AIDSWatch Scholarship – AIDS United
What is AIDSWatch?
AIDSWatch is the largest annual national constituent-based advocacy event focused on HIV policy in the United States. The event draws hundreds of people living with HIV and their allies to Washington, DC for two days to educate Members of Congress and their staff about HIV. Participants will receive training on current science, legislative priorities, and how to conduct effective meetings with their elected representatives.
What is covered in an AIDSWatch Scholarship?
Scholarships available for AIDSWatch: A total of 50 hotel & travel scholarships will be issued through this process. Travel accommodations will include two nights (Sunday March 25 and Monday March 26) at Marriot Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC along with airfare, train, or mileage reimbursement for transportation. Hotel rooms will be shared (two scholarship recipients in a double room) and participants will be responsible for all incidental costs at hotel, ground transport, and meals outside of AIDSWatch plenary meals (breakfast and lunch on March 26).
Scholarship Criteria and Considerations
- Involvement of People Living with HIV: A minimum of 50% of scholarships are designated for people living with HIV.
- Geographic Diversity: Attendees from across the United States are encouraged to apply. Applicants must live 90 miles or more from Washington, DC to be considered for a travel and hotel scholarship.
- Prior Scholarship awards:
- Applicants who have previously been awarded scholarships for AIDSWatch, but did not attend all sessions of AIDSWatch are ineligible for scholarships in 2018.
- Applicants who have NOT received AIDSWatch scholarships in the past two years will receive higher priority for AIDSWatch scholarship.
What do we look for when reviewing scholarship applications?
Successful scholarship applicants are likely to show us the following:
- Evidence that the applicant has a track record of being active in their community. It doesn’t have to be a long track record. Newbies are totally welcome! We just want to see that you are involved or getting involved in your local HIV community.
- Evidence that the applicant is committed to doing something in their home communities with the skills they gain at AIDSWatch. We are building a movement of leaders, and a lot of this advocacy needs to happen on the ground after you leave DC. These scholarship opportunities are few, so we are looking for folks who are likely to share this knowledge and these resources with others in their community when they go back home.
- A track record of following through on commitments. We are investing in your leadership and we will be scheduling times for you to meet with Members of Congress, along with your local delegation. We want to know that you show up when you say you will and that you do what you commit to doing.
Registration for Scholarship Applicants and Recipients
Applicants selected to receive a scholarship will be automatically registered for AIDSWatch. For attendees who do not apply for, or receive a scholarship, registration will open December 4, 2017. There is a small registration fee for AIDSWatch, which can be paid by check, money order, or debit/credit card. The registration fee schedule is as follows:
- Regular: December 4, 2017 – February 26, 2018 – $35.00
- Late: February 27, 2018 – March 19, 2018 – $60.00
If this fee presents a challenge, special arrangements can be made to waive the fee by contacting AIDSWatch@aidsunited.org.
October 31, 2017 8 PM ET/ 5PM PT: Applications Due
January 2018: Awardees Selected & Notified
March 26-27, 2018: AIDSWatch!
Attendance and Expectation:
Scholarship recipients are REQUIRED to fully participate in all AIDSWatch activities including:
- Training/Orientation: Monday, March 26 – Washington Marriot Wardman Park 8:30am to 1pm
- Positive Leadership Awards Reception: Monday, March 26 – Capitol Hill 5:30pm to 8pm
- Congressional Meetings: Meetings with Congressional offices will be scheduled to occur on March 27. Most attendees will conduct meetings in small teams and will have at least 3 to 5 half-hour meetings scheduled (two Senate, and 1 to 3 House of Representatives). Meetings will be scheduled and confirmed approximately one week before AIDSWatch.
- Meeting Follow-Up: Scholarship recipients will be asked to fully complete and submit Congressional meeting feedback forms for each meeting they attend, listing who they met with and their contact info, describing how the meeting went and which topics were covered as well as any commitments made by the staffer or follow up information to be sent to the office. Forms will be provided at AIDSWatch.
Scholarship recipients who successfully fulfill the requirements listed above will be eligible to apply for AIDSWatch 2019 scholarships. However, recipients who do not fulfill these requirements will not be considered for scholarships in 2019.
Travel arrangements will be made directly by the AIDSWatch organizing team. Travel will be booked to guarantee arrival in Washington, DC no later than 5pm on Sunday, March 25th, and departures will be booked for 6pm or later on Tuesday, March 27th to ensure that all participants can complete Hill visits. Any costs incurred due to non-weather related modifications to ticketed air/rail travel are the sole responsibility of the scholarship recipient. In the event of weather-related travel disruptions, scholarship recipients are required to communicate directly with the appropriate carrier on which they are ticketed.
Recipients will receive two nights covered at Washington Marriot Wardman Park (2660 Woodley Rd NW, Washington, DC 20008), directly paid by the AIDSWatch organizers to the hotel – Sunday, March 25 & Monday, March 26, 2018. Recipients should expect to share a room with another scholarship recipient. Hotel reservations will be made by AIDSWatch organizers.
Scholarships cover hotel rooms and travel only – any meals or incidental costs incurred by participants will be the responsibility of scholarship recipients. Recipients will be required to provide their own credit or debit card to check in at the hotel for coverage of incidental expenses (debit cards will have a hold placed on them for $100 per night in advance by the hotel, and any funds not spent will be released back to card holder; credit cards will be charged as expenses are incurred). Scholarship recipients are responsible for their own local ground transportation to and from the hotel and meetings. Scholarships are non-transferrable.
What documents do I need to apply?
Please have the a Reference Letter and Short Essays saved as Word or PDF files, ready to upload when you complete the application:
- Reference Letter (Letter of Support)
Due to considerable resources invested in scholarships, and to ensure all scholarships get utilized to full potential, organizers require scholarship applicants to provide a letter of reference that can speak to the applicant’s engagement in the field, reliability and accountability.
References may be provided by allied staff at local agencies, case managers, or other colleagues. The letter of support should clearly identify the reference’s name, full contact information, organizational affiliation, how the individual knows the scholarship applicant, in what capacity, and for how long. The reference letter should detail their knowledge of the applicant’s advocacy, community organizing or other participation at local levels. The letter should be no more than one page.
- Short Essays
Attach brief responses to the questions below. Limit your response to one-page total, single-sided, 12 pt font, double spaced. Successful scholarship applicants will answer all the questions below clearly and concisely. We want to specifically hear: 1) why you want to come to AIDSWatch, 2) what you expect to get out of it, and 3) what you will do with the experience when you go home, including how you plan on sharing your policy training and AIDSWatch experience with other advocates. Successful scholarship applicants will answer all the questions below clearly and concisely.
- Provide a brief (1 paragraph) statement summarizing your experience and interests related to HIV (if you have HIV, then how did this affect your life? How long have you lived with it? What has changed? Have you found another community of people living with HIV? If you do not have HIV, how have you been an effective ally? Be specific).
- Describe your experience in HIV advocacy in 1 paragraph. What issues are you passionate about? What is the largest concern in your state? What issues do you want to know more about? Do you have any plans to participate in HIV advocacy other than AIDSWatch?
- Explain how you plan to mobilize others to become advocates or allies when you go home in 1 paragraph. If you received a scholarship to AIDSWatch previously, tell us the year(s) and what you have done to build on those experiences. If you have participated in other HIV lobby days, please include that information as well.