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2011 Southern California Leadership Summit


The Secular Student Alliance will be holding the 2011 Southern California Leadership Summit on February 18-20th, 2011. The summit will be hosted by the Secular Student Alliance at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. 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
Maps & Directions

This leadership summit is open to all students, leaders and members of SSA affiliates, off-campus supporters and leaders, and SSA members. Registration rates start at just $39 for the weekend! Registration includes admission to all workshops and sessions, Saturday evening's keynote presentation, and a reception on Friday evening.

Registration Rates

  • Student SSA Members: $39
  • Student Nonmembers: $79
  • Nonstudent SSA Members: $99
  • Nonstudent Nonmembers: $149

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

Online registration is now closed, so all registrations from this point forward will be done at the door.

Housing Information
Housing at the SoCal Leadership Summit will be at the Palm Garden Hotel located about 15 minutes outside campus. Rooms for this event can be split up to four ways and are only $87/night when you make your reservation and mention the Secular Student Alliance Conference. The hotel will also provide a free, complimentary breakfast each morning. You need to make your own reservations by calling Gery Sommer at 805-716-4335 or email him at sales@palmgardenhotel.com. You must have your rooms reserved by January 18th to guarantee the discounted rates.

Travel Grants
We 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 may be limited to a certain number 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 (500 words or so) 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/socal.travelgrant

Program & Schedule
All events held in Richter Hall (Room 100) inside the Ahmanson Science Center unless otherwise noted.

Friday, February 18
7:00pm - 10:00pm (or later!) Fun and games at CLU in Swenson 106! Also, join the SSA to celebrate our organization reaching a milestone: 250 affiliates across the country! Count on there being cake.
Saturday, February 19
10:00am Coffee, donuts, and fruit
10:30am Lyz Liddell, SSA Director of Campus Organizing
Cheating Death: Why Campus Groups Die and How to Save Yours
11:00am August Brunsman IV, SSA Executive Director
How to be a Campus Fundraising Ninja
11:30am Jesse Galef, SSA Communications Director
How to be a Media Pirate on your Campus
Noon Nate Mauger, SSA Assistant Campus Organizer
Interfaith Service Projects
12:30pm Group photo
1:00pm - 2:00pm LUNCH - Catered by CLU SSA, Len Eisenberg Donation Ceremony and
Final weigh-in of the JT Eberhard vs. Jen McCreight Weight Loss Competition!
2:00pm Joe Foley, Chair, SSA Board of Directors
Succession Planning
2:30pm Jennifer McCreight, Blogger (BlagHag.com)/SSA Board Member
Distinguishing Media Edginess from being Needlessly Offensive
3:00pm Sikivu Hutchinson, Feminist Author
Beyond Kumbaya
3:30pm - 4:30pm Peer Problem Solving (special session for high school students will be held in ASCI 105)
4:30pm Evan Clark, President and founder of SSA at Cal-Lutheran
How an Atheist Became Student-Body President at a Lutheran University
5:00pm Bobbie Kirkhart, President of Atheists United
You Can't Reason with Them: The Chinese Finger Torture of Talking Religion with True Believers
5:30pm Dan Barker, Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation
How to be an Anti-Antidisestablishmentarian
6:00pm - 8:00pm DINNER (you're on your own)
8:00pm - 9:30pm Michael Shermer, Ph.D., Author (Why People Believe Weird Things), Founding Publisher of Skeptic Magazine, Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, and Monthly columnist for Scientific American
Why People Believe Weird Things (will be held in Cal Lutheran's chapel)
9:30pm Clean up/Social
10:00pm - 11:00pm (or later!) Social time at BJ's
Sunday, February 20
10:00am Coffee, Donuts, and Fruit
10:30am - 12:30pm Darrel Ray, Director of The Institute for Performance Culture
The Changing Face of Leadership in the Secular Community: Dangers and Opportunities
12:30pm Wrap up session!

Keynote Presentation
 Michael Shermer
"Why People Believe Weird Things"

Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine , the Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American , the host of the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech , and Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Shermer has written a number of books; his two latest are The Mind of the Market and Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design.

Dr. Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991). He was a college professor for 20 years (1979-1998), teaching psychology, evolution, and the history of science at Occidental College (1989-1998), California State University Los Angeles, and Glendale College.

Since his creation of the Skeptics Society, Skeptic magazine, and the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, he has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report , 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, Tom Snyder, Donahue, Oprah, Leeza, Unsolved Mysteries (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!), and other shows as a skeptic of weird and extraordinary claims, as well as interviews in countless documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, The Science Channel, and The Learning Channel. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown .

He will be presenting his talk "Why People Believe Weird Things." In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment , many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, New Age hokum, and alien abduction. Dr. Shermer debunks these nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing.

Maps and Directions

Click here to view a map of the Thousand Oaks area, California Lutheran University Campus, and the Palm Garden Hotel (with discounted rates for conference attendees).

It is easiest to drive to Thousand Oaks from the surrounding area. If you are flying or taking a train into the area, LAX and Burbank airports are ideal. If you need transportation from the airport to the hotel or Thousand Oaks campus, please use this form to request a ride!

Advertising with the SSA

The Secular Student Alliance offers unique advertising opportunities for freethought organizations, businesses and authors. We offer opportunities for full-page, full-color advertisements in the conference proceedings booklets distributed to all conference attendees.

You may place a 8.5 x 11, full-color ad in our conference proceedings at one of three levels. Placing your ad in the proceedings for one regional leadership summit is $50.00 - ideal for local off-campus organizations! You may place an ad in the proceedings for our Annual Conference in the summer of 2011 for $75.00. Reserve your ad space using our convenient webform !

Reserve your Ad Space!

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