CFI’s Student Leadership Conference 2011

April 28, 2011


Celebrating 15 years of CFI’s campus outreach!

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 Student Leadership Conference June 23–26 at CFI–Transnational in Amherst, NY.

Attendees of the 2010 CFI Leadership Conference

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 conference begins on Thursday afternoon and wraps up at lunchtime on Sunday. We will post a schedule in the coming weeks. (Take a look at last year’s conference schedule for an idea of the general proceedings.)


We are keeping the costs down to help affiliated campus groups send representatives even if they lack the resources to do so. CFI can subsidize room and board for up to two students from each affiliated campus group so that the entire cost of registration, housing, and meals for the four-day event—a value of over $200!—is only $99 per student. Additional group members from the same school need only cover the cost of housing in addition to the registration rate. See the registration form for details:

Registration Application:
PDF or Word document

Here’s what you get for the cost of registration:

  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners from Thursday afternoon to Sunday’s lunch buffet
  • Three nights lodging in the University at Buffalo dorms, a couple of minutes from CFI–Transnational
  • Rides to and from the airport or bus station for those who aren’t driving
  • Morning and evening shuttle service between CFI and the dorms
  • An official conference t-shirt!


Travel Grants

A limited number of travel grants are available to help bring students to the conference by contributing to part of the travel cost. The grants are offered on a rolling basis, as available, so please apply as soon as possible to be considered for a travel grant. Additionally, many colleges and universities provide funds to help student groups send members to training and leadership conferences, so make sure to find out what’s available at your school. Click below to download an application form to register and apply for a travel grant:

Registration & Travel Grant Application:
PDF or Word document


Special Guest Speakers

CFI is pleased to announce the special guest speakers who will be joining CFI staff and student activists at the conference: 

Desiree Schell
Desiree Schell is the host of Skeptically Speaking, a live radio show and podcast that explores the connections between popular culture, history, and science, and promotes critical thinking beyond the ranks of current skeptics. In her work as a labor organizer, she creates and implements diverse campaigns and develops curricula and teaches courses on effective activism.

Dan Kahan
Dan Kahan is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Kahan does cutting-edge research regarding why some people claim to love science but reject its findings when they are inconvenient. His work includes determining how a person’s core values can sometimes interfere with his or her perceptions of reality. Kahan’s results have significant implications for how to communicate about controversial science in general.

Judy Johnson
Judy J. Johnson is a psychology professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary and the author of What’s So Wrong with Being Absolutely Right: The Dangerous Nature of Dogmatic Belief. A clinical psychologist and award-winning teacher, her ongoing research investigates the nature and measurement of dogmatism.

Rebecca Watson crop
Rebecca Watson leads a team of skeptical female activists at and appears regularly on the Curiosity Aroused podcast, the weekly Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast, and the Little Atoms radio show. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it.

And featuring a special performance on Friday night:

Brian Brushwood
Brian Brushwood began his career in magic “to get free drinks at bars and impress friends,” but ended up becoming a science communicator and skeptic. The author of Cheats, Cons, Swindles & Tricks and The Professional’s Guide to Fire Eating, Brian makes side show tricks cool again in his “Bizarre Magic Show” and communicates critical thinking to college students in his lecture “Scams, Sasquatch and the Supernatural.” In the show Scam School, Brian teaches viewers when the skeptics should be the scammers by pulling street cons, swindles and scams in the name of skepticism.

In addition to these special guest speakers, attendees will have a chance to
meet with and hear from noted CFI staff such as:


Connect with Other Attendees Online

If you plan to attend, you can join us on Facebook to meet the other students and community leaders who are coming, and follow @cfioncampus on Twitter for the latest updates.

Not a student?

Donate today 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.

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at