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2007 Conference: Recommendations to Students


The New Humanism The Secular Student Alliance is holding its 7th annual conference at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) on April 20-22. We are putting on this conference in conjunction with the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard. With speakers like Salman Rushdie, Lori Lipman Brown, E.O. Wilson, Steven Pinker, and a musical performance by Dar Williams we're set to have an amazing event. Here are some tips to make your travel to Harvard inexpensive and fun.

Dates: Because the conference starts early Friday morning, we recommend getting to Boston on Thursday. We will be holding a very informal reception at Hostelling International - Boston starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday night for those who arrive that evening. The SSA Campus Activist Training session starts at 9:00 a.m. on Friday the 20th on Harvard's campus. This session runs until 4 p.m. when a tour of the Harvard will commence. [Full Campus Activist Training Schedule]

The conference proper will begin at 8 p.m. Friday evening with a dessert reception. On Saturday the conference will run from breakfast at 8 a.m. through the Awards Banquet that night. The Activist Training session will continue Sunday morning. For those who are able to stick around on Sunday afternoon, we are planning a service project for all interested attendees. The official conference website has more details about the schedule.

In a nutshell: we recommend you arrive in Boston by late afternoon on Thursday (4/19/07) and leave early Sunday (4/22/07) evening.

Travel: For most folks, getting to Boston is going to be the most expensive part of attending the conference. For those not within driving distance, we recommend people fly into Boston's Logan Airport. It is attached to the city's public transportation grid and one can easily use it to get from the airport to the hostel and the conference.

If you're flying and you really want to save some money, you can also compare rates for Providence, RI's TF Green Airport or the Manchester-Boston Regional airport. If you fly into either of these airports, you'll need to take a bus into Boston. The Manchester-Boston Regional airport offers a free shuttle bus to and from their airport to the Sullivan Square MBTA Subway Station--connecting you to public transportation in Boston. The Peter Ban bus company connects Providence to Boston.

UPDATE: There is no more room at the Hostel.

We recommend the following two options:

Days Hotel-Boston/Cambridge (starting at around $109/night)
1234 Soldiers Field Rd
Boston, MA 02135

Shawmut Inn (starting at around $95.20/night)
280 Friend St
Boston, MA 02114

Clearly these rates are much easier to bear if you share your room with other people. Please let us know if you are interested in sharing a room with other folks. We'll put you in touch with each other. Contact us at ssa@secularstudents.org.

We are recommending that students stay at Hostelling International - Boston. They charge $28/night for Hostelling International members and $31/night for non-members. These rates may go up as the dates approach because of limited availability, so make you reservations early. THE HOSTEL IS FULL. SSA staff and Board members will be staying here. It takes about 30 minutes to get from the Hostel to Harvard via the T. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has an excellent route planning tool.

Food & Registration: The $29 SSA-member student registration fee covers your registration to the conference and the Activist Training, the receptions on Thursday & Friday nights, and Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner on Saturday. All other meals are on your own.

Students who are not SSA-members must pay $50 to register for the conference. Student Membership is free, so we recommend joining SSA to take advantage of the low ($29) SSA-member student registration fee. Being a member of an SSA affiliate group does not make you an SSA member. You must join SSA as an individual student member to take advantage of the reduced conference rate. If you're trying to spread out the cost of attending this conference, you're welcome to register at the SSA-member student rate now as long as you join the SSA before April 19th, 2007.

UPDATE: The $29 registration also covers the E.O. Wilson breakfast on Sunday morning.

Travel Grants: The SSA is offering $100 and $200 individual travel grants to help defray the cost of attending the conference. All student members of the SSA and members of SSA affiliates are eligible to apply. The deadline for applying is March 15th, so apply now. Also, many universities offer funds for members of student groups to attend conferences. If you would like to get some advice on applying to your university for funding, please email SSA Treasurer Joe Foley at joe@secularstudents.org.

Bring your family and friends: While we anticipate a large student presence at this event, and the Activist Training will be highly focused at student concerns, the main body of the conference is something that people of any age might enjoy. Registration for non-student SSA nembers under age 30 is only $39 and normal registration is $129 ($99 if you register by Feb. 23rd).

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Executive Director August E. Brunsman IV at august@secularstudents.org.

We look forward to seeing you at Harvard!

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