MEA2 Q & A: Why 20?

1Q: I thought MEA2 was free. If so, why is there a $20 registration fee?

The event is 100% free to active duty personnel. The featured midday and nightly events are free and open to the public, not just those who’ve registered. And there are no additional charges for the 70+ workshops led by experts throughout the country, one-on-one writing consultations offered during and after the event, the art supplies available at our creation station, meals, or anything else. 

If you can’t afford the $20 or refuse pay based on principle, just show up. We certainly won’t turn a veteran away.

Q: Okay, that all sounds reasonable, and quite the deal for twenty bucks, But how do I know MEA can be trusted with my credit card info? 

MEA does not retain or ever have access to your credit card info. That information is processed by Submittable, a well-known submissions platform that then transfers the fee to our PayPal account. The only records we maintain are those entered into the fields on the form.

As with all of our finances, the registration fee is 100% transparent and will all be put back into the event. In fact, we list each registration, the amount paid, and the registrant’s initials on our “Transparent Finances” page here.

Q: Essentially, you’re saying that I can take part in the symposium without registering or paying the fee. So, why would I pay? 

Everyone, even the staff members, symposium coordinators, and the MEA2 Director has paid the $20 fee to help balance out the costs of meals and featured events not fully funded by third party donors.

We found at our last symposium that nearly 40% of those who registered without paying a fee did not show, which led to a lot of over-planning—to a lot of wasted resources. We did some research, consulted with other non-profits, and found that these sorts of events have a much more accurate rendering of who / how many people will show up by charging a small fee up front.

 Q: I’m still on the fence about this twenty dollars thing. What should I do?

Contact the symposium director, Jason Poudrier, at