Despite being a CACUSS member since 2013, actively engaging in the organization, I’ve never been to a CACUSS conference. But over the years, despite not being there in person, I’ve found several different ways to stay at home and still get value from the conference.
- Follow the back-channel and engage
Following the back-channel on Twitter (#CACUSS19) is an excellent way to keep up with what people at the conference are learning and talking about. I’m always forever grateful for the folks who attend conferences and live-tweet keynotes or educational sessions. Search the hashtag #CACUSS19 and scroll through the thoughts and conversations folks have been having. Consider the ideas being put out there, make note of resources being shared, ask questions, and contribute to the conversation!
- Follow up with people who are attending sessions you’re interested in
As you’re scrolling through the back-channel, it’s likely that you’ll find someone who is tweeting about a session or a topic that peeks your interest and that you want to learn more about. As a starting point, engage with their tweets! But to truly make the most of the opportunity, follow up with them after the conference to learn more. If they were tweeting about the session, it’s likely because the content resonated with them, so there’s a good chance they’d be excited for an opportunity to talk more about it!
- Read through the schedule, identify your sessions of interest, and follow up
People present at CACUSS because they have a topic they want to share with their fellow student affairs professionals. Their desire to share doesn’t end when the conference ends! Take some time to read through the CACUSS concurrent session descriptions and identify a few sessions that you would have loved to attend if you’d been at the conference. Reach out to those presenters to see if they have 30 minutes to chat about their work. I’m willing to bet no one will say no!
- Read through the schedule. Full stop.
Even if you have no intention of reaching out to presenters, take some time to read through the 140+ concurrent session descriptions. Submitted by professionals in a wide variety of functional areas, it’s a great way to get a quick overview of the important topics and emerging trends in our field as well as get your brain thinking outside the box and spark new ideas.
- Find the resources and do the work
This last one probably applies even if you did attend the conference in-person, but a conference is only a first step to learning and doing better work. Take what you learned in tip 1-4 and figure out what your next step is. What resources can you turn to for further learning? What tweaks should you be making to your current work? What idea might you want to pitch to your boss? Make it happen.
Even though I’ve never been able to attend the CACUSS Conference in-person, I’m still not willing to miss out, and you don’t have to either. Let me know what you learn!