FOSDEM 2024 - Should we offer a travel scholarship?

Hey folks,

So we were accepted to host another devroom at FOSDEM 2024 and we’ve been collecting submissions.

There’s been some discussion if we should offer 1 (or more) travel scholarships for folks that would find it hard or impossible to attend FOSDEM.

We previously agreed that we would use our budget to try to organise a fellowship/internship program for designers - this is still ongoing investigation by community members but requires a little more investment than simply money. So we haven’t abandoned that idea.

What are folks thoughts on helping get designers to FOSDEM 24?

Relevant info re. budget: Open Source Design - Open Collective

Would that be more contributing some money to lower the amount someone needs to pay, probably for several people (which would be more “somewhat alleviating the burden”) or more like paying the full package of trip and accomodation (more as “enabling someone who could not join otherwise”)?

+1 to providing travel scholarship(s)

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SO is this suggestion that we offer for example… $500 USD per successful speaker application as a contribution towards their travel rather than the whole travel/accommodation?

I see the equity/equality aspect there but I worry that some folks have higher travel costs including visas etc due to (not to get political here but…) being from countries with more travel restrictions.

I’m up for any way we can help people to attend but I also think we risk people not attending if we only cover some of their costs and not all of it - like would they not just accept the stipend and risk not attending if they cannot afford the rest of the amount?

hmmmm

  • Agree that paying a part of the costs would still prohibit traveling for a lot of people.
  • Getting political: Makes sense – some people might need more support than others. This applies to both paying fully as well as partial.
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My believe is that whatever framework is put in place, it doesn’t need to be perfect to greatly improve the current status quo.

I suggest:

  • two “coupons”, one smaller for EU+UK (no visa costs, typically cheaper flights, etc) of, say, $300 USD and then $600 USD for the rest. Some exception might apply but that would be a general rule.
  • you have the option to not use the coupon (perhaps you can afford the whole cost, you’re already being sponsored, etc) and that money can be used by the org team to go beyond the $300/$600 mark for a particular case.

Most importantly, all this would be public so people can manage their expectations very early on during their CfP application.

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