As you prepare for
#NACA18 in Boston, it is important to keep in mind that your delegation represents your entire campus. With this responsibility, it is necessary to plan ahead in order to cover as many Convention events as possible. Before leaving campus, your delegation should accomplish important preparations that will help ensure your success to reach the following goals:
- To become more informed and educated about the various aspects of programming;
- To gather information about artists, performers, speakers and product vendors; and
- To learn about various aspects of leadership and effective organizational functioning.
Involve students who've participated in a previous NACA® National Convention or Regional Conference and ask them to present helpful pointers at one of your delegation meetings.
One Month Before the Convention
- Have potential delegates complete and participate in an interview process. This helps convey to them the importance of the position and the responsibilities it entails.
- Select those who will be returning to campus for at least another year. A graduating senior will be gone in a few months. Instead, use the Convention as a training opportunity for future leaders.
Sample Delegate Contract
- Choose a Block Booker and determine the level of Block Booking in which you will be able to participate. Also decide the process you'll use to discuss potential acts with other programming board members once you return to campus.
- Book hotel rooms. Go to "Hotel Information" page.
Three Weeks Before the Convention
Hold a meeting of the entire programming board or organization board. Board members who will be staying behind can give important direction and feedback that will help delegation members participate more productively in the Convention.
- Discuss NACA, its history and purpose.
- Discuss who attends the Convention: student programmers, student activities professionals/staff, student union professionals/staff, performing artists, entertainment booking agents and professional support companies.
- Review and discuss goals, objectives and expectations of Convention participation.
- Review the Convention schedule and make assignments to delegates for specific areas of coverage.
Complete any required travel paperwork.Discuss departure time and make arrangements to let faculty know when you will be missing classes and coordinate making up missed assignments.
- Review the listing of educational sessions. Assign each member of your delegation to attend as many different sessions in each block as possible. Complete descriptions will appear in the National Convention Program, which you will receive at Convention registration. Map out with others in your delegation who will be a participating in specific educational sessions.
- Review showcasing acts.
- Review the list of exhibitors in the Campus Activities Marketplace.
- Discuss the basics of Block Booking and the acts/performers that interest you.
- Set times for daily on-site delegation meetings while at the Convention to ensure that everyone stays on track and completes the tasks assigned to them.
Sample Letter to FacultyAssign tasks for next meeting.
Two Weeks Before the Convention
Hold a meeting with the delegation to finalize details of your trip.
- Make room assignments.
- Review departure time and travel arrangements.
- Pick up travel advances.
- Discuss appropriate behavior and attire while at the Convention.
- Discuss what to bring: Comfortable clothes and shoes, money for meals, personal entertainment and miscellaneous expenses; programming calendar and available room/hall reservations; programming budget; notebook/legal pad; pens/ pencils.
- Bring items that reflect school spirit (T-shirts, sweatshirts, glasses, pennants, etc.) for the NACA® Foundation Silent Auction.
- Distribute copies of programming calendar and budget to delegates attending the Convention.
- Identify open dates and facilities on your programming calendar.
- Make a list of major programs and events that are of interest to your campus and be prepared to take advantage of Block Booking and Contract-On-Site pricing discounts. Discuss all this information with your Block Booker, who will be attending Block Booking meetings.
- Contact other schools in your area beforehand to see if you have any common programming interests. You may be able to do legwork that will result in a cost-saving block on a particular artist.
- Remind group of on-site delegation meetings.
- Review expectations regarding Convention follow-up and evaluation. Discuss how you plan to evaluate and take notes on showcases and educational sessions.
When You Arrive
- Find the registration area to get started.
- Take time to make sure you have all essential materials. The head of your delegation should register for the entire delegation and then share materials with you. Your delegation head should verify that you have your nametags, meal tickets, schedule, promotional flyers and the National Convention Program.
- Register to participate in Block Booking. Helpful volunteers will be on site at registration to explain the process to you.
- VOLUNTEER! Visit the Volunteer Center to schedule a time when you can lend a hand. Not only will you help ensure the success of the Convention, you will meet many new and fun people.
While in Boston
- Remember to eat well, drink water and get plenty of sleep.
- Be an active participant throughout your time at the Convention.
- Introduce yourself to other school delegates.
- Take good notes during educational sessions and get all handouts that are available.
- Go to all showcases.
- Visit each booth in the Campus Activities Marketplace and get to know the associate members who are there. Remember, however, to take only one sample of promotional materials for your delegation.
- Always have your programming calendar and budget information handy when you are in the marketplace .
- Touch base regularly with other delegates in your group and with your adviser.
- Attend all scheduled delegation meetings so you can share information and discuss the information you've gathered.
When You Return to Campus
- Immediately share educational information and promotional materials from the National Convention with board members who were not able to attend.
- Move quickly to make programming decisions on attractions for which your delegation completed Block Booking forms. Prices are valid for only 45 days after the Convention.
- Contact other schools in your area who may also want to take advantage of the Block Booking price breaks (if you didn't do this before the Convention). This will help increase your Block Booking cost savings even more.
How to Plan Your Delegation
- Use the National Convention as a training opportunity for future leaders rather than a reward for long-time leaders.
- Invite students who will be at your institution for at least one more full academic year.
- Disperse members of the delegation to cover as many sessions as possible. Don't have two or more members of your delegation attending the same session.
- Balance the interests of the institution, the student organization and the individual when considering sessions to attend.
- Confer with students and staff back home as needed via social media.
- Hold a group debriefing after attending a group of sessions or after the Convention as a whole so everyone receives the benefits of as many sessions as possible. A debriefing held after your delegation returns to campus could also include student and staff members at your institution who could not attend.