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SSA Leadership Track at the 2011 American Humanist Association Conference


The Secular Student Alliance will be operating the leadership track at the American Humanist Association's national conference, which will take place April 8-10, 2011 in Boston, MA. The event will be held in the Hyatt Regency Cambridge Hotel , which overlooks the Charles River. This weekend session is a great opportunity for leaders at any level (students, off-campus groups, national organizations, and more!) to fine-tune their group-running skills, meet other leaders from the area, network with local off-campus organizations, and have a great time (not to mention getting to rub elbows with with some pretty famous speakers)!

Get Information On:
Richard Dawkins Breakfast
Travel Scholarships
Program & Schedule

Richard Dawkins Breakfast
 Students attending the AHA conference will be treated to breakfast Saturday morning by Richard Dawkins! He'll be picking up the tab for the food and getting to know our student leaders. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet and have some small group time with the world's most influential atheist!

This event will be for students only. If you are not a student and you show up, penalties will be created and enforced.

This leadership track at the AHA Conference is open to all conference attendees, and has material useful for student leaders, off-campus group leaders, individuals working to start a group and more. Student registration just $49 for the weekend! Student registration includes admission to all AHA sessions and talks, as well as a special pizza party for lunch on Saturday and the Saturday evening luncheon.

Non-student registrants can still attend the SSA Leadership Track sessions. So if you're wondering what you can do to connect with college or high school groups in your area, or if you're looking for ways to improve your own leadership style, feel free to attend!

Register online!

Housing Information

We have worked with Hostelling International to get a reduced rate for students attending the conference at their Boston Hostel!

Hostelling International - Boston is located at 12 Hemenway Street. The nearest T stop is the Hynes stop on the green line (any train except for 'E'). HI Boston has dorm-style housing available at $35.99 per person per night, as well as a limited number of private rooms for $109.99 per night that can accommodate up to two people. Breakfast is included with either option.

To reserve your room, you'll need to send an email to Laura Paquette at groupsales@bostonhostel.org with the following information.

Your name:
E-Mail address:
Arrival date:
Departure date:
Type of Room: (private OR dormitory):
# Males:
# Females:
Co-ed dorm or single sex dorm:
MasterCard or Visa number by filling out and attaching this form.

Travel Grants

The AHA's Student Scholarship Fund can assist students with reducing the cost of travel and housing for the conference. To apply for a student scholarship, visit www.secularstudents.org/aha2011/scholarship and complete the online form. The deadline for submitting applications is March 21, 2011.

Program & Schedule
The program for the entire conference can be viewed here.

The SSA has partnered with the American Humanist Association and will be running an entire breakout track of programming for leaders of student groups and off-campus organizations. There will be several events that you definitely won't want to miss!

Saturday, April 9
9:00am - 10:15am

The Changing Face of Leadership in the Secular Community

What are the leadership challenges we face in the secular community? What can we learn from religious organizations? Where are we vulnerable and where can we use our strengths As the secular community grows we need to use our resources and energy effectively and efficiently. Internal disputes and conflict waste energy and sap enthusiasm and commitment. What can we do about this threat and how can we focus energy in ways that allow us to make a difference in our communities and define the territory on our terms and not those of the religionists? These and more questions are discussed in Dr. Ray's talk.

Darrel W. Ray, Ed.D. is the Director of The Institute for Performance Culture. He has two groundbreaking books on organizational development and teamwork, is the author of The God Virus: How Religions Infect Our Lives and Culture. His next book God and Sex: How Religion Distorts Sexuality, will be out the summer of 2011.

10:30am- 11:45am

Grassroots Basics: Growing Your Group, Leadership Transitions and Fundraising

A local secular group, whether on or off campus, depends on several basic areas to make itself sustainable and successful. This session features three critical areas to build up the basics of any local group. Sharon Moss explains how to increase your group's appeal to a wider audience and attract more members than ever, while Lyz Liddell helps groups plan for the inevitable and critically important leadership transitions. August Brunsman wraps up with an explanation of fundraising strategies in clear, down-to-earth language that gets real results.

Sharon Moss is the president of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio, a certified humanist celebrant and the humanist representative to the Ohio State University's Interfaith Association. She is a former president of Students for Freethought at Ohio State and former Secular Student Alliance board member.
 Lyz Liddell is the Director of Campus Organizing at the Secular Student Alliance, where she leads the campus organizing team supporting over 250 secular student groups at high school and college campuses in the United States and around the world.

August Brunsman is the Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance. He has also worked for the Institute for Humanist Studies, co-founded Students for Freethought at Ohio State, served as Secretary of the Board for the Secular Coalition for America, and is the camp director of Camp Quest Ohio.

12:00pm - 2:45pm

Pizza party for student conference attendees!

Concurrent with the Humanist Awards Luncheon. Student attendees will be able to attend the awards portion of the luncheon if they choose.

3:00pm - 4:15pm

Taking it to the Next Level

How do you take your grassroots group to the next level? Once you've mastered the basics, join us to learn more ways to expand, grow and improve your group. Jesse Galef launches this session by showing how you can commandeer the media to spread your group's message - for free! JT Eberhard explores different online media - websites, Facebook, Meetup and more - and shows you the best ways to harness them to benefit your group. And Cecil Bothwell, one of the few openly non-theist elected officials in America, will offer insight on running for public office.

Jesse Galef is Communications Director of the Secular Student Alliance, and has previously worked for the Secular Coalition for America and the American Humanist Association.

JT Eberhard is Campus Organizer and High School Specialist at the Secular Student Alliance. He is also known as the co-founder of the Skepticon annual convention and is a frequent contributor to AtheismResource.com.

Cecil Bothwell was elected to Asheville's City Council in 2009. He is author of eight books including a critical political biography of the evangelist Billy Graham, and, most recently, Whale Falls: An exploration of belief and its consequences.
4:30pm - 5:45pm

Building Diversity: Women, Minorities and LGBT in Local Groups

The public image of atheism is often described as being "a club for old white men." Unfortunately, too many groups do seem to have one or more of these biases. Jen McCreight tackles the question of why so many groups seem to be lacking godless women, and what we can do to fix this gender gap. Debbie Goddard takes a hard look at how our message isn't resonating with certain demographics, and shows how we can improve. Greta Christina offers encouragement through comparisons with the LGBT movement, highlighting areas in which we've done well and directing attention to our opportunities for improvement.

Jen McCreight blogs at Blag Hag and is a contributor to The Atheist's Guide to Christmas. She is also a board member of the Secular Student Alliance and co-founded the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University.

Debbie Goddard is the campus outreach coordinator at the Center for Inquiry Transnational in Amherst, NY. She is also the director of African Americans for Humanism, a program of the Council for Secular Humanism.

Greta Christina is one of the most widely-read and well-respected bloggers in the atheist blogosphere. Her writing appears at gretachristina.typepad.com as well as in numerous online and print magazines, newspapers, and anthologies.

7:00pm - 9:30pm

Humanist of the Year Banquet

Special meals for student registrants. Includes presentation by Humanist of the Year recipient Rebecca Goldstein and entertainment by Roy Zimmerman.

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