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EA Week at Harvard

Hi EAs,

 

Harvard College EA is going to organize an "EA week"  from April 12 to 17.


Currently, we are planning on doing the following events:

  • Peter Singer talk promoting his new book on EA, hopefully with free EA-style t-shirts to for attendees.

  • Daron Acemoglu talk on institutions and economic development

  • 80k-style events, including a competition for free 80k coaching and career panels.

  • A movie night

  • Giving games, and possibly a fundraiser

  • Possibly a panel with the Dean of Harvard College, who expressed his support for this.


We are currently trying to find ways to get as much as we can from this opportunity. In particular, we would like to:

  • Reach as many Harvard students (and faculty) as possible

  • Align this with current efforts in EA outreach

  • Learn more about large-scale events so that we can aim higher in next years


We would love to hear if the broader EA movement can have any input on this, because we would love to make this as aligned with existing EA strategies as possible. In particular, we would be interested in hearing your ideas on:

  • General Outreach: How should we formulate the main message of the week?

  • T-shirt design: what design should we use? We are not in love with the current EA logo but would use it if EAs think it is the best option. What message should the T-shirt carry?

  • Demand: If we manage to make the t-shirts look nice, what is your estimate of demand among EAs outside Harvard?

  • Other things: Are we missing some obvious things EAs are already doing (i.e. an initiative) or do you have other general ideas?


We can also offer two giving opportunities:

  • We need to raise $1-2k in order to make the T-shirts, depending on the expected demand outside Harvard.

UPDATE: We already found a donor.
  • Peter Singer typically asks the hosts of his talks to give ~10k to effective charities. While this is not a strict demand, we would like to come close to this goal. To this end, we will try to find external sources, so that we redirect more money to good causes. However, we would appreciate if someone who is already planning to give to an effective charity is willing to do so nominally for the purpose of this talk, so that we have a safety cushion in case fundraising doesn’t go well.

UPDATE: Charity Science offered a backup


If you're interested in either of these opportunities, please comment or contact us at harvardea@gmail.com. Thanks!

Comments (10)

Comment author: Ben_Kuhn 26 March 2015 10:05:37PM 4 points [-]

To fund free t-shirts for people, you could sell them to the EA community at a markup and use the markup to fund shirts to give away. I imagine there would be high demand among EAs for a t-shirt that tastefully advertised effective altruism as a conversation-starter.

Other things: Are we missing some obvious things EAs are already doing (i.e. an initiative) or do you have other general ideas?

Random brainstorming, roughly in order of how promising they sound to me intuitively:

  • Promotions from local businesses (get them to donate part of their profits to an effective charity if the purchaser is wearing an EA week shirt or something; this also incentivizes shirts)
  • Media coverage (student or Cambridge local)
  • Competitions (by dorm? by club? could make the fundraiser competitive)
  • Things that you can get sent out over widely-read email lists (dorm-related events?)
  • Tie-ins with courses
Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 27 March 2015 12:11:29AM 1 point [-]

I imagine there would be high demand among EAs for a t-shirt that tastefully advertised effective altruism as a conversation-starter.

I'd definitely be interested. I feel like this hasn't been done well yet.

Comment author: Ben_Kuhn 27 March 2015 02:42:43AM 0 points [-]

Has it been done at all? I guess the EA Summit shirts kind of count, but not really.

Comment author: Ales_Flidr 27 March 2015 08:09:53PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the suggestions, Ben! We will look into them at our next org meeting tomorrow.

As for the T-shirts, we found someone who is willing to donate, but obviously the lower the costs, the better. And we are still looking for suggestions from EA about the design, so if anyone has ideas, please let us know!

Comment author: Tom_Ash  (EA Profile) 26 March 2015 10:32:15PM 2 points [-]

we would appreciate if someone who is already planning to give to an effective charity is willing to do so nominally for the purpose of this talk, so that we have a safety cushion in case fundraising doesn’t go well.

We (Charity Science) have a list of people happy to make seed donations of this sort, and could easily handle 10k. Just let me know if you need to take it up.

Comment author: Ales_Flidr 27 March 2015 08:05:18PM 0 points [-]

Thank you, Tom! I will let you know in a few days what things look like and whether it is likely that we will need your backup.

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 27 March 2015 12:15:26AM 0 points [-]

We need to raise $1-2k in order to make the T-shirts, depending on the expected demand outside Harvard.

Could you "sell" the shirts for a suggested donation to recoup some of the losses? Or do you think it would be better for the shirts to be free?

Comment author: Peter_Hurford  (EA Profile) 27 March 2015 12:14:11AM 0 points [-]

Peter Singer typically asks the hosts of his talks to give ~10k to effective charities. While this is not a strict demand, we would like to come close to this goal. To this end, we will try to find external sources, so that we redirect more money to good causes. However, we would appreciate if someone who is already planning to give to an effective charity is willing to do so nominally for the purpose of this talk, so that we have a safety cushion in case fundraising doesn’t go well.

Could you elaborate a bit more on this? It seems to me that you could just try as hard as you can to fundraise and if you fall short, it sounds like Singer wouldn't mind? Are you nervous that it would look bad if you didn't come up with the $10K?

Do you know how other colleges have afforded Singer in the past? What did you do when you hosted Singer last year?

Comment author: Ben_Kuhn 27 March 2015 02:45:54AM 0 points [-]

I did the fundraising last year. We split the cost of his visit between ourselves and a bioethics organization, and he gave two talks, one for each org. For our own cosponsorship we also got a bunch of academic departments to pitch in and stuff. For that I had a lot more lead time, so didn't have to worry about arranging a backstop.

Comment author: Ales_Flidr 27 March 2015 08:04:20PM 0 points [-]

Right, the main problem is that we finalized the date after most departments and funds finalized their budget, so we only managed to raise ~1k.