Ten Takeaways from the OACAC Conference

By Alison Herget & Kelly Braun
Alison Herget                Kelly Braun
Brandeis University      Int'l School of Sacred Heart, Tokyo 

Whether you were a first-timer or an old-timer, this year’s OACAC conference was a win-win for all. Here’s a list of our top ten takeaways from this year’s one-of-a-kind conference, hosted by University of South Florida, University of Tampa and Eckerd College.

1) By using the conference website BEFORE you saved money and had great advice. Worried about what to wear? How to get to the USF campus? The conference hosts did a great job of letting us know what to expect and where to go no matter how far and what country you are coming from.

2) Use every session and event as an opportunity to meet new people. If you came by yourself, you were never alone and always had an opportunity to meet new people. Meet new people, exchange cultural differences, and make a new friend for when the new school year hits. 

3) The food and drinks and coffee. Oh, the food. And the drinks. And the coffee line. Thanks to the conferences hosts we never went hungry, or thirsty, or un-caffeinated.

4) Always leave extra room in your suitcase. Between the t-shirt, conference bag, and the opportunity to win new treasures in the raffle and silent auction, our bags gained a couple of pounds on the way home. 

5) Bring good walking/running shoes. Whether it was walking to and from sessions or making a quick trip back to your dorm room, it was sure nice to have a comfortable and sturdy pair of shoes to go back and forth. (Also see below)

6) Running a 5K in Florida in July at 7 a.m. can be rough. But knowing that all the money raised, $4930, is going to the scholarship fund, made it all the better. This was the first annual 5K, so here’s to many more great races and lots more money raised!

7) Missed the conference and want to know what you missed? Or didn’t miss the conference but want to know what was going on in other sessions? Check the OACAC website for presenter slides and other nifty conference materials. The OACAC Conference 2014 Facebook album also has a lovely collection of photographic memories for the record books.

8) Making notes on the backs of business cards really helps. Tim and Aaron weren’t just making that up when they shared their preconference advice. Meeting so many new people all at one time is wonderful but also overwhelming. This is the first time I tried doing this consistently, and it works. Upon examining my hefty stack of business cards after I got home, I actually remember faces and conversations a lot better and am able to associate them directly with names and schools.

9) Busch Gardens is amazing, especially when you have a part of the park reserved just for you and your 1,000 closest friends and colleagues. What better way to network other than via merry-go-round or an upside down roller coaster? Or by watching a merry-go-round go round?

10) Can't wait for next year - OACAC Conference will be hosed by the University of Oregon in Eugene, July 7-10.

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