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National Grange News
National Grange: A paperless convention

By Loretta Nieto, National Communication Fellow

  DECEMBER 6, 2018 --

The Grange is facing modern-day challenges from changing paper copies to electronic cloud-based editing.

But many delegates to the 152nd Annual National Convention are up for the challenge.

Last year, delegates passed a resolution that asked the board to investigate going “paperless” at upcoming National Sessions.

The resolution, from New Hampshire, inspired a movement this year with beta testers using a cloud-based system for sharing all resolutions and policy documents throughout the week that will allow delegates participating in the pilot to see final versions immediately without waiting for printed copies of amended resolutions and other tiems to be handed out.

New Hampshire State Grange Master Christopher Heath said his state sent forward the resolution of going paperless.

“In my opinion, the Naitonal leadership needs to make changes that better suit the delegate body,” Heath said.

Earlier in 2018, National Grange President Betsy Huber asked delegates and officers to let her know if they were willing to be part of the beta test group and 11 delegates agreed.

“For so many years there had been complaints about how much paper was being used,” she said.  After 11 delegates agreed via email to try the paperless resolution nine more delegates agreed to try it as well, Huber said.

Burton Eller, National Legislative Director, said the process will not leave those without computers or “who do not feel comfortable going electronic with these documents” out.

Huber said the move is good for the organization during annual sessions.

“I feel that the delgates who volunteered to try the paperless resolution will find it fairly easy to manage using the electronic version,” Huber said.

Eller hopes one day each delegate and officer attending will have access to an electronic device to help them sufficiently get through this process.

Jimmy Taylor who is the longest serving delegate to the convention, having begun service in 1991 when he became Virginia State Grange Master, said he “never thought that we would reach this point in modern times” and feels that using technology is a very smart choice for various reasons.

“Delegates should not be frightened to use the electronic versions because they are fairly simple to work with,” Taylor said.

Eller said he hopes this will lead to more smooth workflow and better time management at future conventions.

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