Austin
Arena Academy + Summit - FAQ

Arena and the Texas Democratic Party, Annie’s List, Texas Future Project, Battleground Texas are teaming up to train 200+ current and aspiring campaign staffers to make an impact in the 2022 elections and beyond.

  • When: 
    • Academy June 8-10, most days start at 9 a.m. and go to 6 p.m. local time.
      • Apply by April 17, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET
      • Applicants will be notified of admissions status by April 25
      • Full participation in Academy includes participating in the Academy June 8–10 and the Summit from June 11-12. If accepted to Arena Academy you will also be registered to Arena Summit.
    • Summit June 11-12, most days start at 10 a.m. and go to 4 p.m. local time. 
      • Register by June 1, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET
      • Registration will remain open until all available spaces have been filled. Register soon to reserve your spot. 
  • Where: In person at the Austin Marriott South in Austin, Texas.
  • Who:  
    • Academy: 200+ current and aspiring campaign staffers 
    • Summit: 300+ current and aspiring campaign staffers, activists, community leaders, electeds, and changemakers. 
  • What: 
    • Arena Academy: Participants take part in an immersive three-day learning experience, selecting one of seven tracks: Campaign Management, Communications, Data, Digital, Finance, Organizing, or Organizing Director. Arena Academy is designed to help you build the skills, knowledge, and tools you need to drive winning campaigns and movements. If you’re considering working on a campaign, you’ve come to the right place!
    • Arena Summit: The Arena Summit is a gathering of rising leaders from across Texas and the country. This event will bring together activists, civic entrepreneurs, industry veterans, and community leaders to make connections, forge partnerships, and imagine new ways to move our progressive agenda forward. This event will be an opportunity to learn about and strategize on the challenges ahead.

Here are a few frequently asked questions about Arena Academy and Summit.

Table of Contents

More Academy Details

Who is the Academy designed for?

It’s designed for aspiring campaign managers, communications, data, digital, finance, and organizing staff. Participant tracks will be tailored to these roles, but all will incorporate a heavy emphasis on leadership and management.

What happens at the Academy?

To get a good sense of the full experience, read stories from our previous Arena Academies on our blog:

Des Moines Recap

Reflections on the Charleston Academy

How much does the Academy cost?

The full cost of registration for five-day Academy & Summit is $300. These costs are hundreds and even thousands of dollars less than the true cost of attending Arena Academy and other comparable programs. It does not cover the actual cost per trainee to Arena, but it does offset our overall investment in the Academy program.

For details about the cost of attending Arena Summit, see below.  

Are there scholarships?

We want to make sure there are no barriers to applying, so we offer a range of need-based scholarships. Just complete the scholarship section of the application. If you’re accepted, we’ll let you know what level of scholarship we’re able to offer. If you have other questions as you consider your decision, just email [email protected] or if you receive a text message from our team about your application, just text back.

Does the scholarship cover transportation & housing?

In the past, our scholarships have covered travel expenses (hotel and airfare or ground transportation costs) in addition to registration fees.

In the application, there’s a section where you can share more about your scholarship needs. We’ll let you know what level of scholarship you receive upon admittance. 

Will we receive the training materials?

Yes. Slides will be made available to participants after the course. You’ll be asked to join Arena Careers to have access. You can join ahead of time by creating a profile

What about the Arena Summit?

If accepted to Arena Academy, your registration will cover the cost of the Academy and the Summit. Arena Academy participants are expected to attend the Academy and the Summit. 

Will there be a virtual hybrid learning option?

No. We do not currently offer an online option for in-person events. 

Will Arena host virtual Academies in the future?

Yes. Stay tuned!

Will I need to provide details on vaccination status?

We at Arena are doing everything we can to keep all attendees safe from COVID-19 while participating in Arena Academy Austin, while understanding we can’t eliminate all risks. 

To that end, and in alignment with our values, Arena requires that everyone attending Arena Academy Austin receive a booster shot against COVID-19 at least two weeks prior to June 8th. 

If accepted, when you register we will ask you to confirm your booster status. We will collect a photo of your vaccine card (or another medical record) during registration. Participants will need three mRNA (Pfizer & Moderna) doses or two doses if one is Johnson & Johnson to be considered boosted. 

Accommodations for religious, medical, or any other reason required by law will be considered on an individual basis.

Follow this link for up-to-date information on our covid protocols and policies.

More Arena Summit Details

What is the Arena Summit?

Arena Summit convenes, connects, and supports the next generation of civic leaders. Since 2016, we’ve held five Summits, reaching over 2,500 attendees. We went to Nashville, Raleigh, Detroit, Phoenix, and Philadelphia. The Arena Summit is a gathering of rising leaders from across Texas and the country. This event will bring together activists, civic entrepreneurs, industry veterans, and community leaders to make connections, forge partnerships, and imagine new ways to move our progressive agenda forward. This event will be an opportunity to learn about and strategize on the challenges ahead.

These collaborative gatherings continue to be critically important. They provide a space for leaders and activists to connect with each other in the service of improving our democracy — and newly-energized leaders need help finding the most effective ways to get involved and unite with others. We are craving community, connection, and progressive change.

At prior Summits, we featured thought leaders such as Lauren Underwood, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Jason Kander, DeRay Mckesson, Pete Buttigieg, Jennifer Granholm,  Martin O’Malley, and Brian Deese.

What’s the theme for the Austin Summit?

The Austin Summit will center conversations around voting rights, reproductive rights, and environmental justice. Texas is ground zero for many of these fights, and Texas activists and organizations are leading movements to defend and change our approaches to these topics. The Summit is an opportunity to learn from those in the field and collaborate on steps we need to take as a movement in 2022 and beyond. 

How long is the Austin Arena Summit? 

Two days. Summit will begin Saturday, June 11th, and close on Sunday, June 12th at 4:30 p.m. local time.

What happens at the Summit? 
Pragmatic Programming

We motivate attendees with speeches and interviews with values-aligned politicians and civic leaders. We focus on programming that builds skills and relationships.

Training

We offer training along three themes: 1) Voting Rights; 2) Reproductive Rights; 3) Environmental Justice. You’ll learn about the context and skills needed to protect, expand, innovate, and advocate for change on these topics. You can choose to stick to one theme for breakout sessions or bounce around between topics. 

Community

Attendees will have plenty of time to socialize and network at the Academy. We’ll facilitate regional interactions and help you identify and work with your people at the Summit. 

How much does it cost to attend the Summit?

Our two-day Summit’s full cost of registration is $150. We offer a subsidized registration price of $50. You can also register yourself and sponsor a scholarship recipient for $300. 

If you cannot afford to pay the registration price, please reach out to our team at [email protected]

Can I attend both the Academy and Summit?

You can attend one or both of these events. Space is limited. You must apply and be accepted to Arena Academy if you would like to attend the staff training. The deadline to apply for Arena Academy is April 17 at 11:59 p.m. ET. If you aren’t accepted to the Academy, you can still register for the Summit. 

Do I have to attend both the Academy and Summit?

No. Pick the event that is right for you. Those accepted to Academy are expected to attend the Academy and the Summit. 

Will I need to provide details on vaccination status?

We at Arena are doing everything we can to keep all attendees safe from COVID-19 while participating in Arena Academy Austin, while understanding we can’t eliminate all risks. 

To that end, and in alignment with our values, Arena requires that everyone attending Arena Academy Austin receive a booster shot against COVID-19 at least two weeks prior to June 8th. 

If accepted, when you register we will ask you to confirm your booster status. We will collect a photo of your vaccine card (or another medical record) during registration. Participants will need three mRNA (Pfizer & Moderna) doses or two doses if one is Johnson & Johnson to be considered boosted. 

Accommodations for religious, medical, or any other reason required by law will be considered on an individual basis.

Follow this link for up-to-date information on our covid protocols and policies.

How many people attend the Summit? 

We expect to have 400 – 500 people attend the Summit. Space is limited, and registration is first-come-first-serve. Registration will close when all the spots have been filled. 

When should I arrive for Arena Summit?

We ask that you arrive in the Austin Marriott South Ballroom no later than 10:00 am local time on Saturday, June 10th.

When should I depart Arena Summit?

We ask that you plan to depart the Austin Marriott South  no earlier than 6:00 pm local time on Sunday, June 12 at 4:30 p.m. local time. 

Will there be food? 

Each day you’ll be on your own for breakfast and dinner. Lunch, snacks, and coffee will be provided while we’re working away. Please list any dietary restrictions on the Summit registration, and we’ll accommodate them.

You’ll be on your own for dinner, though we’ll provide suggestions on where to go. We hope you’ll use this time to get to know fellow participants.

Will there be free time?

Yes. Each day will have at least two breaks, plus lunch, and you’ll be on your own most evenings with optional workshops and social events.

Academy Application

When is the application deadline?

Sunday, April 17, 2022, 11:59 pm ET

What do I need to complete the application process?

Prepare this information in advance:

  1. A short video (3 minutes or less) or a written response (500 words or less) – it’s your choice — explaining why you want to attend Arena Academy.
  2. A copy of your current resume. PDF, please!
  3. If you don’t have a formal resume, please tell us about your past experience in your own words. 
  4. We recommend preparing all of this in advance so that you can simply plug it in when you sit down to complete your application. 
What makes a good prompt response? 
  1. It tells us why this work is important to you. 
  2. It tells us what you plan to do with this training. 
I don’t have any experience at all in politics, am I really eligible?

We’re accepting people at all experience levels and yes, you are eligible.

When will I hear back from you regarding my application?

Monday, April 25, 2022 

Which track should I do?

Our three-day intensive training program focuses on equipping you with the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in a specific role. But regardless of the role for which you’re training, all of our curriculum includes a heavy emphasis on management, leadership, and digital and data literacy. You’ll pick from one of seven training tracks, including:

Campaign Manager: Campaign Managers sit at the heart of every campaign, managing a wide range of people and projects to achieve victory. It is uniquely exhilarating and hard work, and this track will equip you with the foundational knowledge you need to run a smart, progressive campaign this cycle. (And improve upon them in the future.) This track walks through every part of a campaign, from creating a pathway to victory, to budget, finance, communications, and more. In each session, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge you need to pull it all together into a winning campaign plan. Because this track assumes a basic level of campaign knowledge, it is best suited for those with prior campaign experience, though, relevant transferable experience is considered when reviewing applications.

Communications: This track is for you if you are looking to step into a role crafting a campaign’s core messaging, running the press shop, and directing rapid response. You’ll learn how to tell your candidate’s story and the story of what’s happening on the campaign to the press. We believe that great communications professionals are excellent storytellers and calculated strategists. Whether you’ve worked on a campaign before or have transferable skills from another industry, this track will give you the practice and the tangible skills you need to help campaigns communicate their message.

Data: Our philosophy is that data should be actionable and drive people-focused campaign strategies. The data track teaches the necessary technical skills needed to analyze large data sets in an electoral campaign context. This is an immersive experience where you will get an opportunity to write code (maybe your first line of code) and work with a team to incorporate analysis that informs a winning campaign plan. This track gives foundational knowledge for how campaigns work and use data, which is perfect for anyone looking to break into data within electoral politics. This track is also great for data-minded campaigners in non-data roles looking to level up their data know-how.

Digital: The field of digital on campaigns is vast and can mean many different things. This track gives you a foundational understanding of what it means to work in digital and how different campaigns structure digital teams. We place a heavy focus on building your strategic skills in paid media, how to run a paid media program, how to make creative for paid media, and how to evaluate if paid media is successful. We also dive into owned media, digital fundraising, digital reporting, and running email programs. You leave this track with some new technical skills and the frameworks for how to think about and run effective digital programs to win elections. 

Finance: The finance department raises the money that powers all other aspects of campaign operations. In this track, you’ll learn how to cultivate donors, manage call-time, make a strong fundraising task, and raise money online. From writing a finance plan to writing a fundraising email, we’ll cover both the strategy and details of a successful finance department. This track is for you if you like the idea of building high-powered networks and managing their capacity to fund a robust campaign.

Organizer: Many campaign professionals get their start as organizers on campaigns. At Arena, we believe the best organizers come from all walks of life and bring a deep passion for their community to this work. Organizers are the frontline of a campaign, connecting to voters digitally and in-person and creating teams of dedicated volunteers to scale and amplify the campaign’s efforts. This track will teach you the skills you need to be a successful organizer in a digital world. You’ll learn how to develop and manage teams of volunteers to amplify the campaign’s message and move voters to the polls to vote for your candidate. If you’re new to politics, the organizer track is a great place to start.

Organizing Director: You must have served at least one cycle as an organizer—on a campaign or in any advocacy, electoral, or community-based organization—to be considered for this track. Organizing Directors set the strategy for the organizing program and lead teams of organizers and volunteers to meet goals. Organizing Directors are both compassionate people-managers and goals-driven data nerds. This track is for you if you are looking to step into a role managing the organizing program of a campaign. You’ll learn how to target voters, build voter universes, establish metrics and goals, and manage a team of organizers to persuade and turnout voters.

 

Academy Event Logistics

What should I expect each day?

Each day, you can expect to participate in a comprehensive and challenging program, designed to prepare you for a staff position on a 2022 campaign. There will be a mix of track-specific and program-wide sessions. You can expect to be part of a dynamic, diverse, and thoughtful cohort of peers. You can expect to talk with and learn from some of the smartest political minds in the country. You can expect to be challenged, empowered, and asked questions.

Will there be an Arena Cup?

With the addition of the Summit programming, we will not have an Arena Cup component of Austin Academy.

What do I need to bring?

If accepted, you’ll be getting a full packing list from us in the lead-up to Academy. In the meantime, we encourage you to bring comfortable clothes, a notebook and something to write with, a laptop and cell phone if you have them, an N95 mask, a few COVID-19 rapid tests, if you can access them, and a positive and open attitude.

Where should I stay? 

You are responsible for arranging your own accommodations. We do not have a hotel block. We have a limited number of hotel scholarships available, and recipients will be notified of their scholarship status upon admission. There are many hotel options close by, as well as Airbnbs and other accommodations. You can connect with fellow attendees via Slack upon admission to search for potential roommates, if you are comfortable sharing accommodations.  

When should I arrive?

To get the most out of the experience, we strongly recommend that you plan to be present for the full five days. We ask that you arrive in the Austin Marriott South  Ballroom no later than 12:00 pm local time on Wednesday, June 8th.

When should I depart?

We ask that you plan to depart the Austin Marriott South no earlier than 6:00 pm local time on Friday, June 10th. If you plan to stay for the Summit (which we highly encourage), you should plan to leave on Sunday, June 12 at 4:30 p.m. local time. 

Will there be pre-work?

Yes. Most tracks will have pre-work and/or pre-reading, which you’ll receive approximately two weeks before Academy.

Will there be food? 

Each day you’ll be on your own for breakfast and dinner. Lunch, snacks, and coffee will be provided while we’re working away. Please list any dietary restrictions on the pre-survey, and we’ll accommodate them.

You’ll be on your own for dinner, though we’ll provide suggestions on where to go. We hope you’ll use this time to get to know fellow participants.

Will there be free time?

Yes. Each day will have at least two breaks, plus lunch, and you’ll be on your own most evenings with optional workshops and social events.

Are there gender-neutral bathrooms? 

Yes.

I’ve been accepted to Arena Academy, can I change tracks?

Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate requests to change tracks once you’ve been accepted. The application process was extremely competitive, so we carefully assembled each track, considering each participant’s background and future goals. But trust us, whichever group you land in, you’ll have top-notch trainers and a cohort of like-minded peers.

Accommodations

Do you offer any learning accommodations?

We are committed to supporting all participants in their learning experience. If you need accommodation or support of any kind, please let us know on your application form.

What is the refund policy for Academy & Summit?

You can request a full refund up to 14 days before the Academy start date. However, no refunds are offered within 14 days of the Academy start date unless your reason for declining attendance is related to a positive COVID-19 test. If this scenario arises, email [email protected]

Post Academy

What kind of support exists for grads after completion of Arena Academy?

Be sure to join Arena Careers, our free platform to match job seekers with campaigns and progressive organizations. With more than 7,000 active users, including many of the 2,000 Arena-trained staffers, the majority of whom are women and people of color, we function like a LinkedIn for politics and break down traditional barriers to progressive hiring.

You gain access to unique one-on-one and group support from the Arena Careers team. After the training, you can join trainings and request job search coaching including resume review and interview preparation, or coaching to help you navigate your current role. Staffers trained at Arena Academy have worked in more than 700 roles on campaigns and in progressive organizations.

We need your support.

Republicans have spent decades cultivating talent and investing for the long run, and right now we’re paying the price. Republicans control 30 state legislatures, 28 governors mansions, and are just a few seats away from regaining control of Congress. Together with an activist Supreme Court, they’re enacting policies that turn back progress on everything from abortion to voting rights to climate change. 

Arena is building a new generation of political leaders who will lead the fight to save our democracy and build progressive power for the long run. It’s going to take all of us to make change. Join us in this work.

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Stay up to date with news and resources from the Arena community

By providing your cell phone number you consent to receive periodic updates from Arena, including automated text messages and phone calls. Txt HELP for help, STOP to end. Msg & Data rates may apply. See our Privacy Policy.