Secular Student Alliance 2013 Annual Conference FAQ
This page contains of a list of frequently asked questions (or concerns) at, or about, the SSA Annual Conference. We hope this answers any questions you might have. However if we do not cover something here and you still are curious, please shoot us an email and we'd be glad to help you out.
About the conference:
- I’ve never been to a SSA conference before, what do I do?
1. You can register yourself (or your whole group!) for the conference. It is $39/student or $125/5 group members (thats only $25/person!). Registration opens February 11th.
2. Set up your travel plans. If you are coming by way of plane, let us know on your registration form and we can pick you up at the airport. If you are driving, you can offer a ride or find a ride at at the boards we have set up for Columbus and Vegas. (log into the page with password "ssarocks")
3. You’ll tell us what kind of housing you want in the registration form so that will be all set.
4. All but one (saturday evening) meals are provided; so you dont need a ton of money for food.
5. The most important thing to remember is... have fun!
- Since there are two conference locations this year, I am confused which one I should attend, or if I should attend both.
You may attend whichever location seems more attractive to you; the content of both conferences will be very similar. The intent is for you to be able to attend whichever conference is geographically closer to you. If you apply for an SSA Leadership Travel Aid grant, then you will be directed to the location nearest to you (if applicable).
- Where do I sign into my dorm?
You will be able to sign into your dorm when you arrive on friday (specific building TBA). After you sign in and drop your stuff off, make sure to head over to the basement of the Ohio Union (where the conference will be) and check out the games, fun, and food there!
- My group isn’t even started yet and/or my group is really small, will this conference be relevant to me?
Of course! We tailor our conference to meet as many needs as possible. The leadership and grassroots organizing skills gained can be used by groups of any level, size, or campus type. In fact we offer topics specifically relating to your needs and challenges. To see examples of what kind of topics we have covered in the past, be sure to check out the SSA's YouTube channel.
- How does conference parking work?
This depends which conference location you are at. In Columbus, parking will be available for free near the dorms. There is also parking available near the Ohio Union, however they are pay-to-park garages as well as street meters. We have a detailed Google map of the Columbus area here. Details for Vegas will be announced soon.
- What if I have problems or questions during the conference? Who do I talk to?
You can pin down any SSA employee at any point during the conference if you have questions or concerns of any kind. We also have a detailed conference regulations and policies page. We are there to protect and assist you as you might need us to. If there is an emergency or if you feel endangered for any reason, you can also call 911 for the local police.
- Where is the lost and found?
The lost and found will be managed at the SSA table. If you lose something, stop by to see if anyone found it. If you found something, please drop it off at the table and give it to an SSA employee or volunteer!
Funding and finances:
- Our group doesn’t have a lot of money, can we still go?
Of course! SSA's Annual Conference is designed to be as accessible to students as possible. We have a pages set up on resources you might be able to tap into to get to Columbus, or Las Vegas. Don't forget that most of your meals are included in the admission price. Housing will be in campus dorms to keep it cheap for you and to save on registration ($25/person instead of $39), make sure to bring a group of at least 5 people from your group!
- How do i get my travel aid check?
To pick up your travel aid check, please find Nick Stancato at the SSA table on Sunday. Make sure to have an ID as well as the required feedback form (found inside your conference booklet) on hand.
- The Travel Aid Funding I was awarded isn’t enough for me to get there. How do I find the rest of the money I need?
We have a handy page set up to walk you through other potential sources of funding and assistance.
- Will meals be provided or am I on my own?
All but one meal will be provided. Pizza and snacks will be provided on friday, breakfasts will be provided on saturday and sunday, and lunch will be provided saturday (all included with your conference admission). Saturday evening is the only non-provided meal, so be prepared to find speakers and other students to go out and have fun!
Safety and legal concerns:
- Can I attend if I’m a minor? Do I need to bring a parent/guardian?
Minors are free to attend the conference, and even encouraged to. However you must have the permission of a parent/guardian in order to do so. If you have any questions, feel free to email us.
- My parents/guardians are worried about my safety. Is there security and emergency services available at the conference?
The SSA takes the security of our conference attendees very seriously. If you do not feel safe at any time, please tell a staff member or volunteer and they will contact the appropriate help immediately. For more information, check out this page.
Coming to the conference:
- There are many conferences every year for non-theists. I cannot afford all of them; why should I choose the SSA Annual Conference?
While there are many atheist conferences every year, the SSA's specializes in teach real leadership skills and grassroots organizing so you can make your group, school, and community a better place to live. Our conference focuses on YOU above all else. We exist to support students, and that is our one and only focus. Speakers make themselves available to interact with attendees and it is a great chance to also network with, and learn from, other secular students from across the country.
- No one else in my group wants to go, so can I still go and will I be alone the whole time?
Nope, no worries there! You can choose to dorm with 3 other people (which also saves on cost!) to meet new faces. You will also have plenty of time during the weekend to make friends and network with students and speakers from across the nation. Don't forget that there will be plenty of others in the same situation!
- Are there rideshares available so that I can carpool?
Yes, indeed. We have it set up for both Columbus and Vegas (log into the page with password "ssarocks").
- What do you recommend bringing with you to the conference (for example: will linens be provided)?
We recommend bringing the clothes, hygiene products, and accessories you will need to survive away from home for 2-3 full days. Tablets and/or laptops are also useful, but definitely not necessary (wi-fi will be provided free on campus). Linens will be provided this year at both locations.
- I want to interact with a specific speaker attending the conference. Will they be available to speak to?
Yes! One of the best parts of our conference is that speakers are not separated from attendees. They are there to interact with you and make themselves freely available to do so.
- Will merchandise (like t-shirts, books, and stickers) be on sale at the conference?
Yes. At the SSA merchandise table, you will be able to find SSA-related swag such as conference t-shirts, general SSA t-shirts, SSA lapel pins, stickers, buttons, bookmarks, stampers, and so much more. There will also be a book table set up to give you the opportunity to buy books written by our speakers, to have them signed if you so choose.