Astroleague Convention Planning Checklist Section 7 – During the Convention

Day of Convention (EARLY):

  • Your Committee Members and Helpers Should Know What They Are Supposed to do Before They Arrive. There should be an agenda finalized, preferably a week or so before the convention. Give the host members a different kind of name tag than the rest (different color, big star, etc.) so attendees will know who they can ask for help or to answer questions.

    Set Up Registration Table With Your Most Organized People.
    Have some practice run-throughs. Put out the information and maps you have for local restaurants, gas stations, points of interest, etc. Registration should be open from approximately 8:00 a.m. through 12:00 midnight throughout the convention. At least one committee member should be on-site at all times who is able to handle all contingencies. If that person is not at the registration desk, there should be a sign directing people to where they can be found (or a telephone number where they can be reached).

    Have Someone Staffing the On-Site Information Number You Have Given
    . This is especially important during a National, when there will be people arriving at all times from all over the country. Have a few people on call to pick up attendees from the airport or train and bus stations.

    Final Check of room set-up, microphones.
    Tape all cords to the floor. Be sure the room is ready to be darkened for slides as needed. Adjust temperature control if necessary.

    Set Up Message Board at a central location.
    This is a convenient way for people to leave notes, announcements, or messages for others to contact them. This could be set up either at the dorm or at the lecture hall. Post the convention schedule here, too. A list of the registrants will let attendees know who will be arriving, and a room number listing for each registrant can help friends find each other.

    Post Sign(s) with Titles and Times
    of the event(s) taking place inside each particular room outside that room, so attendees can know what is going on inside without opening the door and disrupting the presentations.

    Set Up Refreshment Table. Although items like donuts or cookies will be put out only at certain times, be sure the coffee, water, tea, hot chocolate, etc. is fully stocked throughout the convention. Also, try to have some soda pop or juice nearby.

    Greet Speakers on arrival and check out their special needs for talks. Be sure that checks for previously agreed honoraria for the main speakers are prepared and presented after they speak. As of 1992, regarding National conventions, all speakers must be informed that their talks will be videotaped by the League, to be made available as program material to the League’s member societies. For further information, contact the League’s Program Chairman.

    Set Up Display/Exhibit Area. Make sure everyone signing up for an exhibit space will have the tables, electricity, lighting, etc., that they have requested. Be sure there is someone acting as security in this area. According to a special League investigation, all vendors, even flea market and swap shop vendors, must be in a separate area from the convention – such as in another room. Some states require a permit (usually free) even for flea market and swap shop vendors, so check the regulations of your particular area. There is no reason why even commercial vendors cannot sell, as long as all applicable fees, licenses and taxes are paid according to the laws of your state. The League or hosting organization are not allowed to take a percentage of sales. For more information, consult Standing Resolution #10 of the League’s ByLaws and Standing Resolutions.

    Set Up Astrophotography/Art/Telescope Areas
    , with ballot boxes clearly marked for each contest. Only one ballot per contest should be given to each attendee. Telescope contests are becoming increasingly unpopular at conventions, however, because they tend to favor only the locals who are more able to bring their equipment with them.

Throughout Convention:

  • Have the Master of Ceremonies be a Different Person than Your Chair. The Chair will have enough to do, making sure everything else is running smoothly.

    Proceedings. At a National, be sure that you have arranged ahead of time for someone to collect information throughout the convention for the proceedings. The League ByLaws call for a League representative to work with the Proceedings editor.

    Make Announcements(s) Throughout the Day(s)
    as information changes and new things occur.

    Check With the Food Service
    an hour before every meal to make sure everything is running on schedule with no problems.

    Group Photo
    – have before a break or meal as incentive for people to get together in a hurry. Have prints developed at a one-day service facility so you do not have to mail them. If you do have to mail them, figure extra money into the cost for postage.

    Door Prizes
    should be given out throughout the convention. Giving them out before paper sessions attracts audiences in; giving them out immediately after sessions keeps them in. However, if you are having a Regional meeting at a National convention, do not give out door prizes at that time, or there will be complaints from those outside your Region. The grand prize is given out at the banquet, along with any awards that are to be presented. Make awards crisp and fast and allow minimum time for speeches from recipients. Thank your convention committee quickly. Your featured speaker should come on last, and not later than 8:30 p.m. This should be the climax of the convention, so let the attendees leave the meeting on a high note, not ready to fall asleep.

    Before the Banquet
    , make sure all equipment has been checked for the banquet speaker.

  • Regarding the Banquet Talk, please be aware that there are occasionally attendees who choose not to purchase a banquet ticket. However, the registration fee that they paid does include the banquet speech, so they should be allowed back into the room after the meal to hear the talk.
    If possible, Build in an Extra 30 Minutes at the End of the Day (or, each day) to allow for late running talks (yes, despite strict limits, warnings and threats, there are always a few), unforeseen delays, etc.


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