Conference 2009

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Planning Tips & Tricks

The following statements have been provided by your peers in order to help you better plan and prepare for the EAST Conference. Remember the EAST Forum is also a useful tool to get ideas on how to prepare.

If you have something to add, please email your tips to  Thanks!

Preparing for Conference

  • Create a list and a label of what is in every box and who is responsible for each box or piece of equipment.
  • Label everything you bring with your school's and/or student's name.
  • Assign your students specific responsibilities.
    • Two students take on the responsibility of making sure everything makes it to the event and back.
    • One student is in charge of construction and appearance of the booth.
    • One student is the conference coordinator
    • One team member checks the website everyday and notifies the facilitator and conference team of any updates.
    • Team members take pictures and/or video to help document your experience.
  • Involve your students in preparation. Let them set the attitude and expectations.
  • Keep a binder with deadlines, competitions and sessions.
  • Everyone programs one another's cell phone number in their phones before we leave.
  • Create a checklist with deadlines and items that need to be completed
  • Hold team meetings
  • Schedule a "mock" banquet one week before the conference. We emphasize manners, behavior, etc.
  • Organize a printable calendar with details. Give each student a "student packet" when they get to the conference. In each packet give the students their schedule for booth times, breakout sessions, banquet times, etc. This way there are no excuses as to why they didn't attend their breakout sessions or time in the booth. Facilitator has a master copy. This is all in one multi-paged color-coded packet. Items to include in student packets:
    • Schedule of events
    • Student schedules
    • Cell Phone Numbers
    • Breakout Session Schedules (You should print these before coming to the conference)
    • Schedule for working the booth (requirement: two students in booth at all times)
    • Schedule to be on floor to observe exhibits (someone from the team visits every booth @ conference)
    • Rules
  • Discuss safety rules with your students. Never let your students go off by themselves.
  • Set up the booth at school ahead of time
  • Presenting students should practice their presentations daily in front of their peers, teachers in your school including speech teachers, your administration, and your community members.
  • One bag per student
  • Use the survival guide on the EAST conference website.
  • Audition for presenting spots. The presenting students are responsible for writing their "part." Have students and facilitators listen, tweak it and then compile the entire presentation. Set up a rehearsal schedule to practice and make sure we are within the time limit. The facilitators can role play as PIA judges and ask questions they might ask. REHEARSAL and good grammar is the key.
  • Create an emergency contact sheet for each student that includes allergies, emergency contact numbers, etc.
  • Send a letter home to parents indicating what students need to wear and bring to the conference.
  • Create a document that includes the expectations of these students during the conference and require parents to provide home, work and cell phone numbers in case they need to be reached. Parents will need to agree to pick up their children if there are disciplinary problems.
  • Visit the 2008 Conference press page. Also, check out the photo gallery and video streams to get a feel of what to expect.
  • Encourage students NOT to bring ipods, etc. It hinders social interaction.
  • The Conference is an excellent recruiting tool. Bring extra students on Thursday!
  • Print flyers and encourage students to personally invite your administration and their family members to the Awards Banquet on Wednesday.
  • Discuss the dress guidelines and make sure all participants follow these guidelines.

At Conference

  • Follow the Dress Guidelines!!! (Even your extra students that attend the Conference on Thursday!!!!)
  • Bring more than one pair of comfortable shoes.
  • There is a curfew in place for EAST students to be in their hotel rooms. This curfew is enforced by the Hotel, EAST Staff, and Facilitators.
  • Attend all breakout sessions that were registered for ahead of time.
  • If you want to attend a session that you didn't get to register for, go to the room 5 minutes before it starts to see if there are empty seats. Often, you will get the chance to attend.
  • Provide a small daily schedule for each student to fit in their name tag holder.
  • Stagger lunch breaks
  • Pair up your students. They do everything in pairs; walking the exhibit hall floor, going to breakouts, lunch breaks, in our booth, etc. Especially being conscious of the fact that if one student doesn’t own a cell you pair them up with someone that does.
  • Place a folded up sheet of paper that includes names and cell phone numbers of everyone from your school in their name badge clear plastic holder. This way, they can get a hold of anyone at anytime.
  • Take up hotel room keys
  • Presenters are first to man booth so they can practice presenting in front of other students.
  • Provide notebooks for your students to take with them to breakout sessions. Require that all notes taken are placed in one notebook at the booth or held on to so they can be discussed with others after the event.
  • Use containers with wheels to bring in decorations and supplies. It can hold purses, etc. during the conference.
  • Take all valuables to hotel rooms each day (computers, projectors, cameras, etc.). EAST Initiative is not responsible for items lost or stolen during the event.
  • Many schools use family radios or walkie talkies at the Conference. These work but with shared frequencies. It can get confusing and annoying when other schools use your designated channel.
  • Wireless internet is an option on the exhibit hall floor although it is not always guaranteed (from past experience).

This page was last updated on Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 4:17 PM | View all updates | Site Map