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Secular Student Alliance Northern California Regional Leadership Summit: Stanford University


The Secular Student Alliance is proud to announce its first-ever Regional Leadership Summit, to be held Feb. 12-14, 2010. The summit will be hosted by the Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics (AHA!) at Stanford University in Stanford, CA. This weekend session is a great opportunity for student leaders to fine-tune their group-running skills, meet other leaders from the area, network with local off-campus organizations, and have a great time!

Get Information On:
Travel Grants
Program & Schedule
Keynote Presentation *NEW*
Getting to Stanford

Stanford University

Registration for the NorCal Regional Leadership Summit is only $25 for students who are members of the SSA. Nonstudents and nonmembers are also welcome to join us for a weekend of training, networking and fun!

Registration includes admission to all workshops and sessions, a reception on Friday evening, and Saturday evening's keynote presentation.

Registration Rates (register online!)

  • Student SSA Members: $25.00
  • Student Nonmembers: $75.00
  • Nonstudent SSA Members: $125.00
  • Nonstudent Nonmembers: $200.00

Join the SSA and save: www.secularstudents.org/join

Register online!

Housing Information
Housing for the Secular Student Alliance Leadership Summit is now closed. If you are a student and you are willing to couchsurf, contact us and we'll try to find you a space.

Travel Grants
We still have travel grants available to help defray costs of travel and lodging for the summit. Travel grants are available in the amount of $100 and are limited to one grant per affiliate group. Students receiving travel grants must be SSA members and must be registered for the conference. Checks must be picked up in person at the conference.

Students who receive a travel grant are required to complete a short write-up (about 500 words) about their experience at the conference. We must receive these essays within one month of the conference. These essays may be published in our electronic newsletter, on our website, or in publicity materials.

Apply for a Travel Grant at http://www.secularstudents.org/node/2889.

Program & Schedule
The NorCal Regional Leadership Summit runs from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, 2/12/2010 - 2/14/2010.

Get the full schedule!

Friday, 2/12
7pm: Registration opens, with a reception for attendees

Saturday, 2/13
9:45am: Registration opens
10:30am: Events begin
12:30pm: Break for lunch - Tresidder Union Food Court
1:30pm: Events resume
6:00pm: Break for dinner - on your own
8:00pm: Keynote Presentation

Sunday, 2/14
10:30am: Events begin
2:00pm: Regional Summit Closes

Keynote Presentation

Austin DaceyAustin Dacey will be delivering our keynote address, entitled "A Secular Calling." This presentation is being hosted by AHA! @ Stanford.

Intellectual, moral, and religious movements often have a calling, a social agenda with which they become associated by history. Nineteenth century "social Gospel" Protestants crusaded against urban poverty, child labor, and alcoholism; the refuseniks struggled for Jewish emigration rights in Soviet Russia. If secularism (in North America) is a movement, what is its calling? For what will it be remembered? Creating clubs of self-identifying atheists and agnostics? Desecrating communion wafers? This talk argues that the calling of secularism is not to champion atheism as such or to assemble congregation of nonbelievers, but to join in solidarity with liberal democratic movements against religious repression in unfree societies, especially under Islamic governments.

Austin Dacey is a writer and human rights advocate based in New York City. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, USA Today, and Science. In 2008 he released The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life, which argues for the central role of conscience in political and moral discourse. A former United Nations representative for the Center for Inquiry, Austin Dacey has participated in international debates regarding freedom of expression, religion, and the "dialogue among civilizations," speaking before the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

How to Get to Stanford
Study, study study. But if you're just coming for the leadership summit, these directions might help!

Google map of relevant places

Campus Google map

Flying to Stanford? Book your flight using the SSA's Travel Gateway and support secular students!
The Stanford campus is just south of Palo Alto, CA, between San Francisco and San Jose. It's pretty much the same distance from the San Francisco (SFO) and San Jose (SJC) airports, which serve different airlines so it's worth checking both. Oakland (OAK) is difficult without a car, but not impossible.

The SamTrans KX bus runs between SFO and the Palo Alto Transit Center. It costs $1.75, runs semi-frequently, and takes a little over an hour.

The free Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority (VTA) #10 bus (Airport Flyer) runs between SJC and the Santa Clara Transit Center. From there, the Caltrain runs to the Palo Alto Transit Center for $4.25 and takes about half an hour, but doesn't run at night. The VTA #522 express bus runs from there to the Palo Alto Transit Center frequently (but not very late at night and not on Sunday), costs $4, and takes a little over 45 minutes. The #22 bus covers the same route in an hour for $2, but runs late into the night and on Sundays.

If all else fails, the South and East Bay Shuttle is available at both airports. It costs $18 for the first person and $6 for each additional rider, with a $10 surcharge after 11:30 pm. It's not likely to be faster than mass transit, but it operates all the time. (It's like SuperShuttle but cheaper.)

In the Bay Area, street signs are misleading, or cleverly hidden behind shrubberies, and lots of streets have the same Spanish names. Online maps like Google tend to be surprisingly inaccurate on campus.

Stanford is between highways 101 and 280. Everything is at an angle (because it's on the Peninsula), so the cardinal directions are northwest/southeast (called north and south) and northeast/southwest (east and west). From the north: exit Highway 101 at Embarcadero Rd and follow it southwest to El Camino Real, then follow that northwest to your destination. From the south: exit highway 280 at Page Mill Rd and follow that northeast to El Camino Real, then follow that northwest to your destination.

On El Camino Real north(west)bound, the entrance to the Sheraton Palo Alto is in the right turn lane for the University Ave exit. (If you're coming from the opposite direction, you'll have to make a U-turn to get on the other side.) To get to downtown Palo Alto from that exit, use the middle lane and don't turn until the intersection - the right turn lane only leads into the Transit Center. To get to the campus, use the left lane and turn left at the light. On Palm Drive, generally avoid the right lane since it often becomes a turn lane. Note that left turns are prohibited at some intersections, but otherwise U-turns are legal (and even obligatory) in California.

On & Around Campus

The best way to get from the Sheraton to campus is probably to carpool and drive straight down Palm Drive and park in the Oval, which is free on weekends. Or, you could just walk - it's about a mile. The fallback is the free Marguerite shuttle, namely the "Shopping Express." The first bus leaves the Palo Alto Transit Center at 9:49 am and arrives at Via Ortega and Campus Drive West (the nearest stop to the Main Quad) around 10. The second bus isn't until 10:34 am, so stragglers will be in trouble.

Getting back to the hotel (or downtown) from the campus is easier. Starting at 8:34 pm and running past midnight, a different Marguerite line (the "Midnight Express") leaves the Oval every 20 minutes and actually goes a couple of blocks into downtown Palo Alto.

Advertising with the SSA
The Secular Student Alliance offers unique advertising opportunities for freethought organizations, businesses and authors. We offer opportunities to table at our regional leadership summits, and have opportunities for full-page, black-and-white advertisements in the conference proceedings booklets distributed to all conference attendees.

Tables for this event are $75.00 for the full weekend, including one free "Exhibitor" registration to the event. You can reserve a table at the 2010 NorCal Regional Leadership Summit through our online webform.

You may place a 8.5 x 11, black-and-white ad in our conference proceedings at one of three levels. Placing your ad in the proceedings for one regional leadership summit (either NorCal or Boston) is $50.00 - ideal for local off-campus organizations! You may place an ad in the proceedings for our National Conference in summer 2010 for $75.00. Or, you can place your ad in all three for a discounted rate of $100.00 - a great solution for authors, online businesses and national organizations. Reserve your ad space using our convenient webform!

Reserve a Table

Place a Conference Proceedings Ad

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