Tomorrow the United States Student Association convenes for it’s 66th annual membership meeting, the National Student Congress. USSA is the organization that first brought me into student organizing on a national scale, and the group on which I wrote my doctoral dissertation. It’s a big part of the reason why I’m a historian, a teacher, and an activist.
For the last few years USSA has been inviting me out to the Congress every summer to lend a hand — running workshops, facilitating discussions, chairing plenary sessions, and serving as a sort of roving informal adviser. It’s one of the most rewarding, and most challenging, things I do every year.
This summer’s Congress is shaping up to be a fascinating one, for reasons I’ll be talking more about in the coming days. USSA is going through a period of reinvention right now, and lots of folks will be coming to the Congress with proposals for action and reform. All signs suggest that there’s going to be at least one really interesting officer race, too.
As for me, I’ll be arriving in New Jersey around
lunchtime dinnertime tomorrow. On Saturday at 3:20 I’ll be facilitating the Association’s People of Color Ally Space, on Sunday at 1:30 I’ll be co-presenting a workshop on parliamentary procedure, and for most of Monday and Tuesday I’ll be at or near the plenary chair’s podium. Other than that I’ll be mostly making myself available to whoever for whatever, so if you’re there and you see me and you’ve got a question or an idea — or just want to say hi — please do. That’s what I’m there for.
USSA is the country’s oldest and largest student-run student activist organization. It’s been a force for grassroots organizing, activist training, and legislative lobbying since the 1940s, and the coming year is going to be a big one on all three fronts. Can’t wait to watch it unfold.