Re: conference policies?

Garry DeWeese (
Mon, 15 Sep 1997 12:14:28 -0700

>Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 12:04:08 -0700
>To: (Craig Rusbult) <>
>From: Garry DeWeese <>
>Subject: Re: conference policies?
>Cc: cook
>In-Reply-To: <v02140b03b041a4c9d191@[]>
>I'm one of the organizers of the Boulder conference (and have been
involved in the organization of a couple other conferences as well). I
must say that in my experience, the ASA meetings are rather unique in their
organization. I have only attended one national meeting of the ASA (at SPU
a couple years ago) and was impressed with the work of the local committee.
My other experiences have included local, regional and national meetings
of other scholarly organizations (SCP, ETS, APA), none of which did more
than schedule meeting places, and possibly a banquet, and then point
attendees (even those reading papers) in the direction of local
otels/motels and restaurants. Often, by agreement, even invited plenary
speakers arrange their own accomodations and reimburse the conference
organizers for expenses. My sense is that the primary reasons for this are
(1) the organizers have our own teaching/research/jobs which still must be
done, and we cannot increase conference fees enough to pay for clerical
help; and (2) often attendees at such conferences are somewhat acquainted
with each other and can do their own networking to find roommates. (I
trust your suggestion that we don't do more so as to benefit the local
economy is humor and not serious.)
>We'd love to see you in Boulder in spite of your disappointment with our
organizing efforts.
>Garry DeWeese
>At 04:22 PM 9/14/1997 -0400, you wrote:
>> I really enjoy the convenience of the annual ASA Meetings: everything
>>(meeting rooms, eating areas, and housing) is close, and the organizers
>>arrange roommates for those who don't want to pay for a single room.
>> This is very convenient, and at lunchtime it is easy to find people to
>>talk with, because everyone is eating at the same location.
>> By contrast, at another meeting (History and Philosophy in Science
>>Teaching) nothing was arranged except the meeting rooms; everyone found
>>their own rooms and roommate (if any), and for eating everyone scattered to
>>restaurants around the city. The Christian Scholarship conference (see my
>>second post) is similar in its minimum-arrangements policy.
>> * Which type of conference do attenders usually prefer?
>>{ Are those like me, who prefer the ASA-type conference, a minority? }
>> * Which type is most common?
>>{ My previous experience has been mainly with ASA & IJA (International
>>Jugglers Association) who both provide for everything. But at the HPST and
>>Boulder conferences, nothing is arranged except the meetings.
>> { Also, NON-SUMMER conferences would not be able to take advantage of the
>>empty dormitories that are used at most ASA meetings. }
>> * What are the reasons for a "minimal organization" conference?
>>* For example, why is there sometimes no roommate-arranging service?
>> Is it because most attendees want single rooms? (for simplicity, to
>>insure a good night of sleep without a roommate noisily stumbling in and
>>turning on lights after you've fallen asleep)
>> Or because most attenders have "expense accounts" and don't have to pay
>>for the housing themselves? ( Or because their salaries are such that
>>paying the full cost for a room doesn't matter that much? )
>> Or because they arrange for their own roommates? (people from their own
>>institution, or people they've met at previous conferences)
>> Or is it because the conference organizers just don't want to bother with
>>it? (I appreciate the effort ASA invests in this) But even if the
>>organizers wanted to stay out of the process, it wouldn't take that much
>>work to just create a "roommate wanted" web-page with e-mail addresses, and
>>make it clear to all registrants that this is available; the web-page could
>>even have a password, to help increase privacy)
>> Or is it because conference organizers sometimes make decisions based on
>>what is best for the local economy? (as when attendees eat at local
>>restaurants; and a lot more revenue is generated when everyone pays for a
>>single room instead of splitting the cost for a double room)
>>A naive, inexperienced conference-attender,
>>obviously spoiled by ASA's excellent meetings,
>>Craig Rusbult