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First Timer At Conference? We Have You Covered!

First Timer at Conference? We have you covered!

Scott Hillman
Central Michigan University

Every year as winter starts to fade (sometimes more slowly than others), we can all count on spring to bring several things. Whether that’s a quickly approaching May 1 deadline, the return of college fairs and visits, District Seminars, spring breaks, or of course the annual IACAC Conference. For those of you who don’t know it has been 17 years since the conference was hosted outside the Chicagoland area. As we prepare for a wonderful couple days together in Normal, IL this May, perhaps there are many of you that are considering attending the conference for the first time. Whether it be that the location is closer to you this year, you are new to the field and/or profession, or just that you finally have the ability to attend, I hope that the idea of being a “first timer” isn’t what prevents you from registering for this fantastic professional development opportunity.

The IACAC Conference is always excited to have first time attendees and there are many elements geared towards making your first time at the conference a wonderful and enjoyable experience. For this post I would like to share with you 5 pieces of information to give you a glimpse into what the conference can provide you. So whether you are on the fence about attending or need extra details to convince your supervisor to let you register, here are some tips for you!

“Tips for IACAC First Timers!” Session
During the first block of breakout sessions on day 1 of the conference, there is a presentation just for first timers. You will learn about the in’s and out’s of the conference and how to maximize your time spent there. The session will also discuss the many ways to further your involvement in IACAC, from joining a committee, to becoming a mentor or mentee, or attending other IACAC events throughout the year.

Conference First Timers

First Timer’s Luncheon
Without a doubt the First Timer’s luncheon is the most fun way to get into your conference groove! You will quickly find that you are not alone and will be able to meet and have lunch with the hundreds of other first timers. You will also get to meet some seasoned conference attendees that have been in your place before. Overall this is a great way to start networking with others and start your journey throughout the world of IACAC.

IACAC Annual Conference

Conference Sessions & Tracks
There are dozens of breakout sessions to attend throughout the conference. But don’t let that overwhelm you! You will find that there are sessions that belong to certain “tracks” meaning that those sessions all follow a certain theme, cover related topics, or are geared towards specific interests. You will find a First Time Conference Attendees Track with sessions that will provide key information for first time attendees and/or new professionals. Other tracks include Guiding the Way to Inclusion, Transfer Students, and Middle/Upper Management. So perhaps attending sessions from a certain track is the way to go for you. Or maybe you want to mix and match sessions from other tracks and from a wide array of session topics. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

IACAC Mentorship Program

Receptions & Entertainment
After you’ve spent all day learning and loading your brain with tons of useful information, it can be very tempting to return to your room for some rest and relaxation. But don’t do that! During the conference there are several receptions and they are a great way to meet others. If networking is your goal, then the receptions are a great way to meet people or even connect with the new friends you’ve made at conference so far. Some of the receptions are also hosted by IACAC committees and by attending the reception you can also get more information on that committee. The conference’s Entertainment Committee is well on their way to planning some exciting evening activities to keep the good times going too! So rally your friends new and old and end your days with some good, old-fashioned fun!

Keynote Speakers & Membership Meeting
Don’t miss out on the keynote speakers that will be addressing the conference throughout our time together. These speakers will motivate you and get you thinking. You also don’t want to miss the membership meeting on Thursday. From voting in elections to discussing important issues that affect all IACAC members, it’s so important to attend the membership meeting to learn about critical issues, vote on elected representatives, and learn where your dues money is going.

We can’t wait to see everyone at this year’s historical conference!

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