Hi All (cross-posting to make sure I reach as much of India as possible),

As you're aware, we had invited applications for Campus Ambassadors for the 
upcoming Pune Pilot of the India Campus Program.

The response has been fantastic: we've received ~500 applications/enquiries 
from across India, ~70 of which were from Pune.  This has been really 
heartening - indicating the desire of many to support the Wikimedia movement. 
It's also been overwhelming because we need to process all the applications, 
respond to applicants, etc.!

I think, most critically, it also presents an amazing opportunity for us to 
introduce new people to Wikimedia projects (especially Wikipedia) - and invite 
them to join the community.    I've interviewed quite a few and there is a 
recurring theme I hear from many of them.  It goes something like, "I've been 
using Wikipedia for years and years, and I love it.  I want to contribute back 
to it - but I wasn't sure how.  Then I saw the banner and decided this was a 
great way to help."  The overwhelming common trait I have noticed in the 
applicants is that they are bright, well-intentioned and eager to contribute.

Here are some thoughts I had, and I'd love to hear your suggestions/comments on 

We should respond to every single applicant, and even to those who didn't 
actually apply but sent emails enquiries (such as "When is the program coming 
to my city?", etc.)  No one should be left behind.

We will prioritise (in terms of sequence of events) the Pune Campus 
Ambassadors.  We need to have a reasonable number available for a training 
session that we need to conduct before the start of the program.  Of the 70 who 
applied from Pune, we should hopefully get 20-30 Campus Ambassadors.
The important suggestion I had for everyone else (in Pune and beyond) is that 
we do not "reject" anyone.   While some might not become Campus Ambassadors 
because we don't plan to run the program in their towns/cities right now, or 
some in Pune might not currently have the desired experience (in teaching and 
people management), there is no reason that they can't participate in some 
other roles.  Therefore, I don't think we should send any "reject letters" to 
anyone.  No one should be left behind.   Instead, we should send them options 
on how they can participate/learn more about participating.  For example:-

        i) they could form student clubs in their respective educational 
        ii) they could form Wikipedia clubs in their workplaces/social groups 
(as a number of applicants are working professionals, and no longer on campus)
        iii) they could become individual editors

For us to try and help realise their potential, here are some thoughts I had:-

        i) Invite all the applicants/enquirers to attend the next community 
meet-ups.   This was a suggestion shared by the Pune community. This would give 
them a chance to interact with the community and understand more about the 
        ii) Additionally, those who have not been selected as Campus 
Ambassadors can be reassured by telling them that they can join an "incubation" 
program.  This was a suggestion shared by the Pune community.  This would 
involve them attending meet-ups,         learning how to edit, starting to edit 
- and being supported and hand-held along the way by existing community 
members.  This would help them if they eventually wish to reapply as Campus 
Ambassadors.  Even if they choose not to, they could easily          become 
individual newbie editors.
        iii) Invite all applicants/enquirers in a town/city to attend a 
full-fledged Wiki Academy.  This was a suggestion shared by the Mumbai 
community.  This is currently envisaged as a full day session where they are 
given insights into the movement & projects,                taught how to edit, 
and actually edit articles.
        iv) In towns/cities where a full-fledged Wiki Academy is not viable 
(e.g. if there aren't enough numbers of either participants or 
volunteers/volunteer time to run a Wiki Academy), then an alternative 
suggestion is to have a smaller group (3-5) of the applicants  /enquirers 
linked up with a community member who can conduct smaller, shorter groups to 
explain how to edit and hand-hold them as they edit.

I'd really like to hear your views/comments/suggestions on the ideas listed 

Also, do let me know which of you would like to volunteer either to help 
conduct Wiki Academies (point (iii) above) or to manage smaller groups of 
potential newbies (point (iv) above).  Also, it'd be great if we could invite 
them to your next meet-ups at your respective towns/cities (point (i) above).

Another aspect I'd like to get suggestions from you on is how to manage the 
process of inviting them to these events.  We could, for example, share the 
contacts of these applicants with the respective communities could reach out 
and invite them.  Alternatively, if you wish this to be done for you, that also 
can be arranged (though it will put some strain on already stretched resources.)

I look forward to hearing from you.  (Please note that we have received 
applicants from every corner of the country - so please don't assume that the 
applicants are only from Pune or only from large cities or only interested in 
English Wikipedia.  (They are literally from everywhere, and no one should be 
left behind!)

Kind Regards,

Hisham Mundol
Wikimedia Foundation India Programs
skype: hisham.wikimedia
gtalk: hmun...@wikimedia.org
twitter: @mundol

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