The EA events ecosystem: How to get more involved (as a participant)

by AmyLabenz, BarryGrimes2 min read27th Jan 2020No comments


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As members of CEA’s events team, we wrote this post to provide readers who are newer to the community with ideas for how they can get involved in EA events, from small gatherings to large conferences.

If you have questions or thoughts on anything written here, please comment on the post or contact us via this form. We’d love to help you find ways to get involved!

Looking for events?

If you’re looking for more ways to meet people in the community, we suggest:

Finding a nearby group

There are hundreds of EA groups around the world; you can search for groups near you on the Effective Altruism Hub

Groups run many different types of events, from light social meetups to serious discussions. You typically don’t need any experience to join, though student groups may have events that are open only to students at the relevant school.

Meeting people 1-on-1

Whether or not you find a suitable group, EA has a strong culture of 1-on-1 meetings where you can get to know community members and what they’re working on. These meetings can focus on light socializing, heavy intellectual conversation, or anything in between — it’s up to the participants!

 A few ways to find 1-on-1 meetings:

  1. Sign up for the EA Pen Pals program, which matches participants from many different backgrounds for conversations about effective altruism. See here for more details on the project.
  2. Use the EA Hub’s list of EA profiles to see if anyone lives near you and has made their contact information available. (That's a sign that they might be open to meeting; don't hesitate to ask!)
  3. Post a question on the EA Forum to see if anyone wants to talk. This is more likely to work if there’s a certain topic or career path you’d like to learn more about. Even if you don’t find someone directly, there’s a good chance you’ll be referred to someone else who can help.
  4. If you are a woman or non-binary person, you can sign up to meet with an experienced mentor through WANBAM (Women and Non-Binary Altruism Mentorship).

Attending an EAGx conference

EAGx conferences are community-organized events featuring more introductory EA content than EA Global. They usually take two days and involve a few hundred attendees, plus a range of subject-matter experts who give talks and run workshops. There are usually EAGx conferences in Europe, Australia, and the eastern U.S. each year.

If you aren’t able to attend EA Global, then we recommend attending your regional EAGx event instead. An EAGx in Berlin is not just for the EA community in Germany; it's for anyone in Europe (or the world, if you want to make the trip) who is interested in EA ideas.

These events are partly meant to help new folks meet up with experienced speakers and established groups, even if they don’t live near a group themselves. In the past, these conferences haven’t had a formal application process — you could just buy a ticket and attend. (This could change in the future, so be sure to check for any EAGx you consider attending.) 

To see examples of past EAGx conferences, check out the EA Global events page

If you’d like to learn about future conferences, sign up for our mailing list (which shares news on both EAGx and EA Global). The EA Newsletter also posts notices of upcoming events.

Applying to EA Global

EA Global is aimed at members of the EA community who already have a solid understanding of effective altruism, but want to gain skills, network, present their work, or move into new roles. 

Our goals for these conferences:

  • Connect people and organizations with the resources they need to be successful (including talent, funding, networks, and ideas)
  • Promote and discuss new research and developments in the movement
  • Encourage connections, goodwill, and coordination among EAs from different cause areas and different parts of the world

You must submit an application to attend EA Global, and many strong candidates aren’t accepted, for a variety of reasons. That said, some newer applicants will be accepted, and if you’re interested, you should strongly consider applying. (Reading our recent article on admissions and admissions FAQ may help.)

If you aren’t accepted, we hope that the other events we’ve outlined here also interest you. Spending time with an EA group in your area, or attending an EAGx conference, is a good way to build experience and connections that will make you a strong candidate in future years.

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