If you're a CFI student group leader, or if you're starting a skeptic, secular, or freethought group at your college or high school, we invite you to attend CFI's Leadership Conference July 24–27 at the Center for Inquiry–Transnational.
This year, for the first time, we are also welcoming leaders of affiliated skeptic and freethought community groups to the CFI Leadership Conference. This includes leaders of groups affiliated with the Council for Secular Humanism, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, or the new CFI Network.
The event brings together student and community activists from across North America for four days packed with leadership training, workshops, networking, educational presentations, and more! The program begins on Thursday afternoon and wraps up Sunday at lunchtime.
About the CFI Student Leadership Conference
Center for Inquiry On Campus promotes and defends reason, science, and freedom of inquiry in education, and is committed to the enhancement of freethought, skepticism, secularism, humanism, philosophical naturalism, rationalism, and atheism on college and high school campuses throughout North America and around the world.
Since 1996, the Center for Inquiry's campus outreach initiative has brought together students and community leaders to train them in outreach, advocacy, activism, and leadership.
The CFI Student Leadership Conference is designed around three main objectives. First, we give student and community leaders the tools and skills necessary to make an impact in their communities. Second, we create an atmosphere where new and experienced leaders can network and establish important connections to other leaders in the movement. Finally, we hope to inspire and energize the attendees and empower them to make real change in the world.
If you are a student leader and would like to attend the CFI Student Leadership Conference, please go to the registration page and fill out the online form. The registration fee does not have to be paid up front, and travel grants are available on a rolling basis to help students attend. Register now »
Connect with Other Attendees
Not a Student?
If you are a leader of a CFI-affiliated skeptic or freethought community group, you can register for the conference for the first time this year.
We also encourage leaders who are able to donate to help us provide travel grants to the many student group leaders who are eager to attend but who cannot afford the full cost of travel. If you're interested in sponsoring students from a specific school or region, please contact Debbie Goddard by e-mail or at (716) 636-4869 ext. 421.
Conference presenters include Desiree Schell, Edward Tabash, Debbie Goddard, Cody Hashman, Stef McGraw, Ben Cook, Max Nielsen, and more to be announced in the coming weeks. Read more »
Policy of the Center for Inquiry on Hostile Conduct/Harassment at Conferences: View policy »
UB’s Summer Conference Guest Guide: View guide (.PDF) »
Center for Inquiry–Transnational
3965 Rensch Rd.
Amherst, NY 14228
Travel to CFI–Transnational
By car: Parking is available at the Center for Inquiry and at the dorms.
By bus or train: We can provide rides to and from the bus and train stations in the Buffalo metro area. Please be in touch with us at oncampus
By plane: CFI–Transnational is about 20 minutes away from the Buffalo-Niagara Airport (BUF). If you are flying in, please send your itinerary to oncampus
All meals from Thursday afternoon through lunch on Sunday are included in the cost of registration and take place on the CFI premises. Vegetarian and vegan options are available. If you have other specific dietary requirements or any food allergies, please indicate that on the registration form.
Lindsay Beyerstein is an investigative journalist in Brooklyn, New York. Her reporting has appeared in Slate, The Columbia Journalism Review, Newsweek, Al Jazeera America, The New Republic, and other publications. Her photography has appeared The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times’ City Blog, and other outlets. She is the co-host of Point of Inquiry, a radio show and podcast produced by the Center for Inquiry. She is the lead writer at the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to honoring excellence in socially conscious journalism.
Marcus Thompson is a senior at Phillips Academy, Andover and a lifelong atheist from Manchester, Massachusetts. At Andover, he is the president of the Democrats Club, Vice President of Model UN, and founder of the Andover Atheist Society, once rejected and still yet to be approved by Andover’s administration. He has led local campaign activities for Senator Elizabeth Warren and interned in her Boston office. Marcus’ interests include politics, history, and international relations. In his free time he enjoys playing squash and listening to classical music.
Isaiah Smith is a human rights activist and is the founder of the Universal Human and Civil Rights Union (UHCRU), as well as his own political campaign. At 19 years old, he is currently a fully time correctional officer in a Texas prison and is about to start school in the fall as a full time student. He is dedicated to becoming an attorney and a politician in the future. Isaiah has over 80 online news articles about him for standing up for things that he believes in, such as gay rights and the separation of church and state.
The Leadership Conference begins on Thursday, July 24 around 4:00pm and ends on Sunday, July 27 around 1:00pm.
Some of the featured workshops and presentations include:
- Gaining Political Clout on Your Campus, a presentation by Sarah Levin
- I Had Malaria and So Can You: Secular Service and You, a presentation by Ben Blanchard
"For a year The Pathfinders traveled doing work in developing countries as atheists. Through 8 countries and 10 projects, they paved the way for a new form of service in the secular community. Learn about secular service, how it affects you, and how you can benefit."
- High School Activism, a panel discussion with Jordan Balderas and Isaiah Smith, moderated by Max Nielson
- Campus & Community, a panel discussion with Jennifer Beahan, Jesse Markus, and Benjamin Cook
- Skeptical Activism Workshop with Desiree Schell
- Political Advocacy Workshop with Michael De Dora
- Live Forever: How to Make Succession Planning a Priority, a presentation by Stef McGraw
”Running a group is great, but even better is making sure the group lives to see the days past its original leadership. This presentation will explain the how’s and why’s of effective succession planning.”
- Taking Your Group to the Next Level, a presentation by Cody Hashman
- Protests: How and Why, a presentation by Max Nielson
- How to Throw a Big Event, a presentation by Julie Mankowski and Will Bonnett
- Developing an Online Presence, a workshop with Sarah Kaiser
- The Science of Change, a presentation by Debbie Goddard
- The Scope of Humanism, a presentation by Ron Lindsay
There will also be an optional Secular Celebrant Training available on July 24 from 9:00am until 4:00pm before the conference beings.
Curious? Want to learn more? Visit cfileadership.org to find out about our conference for leaders in the skeptic and freethought movements, taking place July 24-27, 2014.