Eastern Regional Conference

This essay is reproduced here as it appeared in the print edition of the original Science for the People magazine. These web-formatted archives are preserved complete with typographical errors and available for reference and educational and activist use. Scanned PDFs of the back issues can be browsed by headline at the website for the 2014 SftP conference held at UMass-Amherst. For more information or to support the project, email sftp.publishing@gmail.com

Eastern Regional Conference

‘Science for the People’ Vol. 9, No. 1, January/Februrary 1977, p. 36–37

Proposed Agenda April 15-17, 1977 Voluntown, Conn. 

(Towards an organizational definition & prospects for national practice.) 

Science for the People members and friends will be gathering April 15, 16 and 17 for the Eastern Regional Conference. The conference provides a unique opportunity to meet people, exchange information and experiences, and move forward with our political and organizational work. 

The conference is the body which decides on the overall directions and focus of SftP in the coming year. At this year’s conference we will try to sum up our past practice, formulate a program identifying issues which we believe important to work around, seriously explore working in coalition with other groups, and set up a mechanism for starting new chapters. 

The following is the proposed agenda and schedule for the Science for the People Eastern Regional Conference to be held this spring. It has been submitted by the Eastern Regional Coordinating Committee (ERCC). which asks SftP members and friends to respond to the proposal with any criticism and observations to improve the content or the format. The aim of the conference is to define organizational principles from the past practices of SftP. 


Arrival, buffet meal, informal discussions, final organizing by ERCC, chairpeople, etc. 

Invited speaker: “Political Economy” 




Plenary- History & analysis of chapter practice. Presentation and discussions as follows: Boston- 40 min. presentation, 20 min. discussion
N.Y.C.-20 min. presentation, 10 min. discussion
Stony Brook-20 min. presentation, 10 min. discussion
Amherst-10 min. presentation, 10 min. discussion
Tallahassee-10 min. presentation, 10 min. discussion
(The remaining 20 minutes to be apportioned by the chair as seems appropriate). 

The above presentations will be based on an analysis by each chapter of its past & present practice with particular emphasis on the success or failure of various topical projects, and how these in turn affected the chapter’s ability to function, organize and grow. Presentations should be prepared especially for this conference and should include a concise summary of the principles derived from the chapter’s practice that it proposes as guidelines for both its own future work and for that of SftP as a whole. Any particularly successful or important project that the chapter wishes to offer as a focus for national activity by the organization should also be emphasized. 



Topical Workshops 

These workshops will examine the projects which were introduced in the morning plenary with respect to the potential they offer for future work and for national organizing. Each discussion should include a consideration of the suitability of a topic for different chapter environments (e.g., isolated universities vs big cities). Proposals of principles to guide practice (concerning both form & substance) should be developed from these workshops for discussion and possible adoption at the Sunday plenary session.

Such workshops will surely include many of the following topics:
Genetic Engineering & other technologies for social control
Health Care, and Occupational Health & Safety Alternative Technologies
Energy & Environment, and Nuclear Power
China Trips Science Teaching Women in Science
Science & the Military Food, Nutrition & Agriculture

Plenary- Past Experience with National Practice 

This session will consist of: 

  1. a) Two brief (5-10 mins) presentations of a critical analysis of past activities at AAAS meetings, followed by 20 minutes of discussion aimed at developing guidelines for such work in the future. 
  2. b) Two brief (5-10 mins) presentations detailing the relationship between SftP magazine and the national organization, followed by 20 minutes of discussion. 
  3. c) One brief presentation concerning the importance & desirability of taking stands on issues of national scope, including the mechanisms by which such stands are determined in a mass organization like SftP. Discussion to follow. 


Entertainment—chapters are urged to prepare skits, slide shows, songs or other appropriate irreverent entertainment. 





This session will be composed of three parts: 

1) Proposed organizational principles derived from past practice; criteria for membership in Sftp 

2) Adoption of a national program—
(Suggestions should follow from the Sat. afternoon workshops & plenary). Possible aspects include: a) determining stands on national issues b) coordinated presentations at national scientific meetings c) guidance for SftP magazine as a focus for national activity.

3) Suggested projects for emphasis by particular chapters. In each part the proposals from the various workshops will be considered as appropriate. The chair will apportion the time according to the wishes of the body. 


Afternoon Sessions 

(No issues adopted here, but we urge your interested attendance) Implementation of National Organizing: Chapter Initiation and chapter growth The role of the Eastern Regional Committee, Resource packet, travelling chapter contacts.




From New York City and points south: Conn. Turnpike past New London and Norwich to Exit 85. Then follow this map. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour trip from NYC. 

From Boston, Providence, and points north: take I-95 south to Exit 5-S toRt. 102. Take a right turn onto Rt. 3 and another right on Rt. 165. Follow the map. It’s about two hours from Boston, an hour from Providence. 

Voluntown to CNVA: 2 miles 

Conn. Tnpk. to CNV A: 7 miles 


From New York, Boston and other major cities, take Greyhound to New London. There are infrequent connection buses from New London to Norwich to Jewett City (15 minutes from Voluntown. Inquire at Greyhound station.) 


AMTRAK (Penn-Central) to New London, Ct., or Westerly, R.I. In New York City, catch the train at Penn Station.  

IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, let us know. We’ll try to arrange to pick you up.

 CNVA RFD 1, Box 430 Voluntown, CT 06384 (203) 376-9970

Additional Information 

  • 60 beds will be available, but without linens, so bring a sleeping bag. 
  • We’ve been asked not to bring drugs. CNVA would rather be hassled for better reasons.
  • CNV A is providing food and cooking for us, but has asked that we help with cleanup, so look forward to lending a hand. 
  • If you’re planning to bring children, let us know how many, their ages, and what you can afford for their food and lodging. We’ll try to arrange rotating child care to allow parents to participate in the conference. •For directions to Voluntown by bus, train, and auto, for rides and riders, please contact the Boston office. 


Voluntown, Conn April 15,16,17 1977 




Do you need a ride? Will you have room for others? If so, how many? 

When will you arrive? By what transportation?

Are you bringing children? How many? Ages 

Can you afford to contribute for their food & lodging? Amount 

Which workshops are you interested in? 

What else would you like to have discussed at the conference? 

(Fee is $26 for food & lodging for one adult) I am enclosing 

(Checks should be made out to Science for the People) I will pay on arrival 


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