2014 General Assembly – Providence, RI, June 25-29
The annual national conference of Unitarian Universalists – called the General Assembly (GA) – will be held right in Providence this year! From June 25-29, thousands of UUs will gather in Providence to make new friends, attend workshops, hear great lectures, participate in social action initiatives, and vote on issues of great importance.
It’s going to be wonderful! Will you be there? Would you like to be an official delegate from UUS:E?
What’s a delegate?
The GA is a great example of the 5th UU Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.
While anyone who registers can attend the GA – participating in every meeting, workshop and worship service – only delegates can cast votes during the large governance meetings. Each congregation chooses official delegates, based on the size of their membership. This year, UUS:E can send seven delegates to Providence. Delegates cast votes to choose our board members, our nation-wide leaders, and the justice issues on which our denomination will concentrate in the coming years.
How can I afford this?
Whether you’re a delegate or just attending the conference, adult registration for the five-day conference costs $330 until April 30 (it goes up to $380 after that). Thanks to the generosity of several UUS:E members, there’s a small amount of funding available for our delegates. Partial scholarships are also offered by the UUA for delegates who demonstrate financial need.
Volunteers get reduced-cost registration in return for 24 hours of donated time. For either scholarships or volunteer positions, applications must be filed in March. The Denominational Affairs Committee will be happy to assist anyone who is interested in either scholarship or volunteer applications. In addition, the costs associated with attending the conference – registration, housing, food and transportation – may be deductible on your taxes, if you are a delegate and you itemize. From an IRS publication: “If a qualified organization selects you to attend a convention as its representative, you can deduct your unreimbursed expenses for travel, including reasonable amounts for meals and lodging, while away from home overnight for the convention.” Here are two sites you may wish to read, or forward to your tax professional: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p526/ ar02.html
en_US_2013_publink1000229839 OR http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/remindnonprofit- volunteers-tax-deductions-29659.html
Housing is one of the biggest expenses. The UUA screens hotels for labor and green practices, and negotiates a block rate – typically $140-180. There may also be college campus accommodations this year, and members of Providence congregations are offering home hospitality. In addition, UUS:E is looking into getting a block of rooms or a large affordable rental – stay tuned for more information! And of course you’re welcome to make your own plans – the city will be full of UUs, and you’ll run into them no matter where you’re staying!
The official UUA housing options will be offered on-line, starting on March 3. The best rooms go fast – so log on to uua.org/ga in early March, if you’re interested in one of these options.