Key contributors can apply for travel, hotel and conference grants to attend the Project Team Gathering and the Boston Summit. Deadlines are January 13 (PTG) and March 6 (Summit.)

OpenStack runs on the power of key contributors.

If you have helped out and want to attend the upcoming Project Team Gathering (PTG) or the  OpenStack Summit in Boston but need funds for travel, lodging or a conference pass, the Travel Support Program is here for you.

For every Summit, the OpenStack Foundation funds around 30 dedicated contributors to attend the five-day conference.

You don’t have to be a code jockey, either. In addition to developers and reviewers, the Support program welcomes documentation writers, organizers of user groups around the world, translators, Operators and Ask moderators. (The Support program doesn’t include university students, however, who are encouraged to apply for a discounted registration pass.)

To boost the odds of getting your application accepted, Superuser talked to Allison Price, marketing coordinator at the OpenStack Foundation who also participates in voting on the applications.

Although applying is a quick process, remember to frame your request clearly. Spend some time answering the question about why you want to attend the Summit. If you make it all about how you’d like to network or visit the town where the summit is taking place, your request is likely to get voted down.

“The biggest common mistake people make is not conveying their value to the community,” says Price. “Focus on what you can contribute to the discussions or pinpoint sessions that would be useful to your business and you have a much better chance.”

She shared some concrete examples of successful applications:

  • “I have contributed to the OpenStack Dashboard (Horizon) and I’d like to attend
    Horizon’s design sessions with the goal of making stronger contributions in
    the next cycle…”
  • “I’ve been involved with the OpenStack project since Bexar days and have played a critical role in developing the OpenStack community in my home country. I’m also the founder and the leader of the OpenStack user group here and an OpenStack Ambassador. I plan to keep
    driving community adoption and involvement in my region.”

And some of those that were too vague to get approved:

  • “I am very interested in cloud computing.”
  • “I want to connect with people in open source community and the OpenStack
    summit provides a great opportunity to do that.”
  • “I would like to attend mostly for the networking and to meet other OpenStack developers…This event will be a great opportunity for me to make new friends.”

What are some other reasons applications get rejected? Keep it friendly, Price says, noting that applications criticizing competitors or trash-talking other applicants definitely strike the wrong note.

Applications are voted on by the Travel Committee, which is made up of three people each from the User Committee, Board of Directors, OpenStack Ambassadors, Project Team Leads/Technical Committee members and Foundation staff. The composition of the committee is refreshed for each Summit.

Asking your company to pay for part of the expenses or finding a buddy to room with won’t influence your chances of getting in, Price says. However, she does recommend at least asking if your company will cover some of the costs — because often your employer is happy to chip in and it allows the Foundation to help to more people.

Price has a final recommendation for applicants: if you need a visa to travel, make sure to request it in time. For each Summit, there have been a number of grantees who haven’t made it because of paperwork.

“It’s too bad when people get accepted but can’t make it to the Summit because their documents don’t arrive in time,” she says. “That’s a spot we could’ve filled with another great contributor.”

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Cover Photo by Mario Mancuso // CC BY NC; Recipients of the Barcelona Summit grants.