Students for the Exploration and development of space
Welcome to SEDS-USA, as you’ve probably heard we’re excited to have you and we want you to get as much out of this experience as possible! SEDS-USA has gone through its ups and downs as have all of the chapters. We’ve created this document in attempt to standardize some of the interactions and assist everyone in a familiarity of the culture of SEDS that can be propagated throughout the entire organization. Below are our top four priorities – Communication, Inclusion, Mental Health, and Growth. This is followed by the things that we as an organization will absolutely not tolerate and will get you a fairly swift removal as a member/leader.
Something we’re incredibly passionate about at SEDS-USA is open, honest, and respectful communication. This might sound easy, but documentation like this wouldn’t exist if it were. SEDS-USA lives and dies by open and respectful communication. Below are some key tactics regarding both of those principles:
● Voice your ideas! We only innovate by having a robust and diverse selection of opinions and ideas to select from.
● Be available. Our calendar is important to us, we understand that everyone is busy. This also a volunteer organization and as such is usually done outside of “normal business hours”. We’re not saying you have to be “always on”, but we are incredibly active and a very “Get shit done” organization. Responding within 24 hours is expected of all communications unless signified on the calendar.
● If someone isn’t available or responding, ask them why, and emphasize your needs and timeline.
● Timelines are important to communication, if someone thinks something can be put on the backburner, it will be put to the sidelines for prioritized tasks.
● Express your current priorities, deadlines, who is asking this of you, and tasks to anyone that is asking you to complete something and discuss (briefly) why your priorities might delay a task.
● Brevity and concision are highly valued. Blaise Pascal once said, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” Take the time to think through your communication and ensure you have a question that is easily answered and you’ve done the research to make sure it’s not something that can be easily discovered on your own.
● Humanize each other! Slack is great for quick messages that need a yes or no answer. If tempers are flaring or frustrations are simmering, call the person directly or set up a Google Hangout to see the person directly and DO NOT VOICE FRUSTRATIONS IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE. We can’t emphasize
how much this has worked to ameliorate conflict in the past. As Warren Buffett says: “You will never see eye-to-eye if you never meet face-to-face.”
● Concision applies to meetings as well: Our Board, Operations Staff, and Projects Staff meetings should not last longer than a half an hour and this is another reason to plan the meeting structure and stick to it.
● There’s a rule to most dinner or lunch meetings, if you have more food in front of you than everyone around you.. You’re speaking too much. Listening is just as important in communication as clearly communicating your own point.
The future of the space industry has a place for all, and SEDS aims to foster that inclusive community. We strive for as blind a review process for all positions as possible, award them based on merit and skills, and will never disregard an applicant for any reason beyond their capability and professionalism as a student leader. Our board and staff are to be representative of the community we are building, and will be respectful to all people within not only our organization but the industry as a whole.
We are operating within an industry that historically has been monochrome and monotone, and as such we are trying to invite more voices to the conversation. Whether it is inviting traditionally under-represented groups to join, or bringing to light issues that have kept others out, SEDS is attempting to increase participation of these unheard voices. When all of humanity is to expand to orbit and beyond, we believe all of humanity should be represented.
SEDS believes in the inclusion of all people within the industry, and as such we will not tolerate harassment of any kind. If you feel that you have experienced harassment of any kind, be it within the organization, at a conference, or in any dealing with a professional representative of the industry, you are encouraged to report it to anyone you are comfortable with on the Board, the Executive Director, or the Projects Director. If you do not receive a satisfactory response to your claim or if you are brushed off, you can escalate to someone else. Gender, racial, religious, ableist, or ageist discrimination will not be tolerated within our board and staff or member and chapter community, and any malicious actions will be dealt with swiftly and absolutely.
Emotional Health and Stability
SEDS has the tendency to attract the right people at the wrong time. Those who want to be student leaders within our organization tend to also be the ones with full course loads, part time jobs, internships, and personal projects. Not only are they involved with National, but more often than not our members are also active within their local chapters. This much activity in such little
time can ultimately lead to burnout, and SEDS does NOT advocate pushing yourself beyond your limits.
Mental health and emotional health absolutely should always take priority. We understand not wanting to back out of commitments you made to us, but if you are completing SEDS work at the expense of your health you are not only doing yourself a disservice but also SEDS. We want to foster a community of bright and eager young professionals, and that cannot be based on tired and overworked staff. Taking a break is recommended, as long as you communicate it as outlined above, and if you feel you are able to return after sorting out other priorities we would love to have you back.
However, disappearing for long stretches of time not only hurts our organization but also your credibility with us and our professional partners; please reach out to someone, your Director, the Chair and make them aware of the situation. We would rather you be honest about your reasons to leave than simply cut all ties and leave us trying to figure out what to do next.
Personal Professional Organizational
Zero-Tolerance (Don’t be an asshole)
Accidents and ignorance can be expected in a rapid-fire industry constantly changing. However, once your behaviour has been rectified once, a repeat offence will be treated with zero-tolerance. Acknowledge your mistake, apologize, and correct your behaviour; intentionally malicious acts and behaviour continuing to harass will be unacceptable.
Any discrimination, defamation, or unwillingness to perform a task based on gender, racial, religious, ableist, or ageist discrimination will not be tolerated at the national or local levels and will be grounds for immediate dismissal.
Loss of temper or other disrespectful behavior and lack of professional communication to Board, Staff, Advisors, or as a representative of SEDS to the general public will be grounds for immediate dismissal.
Lack of communication for two (2) weeks without forewarning will be regarded as a voluntary dismissal from the organization. This will be shortened to one (1) week within two months of SpaceVision’s beginning or end.
Any unauthorized spending or contractual obligation on the part of SEDS-USA or any of its constituent chapters will be immediate grounds for dismissal. This includes and is not limited to: Spending of organizational funds (including and not limited to SpaceVision funds) on alcohol, open bars, or suites that are not paid for by the occupant (unless specifically sponsored), drugs or paraphernalia, contractual obligation to payment of a service or good not previously approved by the Executive Director, Treasurer, and Chair or as otherwise determined by the SEDS-USA constitution.