Make the most of your convention experience

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Heading to the AACC Annual Convention in New Orleans? Make the most of it with these tips.

It can be overwhelming to attend the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) annual convention. Here are five ways to make your convention experience more meaningful.

Download the AACC convention app. The mobile app for the AACC convention is ready to download on your iPhone, iPad, or Android, directly from this link. Apple and Android users can also search for the app in the iTunes store or Play store. Once installed, you’ll have instant access to the full convention schedule, social sharing on Twitter and LinkedIn, detailed information about speakers, exhibitors and sponsors, as well as maps of the convention hotel. You will be able to plan your own schedule by saving sessions to your schedule. You’ll also receive notifications if there are last-minute changes to the schedule.

Think outside the box. This year, the convention will feature two new types of sessions: ED Talks and working sessions. The ED Talk, like the famous TED Talk, features short (18 minutes or less) presentations that highlight either a big idea supporting student success, a tech demo or a small idea that offers an engaging take on an interesting topic. Working sessions bring together creative problem solvers to address a specific problem. These sessions focus on issues, such as organizational strategy, that would benefit from a collective, dynamic solution approach. You can also stop by the AACC booth in the exhibit hall to chat with staff. There will be designated times to meet with AACC’s government relations team, communications staff, workforce development team and others. Check the app for the schedule.

Get social. Are you on Twitter? Make sure to follow AACC at @Comm_College to get news as it happens and see photos. Did you attend a great session or hear from a dynamic speaker? Tweet about it using #aacc2017. You can also search by that hashtag to see what your colleagues are saying about their convention experience.

Go old-school social, too. It’s great to reconnect with friends and former colleagues. But the convention is also the perfect opportunity to expand your network. Use the sessions as an excuse to strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never met. At the plenary sessions, sit next to people from other colleges. Just by being at the convention, you’ve proven you have something in common. So, don’t forget your business cards!

Share the learning. It’s easy to get excited about new ideas while you’re away from campus, but once you’re back into the day-to-day routine of work, sometimes those new ideas fall to the wayside. While you’re at the convention, write down two or three takeaways that you want to share with staff and faculty at your college. Make sure to share these things within the first week or two of your return, while they’re still fresh in your mind. If these are ideas that could make a difference on your campus, it’s worth taking the time to explore them.

One last tip: Wear comfortable shoes. That one speaks for itself.

This article first appeared in the April/May issue of Community College Journal. Read the digital edition of the Journal here.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.