Committee helps Westside to show itself as that place in the best possible way.

These committees are only a sample of the committees that support Westside. The people who are on them, who go to the meetings and do the work when they might have more entertaining things they could do were not dragooned into service. They volunteered! Without them, things that are important to everyone in the congregation would not get done. So let’s all say, “Yay Vols!”

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