Schedule | 2021 YDSA Winter Conference – A Better World is Possible

The 2021 Winter Conference Committee is hard at work developing the workshops and trainings that will fill this year’s schedule. This schedule may shift, and content may be added or removed as we get closer to the conference. If you have any questions, or if you would like to get involved with planning the conference, please email [email protected] 

Pre-Conference Plenary

Check out our Winter Conference preview plenary on our campaign to Cancel ALL Student Debt below:

Friday, February 26

4PM ET – Self-Organized Breakout (Optional)

7PM ET – Kick-off Rally

7:30PM ET – Speaker: Barbara Ransby

8PM ET – Announcements

8:15PM ET – Socials (Optional)

Saturday, February 27

11AM ET – Open Breakouts (Optional)

12PM ET – Announcements

12:15PM ET – Plenary: Defund the Police

1:30PM ET – Short Break

1:45PM ET – 90 Minute Workshop Block

3:15PM ET – Long Break 

4:45PM ET – Speaker: Zohran Mamdani

5:15PM ET – Strategy Sessions

6:30PM ET – Long Break

8PM ET – Socials (Optional)

Sunday, February 28

12PM ET – Announcements

12:15PM ET – Plenary: COVID Relief

1:30PM ET – Short Break

1:45PM ET – 45 Minute Workshop Block

2:30PM ET – Long Break

4PM ET – Strategy Sessions

5PM ET – Closing

Workshop Topics

90-Minute Workshops

How to Hold a Successful 1 on 1 Conversation: This workshop is intended for chapters who want to expand their membership and engage more members in their core leadership. Students can expect to learn how to have structured organizing conversations with members to increase their engagement with the work of the chapter.

Escalating Tactics During Covid-19: This workshop will equip chapters with the skills they need to plan winning campaigns and choose escalating tactics that can be used during virtual learning to win a demand.

Building Healthy Organizing Spaces: This workshop is intended for comrades who want to ensure their chapter develops as a healthy organizing space and how to address white supremacy culture. We will also discuss best practices for navigating care and conflict.

De-escalation and Conflict Resolution: This workshop is intended for students who would like to develop skills to deescalate and resolve conflict that arises in organizing, whether external or internal.

Defund the Police to Abolish Capitalism: This workshop will give an overview of how policing is integral to constructing and maintaining the racial capitalism of the United States. The workshop will also provide participants tools to assess the utility of reforms and expand the scope of what might be abolitionist work.

Building Capacity and Developing Leaders Online: This workshop is intended for chapters who want to learn how to expand their membership as well as how to delegate out responsibilities in order to engage each member in driving the work of the chapter forward.

Cutting an Issue: This workshop will equip chapters with tools to launch a campaign. Students can expect how to break down an issue that is widely and deeply felt on campus into a clear, winnable strategy.

Running a Campus Labor Campaign: This workshop is for students who want to organize in support of campus labor and/or organize as student-workers on campus. Students can expect to learn about how to do so and develop strategies to successfully organize in support of workers and as workers.

How to Recruit to your Chapter: This workshop is intended to equip chapters with tools to expand their membership through outreach and recruitment.

Intro to the Rank and File Strategy: In the Rank-and-File Strategy Workshop, we’ll be discussing how YDSAers can engage strategically with the labor movement and what a lifelong commitment to building socialism looks like.

History of YDSA: This presentation covers the history of our organization from before its founding through today. Presented by a former YDSA staff organizer, you’ll learn about the campaigns, debates, and defining moments that made YDSA what it is today.

45-Minute Workshops

Keeping Members Engaged and Building Community Over Zoom: This workshop will equip students with skills to effectively organize and strengthen their membership during virtual learning.

Introduction to YDSA’s Campaign and Projects: This is for students or chapters who would like to expand their knowledge of YDSA’s organizing structure and current campaigns. Students will further develop their understanding of YDSA’s short and long term goals and will be able to communicate this information to students who ask about YDSA’s work.

How to Powermap: This workshop will focus on using a power map as a dynamic tool to help develop overall strategy and specific tactics for a strategic campaign. You will learn the elements of a power map including identifying a target, allies and opponents. Campaign research and relationship building skills that will help sharpen your power map will also be discussed. These tools can be applied to existing campaigns, as well as used to determine how realistic a potential campaign is for your chapter to take on.

How to Run a Social Media Campaign: This workshop will equip chapters with tools to develop a social media strategy as part of a campaign to win a specific demand.

How to Structure a Political Education Working Group: This workshop will equip chapters with the tools to establish consistent political education events.

Getting Ready for Summer Convention: An overview of what to expect in the months leading up to convention, and how to make sure your chapter is prepared. Get any convention questions answered here! 

How to Run a Phonebank: This workshop is intended for students who want to incorporate phone banking as an escalating tactic in current or future campaigns. Students can expect to learn how to run a phone bank and how to develop the phone banking skills of other members.

Strategy Sessions

Strategy sessions are breakout discussions where you will be able to meet with other attendees who are organizing around similar issues or under similar conditions to you. You should attend the strategy session that is most relevant to your chapter, or that is most relevant to the goals your chapter has set or plans for future work.

Mentoring new YDSA chapters (this strategy session is best for graduates or those who will be graduating or leaving school this year)

Starting a college chapter

Building an organizing committee from scratch

Organizing on a conservative campus

Starting an Afrosocialist working group

Organizing at HBCUs

Running a COVID relief campaign

Organizing at community colleges

Rank and File strategy

Running a Cancel Student Debt campaign

Starting a high school chapter

Running campaigns at high schools

Launching a mutual aid project

Running a defund police campaign