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Call for Proposals

You are invited to submit a presentation proposal for the 14th U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Community Involvement Training Conference, which will be held August 4 - 6, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. This biennial conference is for EPA staff and other Agency stakeholders who plan and implement community involvement programs.

Theme and Focus Areas

The theme of this year's conference is "Making a Visible Difference in Communities," which is one of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's core goals. The overall goal of the conference is to provide an exceptional conference that both informs and trains EPA staff, as well as the Agency's stakeholders, in best practices to enhance community involvement. In keeping with both our conference theme and goal, we are asking you to propose a presentation focusing on topics, ideas, challenges, and opportunities within one of four tracks:

Track 1 — Where to Begin: Creating and Maintaining Effective Community Involvement
Examples of topics in this track include:

  • Core community involvement tools, best practices, and principles
  • Case studies about creating and maintaining effective community involvement
  • How to evaluate community involvement work

Track 2 — The Art of Leveraging Existing Capacity and Resources in Community Involvement
Examples of topics in this track include:

  • Collaborating among federal agencies, states, tribes, local governments, and other stakeholders
  • Cross-agency cooperation (HUD, DOT, CDC, HHS, etc.)
  • Utilizing existing institutional knowledge within an organization to improve community involvement work and maximize resources
  • Building and harnessing existing capabilities within a community to strengthen community involvement, such as with citizen science, a method where volunteers contribute to scientific investigations
  • Engaging indigenous peoples/communities in environmental and public health protection (implementation of new EPA policy for tribes and indigenous peoples)

Track 3 — Healthy Environment & Healthy Economy = A Sustainable Community
Examples of topics in this track include:

  • Environmental justice and economic development
  • The relationship between a healthy environment and a healthy economy
  • Community involvement and climate change
  • Job training programs
  • Grants and aid for communities
  • Green infrastructure and community involvement

Track 4 — Communication & Community Engagement: Traditional Methods to Contemporary Technologies
Examples of topics in this track include:

  • "Tried and true" methods of communication
  • Social media and collaborative technologies with applications for community involvement
  • Any other methods for communicating and collaborating without the ability to travel

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Proposal Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated on content, relevance to the conference goal and theme, audience engagement, inclusion of diverse perspectives, presenter effectiveness, and learning objectives. A thorough proposal will address all of the following criteria:

  • Content: The proposal should clearly and concisely explain the topic(s) that will be covered during the training or the presentation.
  • Relevance: The proposal should be relevant to the conference tracks and/or the conference goal.
  • Audience Engagement: The proposal should incorporate how the presenter or trainer intends to engage the audience either through a basic question and answer session or through other methods such as facilitated dialogue, interactive exercise, and role playing.
  • Diverse Perspectives: The proposal should demonstrate how different ways of thinking and viewing issues will be considered during the presentation or training session.
  • Presenter Effectiveness/Experience: The proposal should both highlight past presentations or training experiences and the public speaking strengths of the presenter(s). Presenters who have minimal past experience should try to convey their effectiveness as a public speaker.
  • Presentation Learning Objectives: The proposal should clearly explain the learning objectives by following the directions provided in the application.

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How to Submit a Proposal

  1. Download the Instructions for Submitting a Proposal (PDF) (4 pages, 89.2 K)
  2. Download the Call for Proposals Application (PDF) (14 pages, 222 K), type your responses to the application questions, and save the document.
  3. Submit your proposal via email, fax, or mail. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. If your proposal is submitted via email, it must be received by COB Wednesday, March 4, 2015. If mailed, your proposal must be postmarked by Wednesday, March 4, 2015, and sent to:

    Catherine Sims
    Environmental Management Support, Inc.
    8601 Georgia Avenue, Suite 500
    Silver Spring, MD 20910
    Fax: 301-589-8487

The lead presenter for each application will be notified via email within two weeks of receiving the application to verify receipt. If you do not receive an email notification, it is an indication that your proposal was not received. If that happens, please contact Catherine Sims at catherine.sims@emsus.com or 301-589-5318, ext. 23.

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What You Need to Know About Presenting at the Conference

Session Length: There will be 90-minute concurrent information sessions. The rest of the sessions will consist of 3-, 4-, and 7-hour trainings. Field trips may be approximately 3 to 4 hours.

Registration: All presenters and co-presenters must register for the conference.

Conference Fee: We do not anticipate a conference fee this year.

Travel Reimbursement for Speakers: For each proposal accepted, EPA has limited funding available to reimburse the travel-related expenses for one non-federal speaker. This speaker must arrange and pay for all their travel-related expenses up front and will be reimbursed for all reasonable expenses after the conference. If you are requesting travel reimbursement for yourself or other co-presenters, complete and submit Part III of the application.

Audio-Visual Equipment: Each session room will be equipped with the following standard equipment: one laptop computer with video capabilities, PowerPoint, and other appropriate software; one LCD projector; one wireless mouse and laser pointer; one handheld microphone; and one 3M self-stick flipchart with markers. No other AV equipment will be provided.

Room Setup for 90-minute Sessions: The standard room setup for all 90-minute sessions will be classroom.

Room Setup for Training Sessions: All 3-, 4-, and 7-hour training sessions will have a choice between classroom and round table setups.

Presentation Materials/Handouts: In order to make the conference environmentally friendly, we will not produce any paper copies or handouts for the sessions. We encourage presenters to provide electronic copies of their presentation materials in advance so that these materials can be posted on the conference website and downloaded by those signing up for the session. Presenters are welcome to produce their own copies and carry or ship them to the conference venue.

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Proposal Submission Process/Schedule

  • Early 2015 — March 4, 2015
  • Complete and submit a written proposal (by mail, fax, or email)
  • March 4, 2015
  • Deadline for the submission of proposals.
  • March 4 — March 11, 2015
  • Email acknowledgment sent to confirm receipt of your proposal. If you do not receive an email, it is an indication that your proposal was not received. Please contact Catherine Sims at catherine.sims@emsus.com or 301-589-5318, ext. 23 immediately.
  • April 6 — 17, 2015
  • Notification by telephone of presentation selection.
  • May 14, 2015
  • Notification from EMS regarding travel reimbursement request.
  • June 24, 2015
  • Final audio-visual equipment needs and room set up confirmed.
  • July 15, 2015
  • Electronic copies of presentation materials due to EMS.
  • August 4 — 6, 2015
  • 2015 U.S. EPA Community Involvement Training Conference in Atlanta, GA.

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If you have any questions about the Call for Proposals for the 2015 EPA Community Involvement Training Conference, please contact the conference coordinator, Catherine Sims:

Catherine Sims
Environmental Management Support, Inc.
Community Involvement Training Conference Coordinator
Phone: 301-589-5318, ext. 23
Email: catherine.sims@emsus.com

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Other Ways to Participate

  • Prepare a poster for the conference poster session, during which you can discuss your poster topic with participants
  • Display an exhibit in the conference exhibit area

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