Annual Meeting Advice: Attending Special Events

Today’s post is the first entry in the 2014 Annual Meeting Advice series. The blog series grew out of SNAP’s annual meeting advice Twitter chat (check out a Storify of the 2014 chat or our summary of the 2013 chat). From August 4 through August 8, the SNAP blog will feature extended responses in a five post blog series leading up to the 2014 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

We will have a new post for you every day this week. Check out the series so far at

Question 1: 

In addition to sessions, roundtables, and section meetings, what events do you like to attend at the Annual Meeting?

Conference Veteran Answers:

“The exhibit hall opening (free food!), tweetup (meet lots of people!), #beerrt (may not be happening this year?)”

“The baseball game; the Tweetup”

“The pre-conference, which is cheaper than the AM and often features projects that are more at the bleeding edge of the field, presented in a more informal way. The reception is usually fun, as is the tweet-up.”

“The alumni party for my school — I like catching up with my old cohort, plus it’s a chance to meet new students and older archivists who graduated before me.”

“A field trip or institution visit is a great way to get to talk to people in one-on-one situations, especially if you sit near strangers on the bus or Metro. I had fun at a regional assn. happy hour. And the Tweetup is awesome!”

“Any luncheons offered by particular groups, poster presentations, receptions, and mixers. Great chance to catch up with old colleagues and meet new ones. ”

“The main reception is always a lot of fun. It’s a great opportunity to network and it’s always awesome to have behind-the-scenes access to an amazing repository.”

“I love attending (and leading!) Lunch Buddy outings. They are a great way to make new friends and contacts. You can sign up for one here.  Every new archivist should take advantage of the resume review services at the Career Center. I did this every year when I was in grad school, and I always received constructive advice.”

“I really enjoy attending the alumni mixer for my school and Archives in the Movies event. I want to meet more people in the field, but I’m a bit shy, so those event give me built in conversation starters. ”

“I like to attend the pre-organized social events. There are ones that are formally part of the meeting–New Member reception (open to all!), exhibit hall happy hour, all-attendee reception–and various member-driven events, like the tweet-up and fun things organized through SNAP’s lunch buddy program. These events are your chance to get to know new people and find out what they are working on outside of the more structured day-to-day of the conference.”

“If this is your first time, go to the New Member/First Timer Orientation and Forum, and drop by the Networking Cafe/Career Center. People tend to hang out there (both new and senior archivists). Go to the poster sessions as they are a good way to meet people and find out about interesting projects. Go to your schools alumni event, if you are an alum. Go to the all attendee reception, plus take advantage of the free food at scheduled times in the exhibit hall!”

“Workshops when possible, the Business Archives Colloquium addresses interesting and practical topics, and the reception for socializing and to see someplace new.”

“SAA Business meeting (strongly recommend for all members), tweet up, lunch buddy events, just hanging out casually with archifriends.”

“I always make sure to hit my alumni mixer – a great way to make connections with old friends and new faces that are in my ‘network.’ There are always a few familiar faces and it’s nice to hear what they’re doing; and I usually leave having made one new connection. The best possible version of a school reunion, in my experience. For the first time this year, I’m trying out the Saturday business meeting and the Saturday night baseball game – they both get rave reviews from people I trust.”

“I also like to attend, on occasion, a pre-conference workshop that’s usually held on either Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday preceding the committee and roundtable meetings on Wednesday. I also like to attend the poster presentations, plenary sessions, ‘Archives in the Movies,’ and exhibit hall events.”

“All attendee reception, certainly. New members/first-time attendees breakfast, career center if you’re looking for a job, at least one tour, opening reception for exhibit hall (free food), exhibit hall itself, your school’s alumni mixer, graduate student posters.”

“Lunches with colleagues old and new. Hallway conversations. Mentoring morning meetup. Brownbags (things that didn’t quite make the meeting cut).”

“Committee meetings–you don’t have to be a member to attend, — just mention to the chair when you arrive (or email in advance) that you are interested in the group’s work and want to sit in for a while. It’s a great way to see how the Society does some incredible work and often wrestles with issues.”

“Double that for SAA Council meetings–members can attend anything but executive sessions (which happen infrequently) and as this is a member-elected body doing the work of the Association (which is ‘us’ not ‘them’) it is someplace that members should feel free to attend. The agenda is posted on the SAA website if you have specific areas of interest. Again, good to let the President or Executive Director know you plan to drop by if you will be coming in mid-meeting, but really, it is not a closed or limited attendance meeting in any way.”

“Always attend the reception–it’s an excellent opportunity to not only connect with other SAA members, but to see fascinating exhibits. The other event increasingly on my radar is the Vendor Expo. For the past few years, I missed the Expo and feel as though I missed an important part of the conference.”


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