The OceanHackWeek Steering Committee has a charter to guide the evolution of OceanHackWeek and focus on longer term tasks. The charter defines the roles and responsibilities of the Steering Committee and its members, terms of reference and a decision making structure.

The Steering Committee Charter will be revisited yearly and revised as necessary.

Steering Committee#

Responsibilities of the Steering Committee#

  • Determine the mission and vision

  • Conduct strategic and organizational planning

  • Identify and pursue funding sources

  • Approve and monitor OHW events

  • Oversee the OHW organizing committee, and its formation, each year

  • Enhance OHW’s public image

  • Determine the use of OHW logo and resources

Responsibilities of the Steering Committee Members#

  • Maintain and support OHW’s mission, vision, policies, programs, and needs

  • Prepare for, attending and conscientiously participating in Steering Committee meetings

  • Offer expertise to ensure success of OHW

  • Leverage resources, connections and networks to advance OHW’s mission

  • Exemplify the Code of Conduct

  • Act as ambassadors for OHW


  • Size: The Steering Committee consists of 8-12 members.

  • Meetings:

    • Steering Committee meetings are held monthly.

    • The chair will rotate between Steering Committee members.

    • Future chairs can nominate or be self nominated for future meetings.

    • The outgoing chair will scribe at the next monthly meeting. If a committee member chairs consecutive meetings, another member will fill in as scribe for the following meetings.

    • For a given month, the meeting notes will be ratified and be made public. The chair of the meeting is responsible for rectifying the meeting notes and sharing them publicly on the Steering Committee Meetings repository. To rectify the notes, the chair of the meeting will share a slimmed down version containing the key decisions made as an issue in the private admin repository, then give the Steering Committee members a week to comment before posting the notes on the public repository.

  • Annual commitment: At the December Steering Committee meeting, existing Steering Committee members commit to continuing participation in the Steering Committee for the next calendar year.

  • Appointment to Steering Committee: At the December Steering Committee meeting and after existing Steering Committee members have confirmed their annual commitment, if there is space for new members on the Steering Committee, the existing Steering Committee members will nominate individuals to join the committee. Nominees must not have been a member of the Steering Committee in the last calendar year. The Steering Committee will select from the nominees by consensus (see Decision Making), appointing candidates that will support OceanHackWeek’s vision and mission. Candidates must confirm acceptance within 30 days of the invitation (to participate in the Steering Committee’s first meeting in the new calendar year). If candidates have not accepted the invitation by the end of this period they will be considered to have rejected the nomination. If no candidates accept and the Steering Committee is below the minimum size, the Steering Committee will undergo a second search for candidates.

  • Attendance: By the nature of the work we do, we are often away from home and internet access. The Steering Committee works and communicates both synchronously and asynchronously. Steering Committee members are expected to contribute through one or both of these styles regularly. If the Steering Committee does not hear from a member in 2 months, either from a direct synchronous/asynchronous contribution or an alert of extenuating circumstances and an expected absence, then the Steering Committee may ask that member to step down.

  • Removal from Steering Committee: If a member of the Steering Committee consistently fails to meet the obligations and responsibilities outlined above, they may be removed by consensus (see Decision Making).

Decision Making#

All Steering Committee members have an equal say in decision making within the group.

Where decision making is required, we will follow the consensus model recommended by Seeds for Change. Consensus decision making means “no decision is made against the will of an individual or a minority of individuals. If significant concerns remain unresolved, a proposal can be blocked and prevented from going ahead. This means that the whole group has to work hard to find win-win solutions that address everyone’s needs.” Using consensus means we share power, build a stronger community, make better decisions, get things done, and protect minority needs and opinions. This means we are willing to work toward a solution that is best for everyone, not just what is best or most expedient for some.

When an item is ready for a decision, the meeting chair will clearly state the proposal/item up for decision (either synchronously or asynchronously) and ask if anyone:

  1. Agrees: You want to support the proposal and are willing to help implement it.

  2. Has reservations: You are willing to let the proposal go ahead but want to make the group aware that you aren’t happy with something in it. You may even put energy into implementing it once your concerns have been acknowledged/addressed.

  3. Stands aside: You don’t support the proposal, but you don’t want to stop the group. This means you won’t help to implement the decision, but you are willing for the group to go ahead with it. You might stand aside because you disagree with the proposal, or you might like the decision but be unable to support it because you don’t have the time or energy. The group may be happy to accept the stand aside and go ahead, or they may work on a new proposal, especially when there are several stand asides.

  4. Objects: An objection from two or more people stops a proposal from going ahead. It expresses a fundamental objection. It isn’t “I don’t really like it,” or “I liked the other idea better.” An objection should only be used if your objection is so strong that you’d leave if the proposal went ahead. To overcome the objection, an objector should supply an alternative proposal or a process for generating one. In cases where the objection stems from a fundamental disagreement with the vision and mission of the group it might be more appropriate for the individual to leave.

Decisions will be recorded by the scribe and included in the rectified meeting notes, or shared with the Steering Committee as a GitHub issue for asynchronous decision making.