Endorsements from prominent scientists, educators, agencies, companies and celebrities are a part of many education and outreach projects. Space College will engage in such activities as well. Unlike far too many space-related projects which often have no criteria whatsoever, Space College will focus on endorsements that directly relate to what Space College is all about.
Ideally, endorsers will seek to have a long term relationship with Space College as opposed to the flash in the pan, one-off media stunts that many space projects sadly seem to be so fond of. Space College also sees a responsibility to provide something of value back to endorsers or the causes that they support. Trotting out a bunch of movie stars for one-off events with no follow-through is not a prudent use of their time our that of Space College. Space College will seek endorsements of quality - not quantity.
With regard to overtly commercial endorsements, Space College will entertain naming rights, sponsorships, etc. that identify endorsers and sponsors - so long as the activity being sponsored does not become burdened or muddied by that sponsorship. An approach similar to what is done by Public Television in the U.S. will be pursued by Space College.
A strategy for seeking/accepting endorsements and fundraising for the purpose of endowing Space College activities will be developed and put into place. There will be criteria for accepting support as well as guidelines whereby offers may be rejected. On of the prime reasons to consider rejecting an offer of endorsement or support (donation) would be if the sponsor/endorser sought to play the relationship with Space College in a manner that does not synch with what Space College does or implies or claims that Space College has somehow endorsed activities of a sponsor/endorser/donor that has not been spelled out in advance.
The top criteria for pursuing or accepting endorsements and sponsorship swill be:
does the agreement provide material benefit to Space College i.e. is there more to the relationship than just PR?
does the prospective partner conduct itself in an open, transparent, and ethical fashion?
does the prospective partner profess organizational goals and ethics that are in synchrony with Space College?
Due to Space College's non-profit 501 (c)(3) stature with the IRS, Space College will need to distance itself from overt political lobbying and any external relationships that might put Space College into an untenable situation. In addition, it should be noted that Space College will seek to stay out of taking side in political or policy discussions - the only exception being overt education policy.
It has become a standard practice for new companies and organizations with a space-related mission to seek endorsement of similar companies and organizations. The net result is often joint press releases and a parade of logos on websites. All too often these endorsements are fleeting in terms of real value and tend to dilute the nature of what an endorsement actually means. These endorsements also tend to carry some political baggage given the preponderance of political and ideological beliefs held by people the space community.
The space advocacy community - indeed the space sector as a whole - is known for its hard-held beliefs and opinions - based on philosophy, science, engineering, and politics. These beliefs and opinions can often take on many aspects of religious conviction. If you do not agree with someone's mission idea, architecture, or preferred destination in space then they will argue with you, create their own organization or political faction, and split the space constituency even further. The organizers of Space College are by no means naive enough to think that Space College can avoid these battle lines. But Space College can seek to focus on the doing of space exploration and not the talking about space exploration.
The space community tends to be somewhat inward looking when it comes to endorsements and alliances. Space College seeks to extend interest in space exploration well beyond this traditional community. As such, endorsements, alliances, etc. that Space College will become engaged in are more likely to be with organizations, agencies, and commercial entities that are not traditionally associated with space exploration. Space College seeks to establish a new community with a far broader reach than that which currently exists among people with an interest in space exploration.
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