The Local Arrangements Chair is NEPCA’s concierge for the annual conference. This person works closely with the Program Chair. Among the duties:
1. Working with local hotels to alert them of when NEPCA will be in the area. The chair often arranges with one or two hotels to set aside a block of rooms for the conference weekend. NEPCA does not sign contracts or make guarantees with said hotels, but there has seldom been a case in which all set-aside rooms were not filled. To reassure hotels, the chair can arrange for a book-by date–which NEPCA will advertise–and release hotels from the promise to reserve any rooms not booked by that date. If possible, secure a conference rate for the hotels designated as “recommended.”
2. Compiling a range of hotels from inexpensive to moderate in price. The chair should pass onto the executive secretary all contact information (addresses, phone numbers, and website information) for area hotels ASAP–if possible 2-3 months before the conference.
3. Generating a list of restaurant recommendations for conference attendees. Please provide a range of options and prices. The list should concentrate on those establishments that are close to the host institution and/or to the hotels at which most attendees will be staying. This list–with addresses, phone numbers, and a several word description of fare (American, pizza, Italian family-style, etc.)–should be sent to the executive secretary at least one month before the conference. Use this designation to give an idea of how much a meal costs: $ (Cheap, in & out for $10); $$ ($10-20); $$$ ($20-30); $$$$ (fine dining, expensive)
4. Researching the best ways to arrive to conference and providing this information to the executive secretary 2-3 months before the conference. Most attendees will drive, so please provide driving directions from all cardinal points.
–If the area is serviced by airlines, please provide the names of local air carriers and give explicit instructions on how one gets from the airport to the site. Please provide bus line numbers, contact information for cab companies (and an estimate of how much it will cost) and/or shuttle firms.
–If the area is serviced by rail and/or bus service, please provide the same information as requested above for airlines.)
–IMPORTANT: Hotels often offer shuttles to airports and rail lines. It is crucial to advise when these servicesoperate as individuals may be arriving or leaving an unorthodox times.
5. Compiling a list of area attractions (with websites, addresses) such as museums, historic districts, and special events. Visitors often stay an extra day or two to explore the conference city and area. The chair should send a list of attractions to the executive secretary 2-3 months before the conference. If there is an arts and entertainment publication that attendees can access, please provide this information.
6. Making certain that the campus and its entrances are liberally signposted on the days of the conference. Signs directing attendees to parking, registration, and conference sites should be placed in easy-to-see spots. The more (and bigger) signs, the better. Poor signage is among the very few things about which conference attendees complain.
7. Placing signs (by session number) on the doors of classroom spaces used during the conference. These should be changed before each new session. (They need not be elaborate. For example, if classroom 104 hosts a sports panel at 8:30 and a film panel at 10:30, simply post a sign on the door at around 8 that says 8:30—Panel 3, Sports. Remove it at around 10:00 and put up one that says 10:30–Panel 14, Film. The panel numbers and names should correspond to what appears on the final conference schedule.)
8. Working closely with the program chair during the conference to help assure that visitors are easily acclimated to the campus and the area. The local arrangements chair often acts as the assistant to the program chair.
9. Working closely with relevant college offices such as security and the college PR office. The latter is encouraged to assemble a folder of information about the college and the area that can be handed out to registrants.