Key Term Nine – Consortium

Expansion with Paulo


Consortium – A group of people, companies, ect., that all agree to work together.


Why are we not using the word “consortium” all the time? What a perfect way to summarize what networking is, or what is socially dictating or acceptable for us, or a cultural phenomenon. Paulo described a consortium as though it was a study group, but his earlier sentence, half-joking of how the word sounds like a planet, grabbed at me. We could apply the term “consortium” to any person or set of things working together. The solar systems work together; they’re a consortium. From birth we are taught to work with other people, to form friendships, relationships, partners in something as trivial as a project and something as large as organized crime. These are all consortiums.

The reason that I picked this word in particular was because it was so relevant to my work in our college president’s new initiative. During our conference pertaining to Decarceration (get ready for this word, it’s gonna be huge), we had people from all over the country representing different public health and criminal justice groups. There was the team from the Vera Institute of Justice, the Friends of Island Academy, the team of staff working on Rikers Island that specialize in helping the youngest inmates, and CASES, to name a few. Part of my job is to better harmonize these groups working with each other, and to bring other groups together that are requesting our help. I am at the center of a consortium, and I didn’t even know there was a word for it. We’re based up on agreements, on a common goal, and on diversity and innovation, much like New York City. Paulo asks if people are more likely to join consortiums because they are self-interested, or if they are genuine, and I wonder the same thing. It’s a survival skill to look after yourself, but we as a species would have died out long ago if we did not extend compassion to others. I believe consortiums are an evolutionary tool to keep genetic diversity around, thereby helping our species thrive. Of course, I like them because they’re fun. Working with people is one of the best ways to be exposed to new ideas.


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