Toolkit for School Group Attendance of United Fates Fest: getting your absences excused

Many districts and campuses will already be back in-term before Labor Day weekend, next September, when UFF2020 is set to be held in Austin, Texas. That shouldn’t have to be a roadblock in your club or group attending the Fest, however.

Every activism and advocacy group, large or small, is doing work that deserves to be recognized and supported on the national stage. Whether you’re from Smalltownville High School Garden Club or part of a National board of directors, you are welcomed and wanted at United Fates Fest because this weekend is about all of us.

So what can we do to take down the roadblocks between you and UFF? United Fates will work with you and your group to create your Attendee Plan, a comprehensive and personalized plan to make your attendance and travel possible — affordable, accessible, and fun!

First things first: Find your Teacher Sponsor. If your club is already a recognized campus organization, then you already have a staff member who supervises you and your activities. Ask this person what the steps are for having a field trip with excused absences. You may find that the best way to approach your school about having your absences excused is by making your UFF trip a College Visit. Austin is a college town, with multiple schools you can arrange to see during the weekend. UT Austin, St. Edward’s, Houston-Tillitson, Concordia, The Art Institute, Texas Health and Science, Virginia College of Austin, and Strayer are just a few examples.

Second things second: Create a budget plan. With your teacher sponsor and all of the brainpower of your group, put together a spreadsheet or other document outlining your expected expenses relating to travel, Fest admission, housing and meals, and fun expenditures like visiting a museum or shopping locally while you’re here. An overestimate is better than an underestimate, so be liberal with your guessing. Consider means of transport outside of airfare, like buses or personal vehicles. Figure out what’s best for your group, which may not be the same for other groups.

Austin is accessible by Megabus, Amtrak, Greyhound, and more non-air services as well as by flight, so cover all your bases in your research.

Thirdly: Connect with Team UFF. Send an email to with your plan and questions so we can get started working with you to figure out the logistics and meet your needs as a group. We’ll send along your Welcome Packet and establish a line of communication for working through obstacles as they arise.

Fourth: Get working on funding and arrangements! You’re on your way from this moment forward. Together, we can create merch, set up fundraiser efforts, and share information about your group’s trip to encourage sponsors to help cover expenses for your group. There is no reason that your members should individually have to take on the full cost of traveling and attending. Let’s make this happen.

Lastly: Will your group be hosting any sessions? A session can be anything from a presentation on who you are and what you do to a large rally in a public space. Take a look at our registration form for inspiration, and fill it out if you decide to go for it!

Follow @unitedfatesfest on Twitter and Snapchat, @gendeltastrong on Instagram, and @uff2020 on Facebook. Use #UFF2020 any time you post.

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