Conference 3.0: The Discussion

Right now, you can join the discussion at #SAtech is hosting a conversation about #conf30 TODAY!

On July 3rd, 2012 Kristen Abell (@KristenDom) and I (@JoeGinese) hosted a #CONF30 discussion. What resulted was 548 tweets generating 657,175 impressions and reaching an audience of 48,310 followers (Thank you!)

Kristen actually Storify’d the entire conversation.

Keep scrolling, it’s a long story!

Catching up with Conference 3.0

Alright folks, we’ve been throwing stuff out there to start making changes in the way we see conferences, and we think it’s time to open this up to the greater community for discussion. But first, we wanted to provide a re-cap of what’s been posted so far – by us, by other student affairs folks, and those outside of student affairs. Take a look-see, and join us for a chat today by following the #conf30 hashtag – we’ll be here all day today answer questions, fueling conversation, and just generally talking Conference 3.0.

You can also join us again in a couple of weeks at the #satech chat – July 18th at 2 p.m. CST.

The Conference 3.0 series:
4/3/2012 All About Development – (the one that started it all)
4/11/2012 Programming at a Conference –
5/18/2012 Here is the call to action, call back!
5/30/2012 Planning Teams –
6/7/2012 Attendee Bill of Rights –
6/25/2012 Joining a Conference Committee -

A library of links relevant to the Conf30 discussion.

Student Affairs folks respond:
@EricaKthompson’s Storify –
@EricaKThompson’s Blog Response –
@BryceHughes’ Blog Response –
@KateMcGK’s Blog Response –
@JenniferKeegin’s Blog Response –
@AmmaMarfo’s Blog Response –

Conference 3.0 outside Student Affairs:
Plan your meetings – Top 5 meeting trends
Jersey Alliance – Innovative Event Planning Boot Camp
EDUCause – Call for Proposals
Jeff Hurt Blog – Campfire Experience

This is cross-posted on my co-conspirator’s blog as well: .
You can follow her at @Kristendom.

Conference 3.0: Joining the Conference Committee

Sometimes, the timing of things just happens to work out. We’ve been discussing this topic for the past week or so and then something happened. This morning we witnessed an exchange in our twitter streams that perfectly sets the stage for the blog post we had just finished editing a day before.

Here is the exchange:

And now for the post:

Student Affairs Pro 1: “I want to join the conference planning committee! It looks like so much fun!”

Student Affairs Pro 2: “Great! Why?”

Student Affairs Pro 1: “Well, look at that team, so much fun. Great vests, too! And a nice line on the resume!”

Student Affairs Pro 2: This look.

You’ve more than likely overheard or have been a part of such an occurrence at a conference. Great enthusiasm, great energy, no direction. This is akin to volunteering to be on the stage with a magician before he/she has told you what you volunteered for. Student Affairs Pro 1 is doing it for the glory, not for the greater good.

So before you, Student Affairs Pro 2, encourage this individual to fill out the application, write the essays, and start using word of mouth to share their interest with others, perhaps you should pass along this list to them.

If you are considering applying for a Conference Planning Team – or know someone who is, read the following and pass it on.

The ideal conference committee member…

– Should not be doing this for popularity, SWAG, or because of the cute conference chair.

– Should not be doing this because they were voluntold without reason

– Should do it if they are asked specifically for a certain skill set that the conference team is lacking (you bring value to team)

– Should do it if they have good ideas and want to provide a quality professional development experience for their colleagues

– Should not do this to pad the resume or for the “glory.”

– Should do this with the intent of improving the conference experience

– Should be willing to ask for help if it will make the conference a better experience for attendees.

– Should not be planning to recruit all of their friends to their committee, team, volunteer,

– Should look to recruit people with a high level of commitment to the ideas expressed above.

– Should have a high level of organization – or know someone that does and recruit them to assist.

Commitment – Time, Energy, Focus
– Should be able to commit the time and energy through the full conference planning process. This likely means a lot of time in advance, but also time after the conference for assessment and wrap up.

– Should not be applying if they know they will be job searching out of the region. *Re-read previous line*

– Should not plan to just re-use materials from last year without making improvements or changes.

-Should be willing to do grunt work in addition to ideas-work – when it comes to conference time, everyone has to pitch in!

– Should be willing to talk to others and be open to new ideas – and willing to see them through.

– Should already have ideas of how to enhance and/or improve the conference experience they just had.

– Should consider talking to people who have raved about recent conferences to see what was so great and how to incorporate it.

– Should be prepared to attend a conference that is outside of higher ed in the year leading up to their conference to cultivate new ideas

– Should explore how to involve student affairs professionals from diverse functional areas and across all stages of their career – grad students, entry level professionals, mid-level managers, SSAOs, etc.

What are your experiences with conferences and professional organizations? What is on your list of dos and don’ts? Feel free to continue this conversation in the comments below, or by following the Conference 3.0 hashtag #Conf30.

Thanks to @StacyLOliver, @CLConzen@CarolynGolz@JeffLail for kick starting the conversation this morning.
Thanks to @WSWCSM for the hilarious GIF image and website.

This is cross-posted on my co-conspirator’s blog as well:,  you can follow her at @Kristendom.