AFT Convention 2018 participants flocked to the Activist Center Thursday, posing at the photo booth (with a frame declaring “I’m sticking with my union”); spinning a wheel for free quotes about the value of data in membership engagement (“Data that is loved tends to survive”); tossing plastic balls for a chance to win a First Book giveaway; and collecting information (and swag) about everything from multilingual teaching resources to member engagement, student debt clinics and member benefits. The information booths cover the entire riverside of one floor of the convention center.
Among the many tables, the member benefits station was especially popular. Visitors learned about new offerings such as identity theft protection and travel discounts, and got information about basics like dental coverage and financial assistance as well. A display of computer screens offered “e-solutions” for communicating and engaging members, from data and analytics to communication and e-learning. Another booth had information about a program that pairs historical films like To Kill a Mockingbird and Harlan County USA with lesson plans; Colorín Colorado, AFT’s bilingual website for educators and families of English language learners, played a continuous demonstration video; and staffers from the higher education division gave out information about student debt clinics, including those being held on Sunday (at 12:30 and 5:30 p.m.) during the convention.
The AFT Activist Center was designed to give convention participants just a sampling of the many services the union offers, but each booth offers opportunities union locals can pursue to enrich the resources they can offer to their members.
[Virginia Myers, photos by Pam Wolfe]