Virtual Conference Institution/Organization Networking Events Overview
A much-anticipated part of each annual conference is the opportunity to network with colleagues, graduate students, alumni, and friends during evening receptions. Receptions typically serve as an opportunity for conference attendees to socialize with each other members of the higher education community and expand their ASHE network.
As we transition to the virtual space, we want to continue offering a way for attendees to meet, network, and socialize around a shared institutional/organizational affinity. While we'll miss the hugs, handshakes, food, and drink, the ASHE Staff is ready to support you as you plan to make connections during the ASHE 2020 Virtual Conference.
Key Considerations When Hosting an Institution/Organization Virtual Event
The two primary objectives when hosting in-person receptions are socializing with attendees and increasing organization exposure. Although it requires a bit of creativity in the virtual space, these objectives are still able to be accomplished through the ASHE 2020 Virtual Conference Platform.
Hosting a virtual reception during the ASHE 2020 Conference can also:
- Serve as a networking opportunity
- Reconnect alumni, friends, and colleagues
- Recognize major achievements and milestones (e.g., graduation, promotion, tenure, retirement)
- Showcase aspects of your institution/organization, such as a Q&A with the dean, a prominent researcher, or the launch of a new program or project
Options for Institution/Organization Virtual NetworkingFor any institution/organization that wants to host a virtual networking event, you will be provided with a Virtual Networking Lounge on the virtual conference platform. This will include your logo, a description of your institution/organization, a message board, and the option to hosts either (1) one-two 20-minute networking events during a conference break and/or (2) an evening reception.
Hosting a virtual networking lounge has little to no costs. ASHE does not charge any fees to reserve a space and for events to appear on the program. Event organizers may want to consider activities (which may have costs) as well as should be mindful of accessibility requests from attendees such as Live Captioning Service and/or an ASL Interpreter (ASHE can provide connections to these service providers if necessary).
All events will be listed in the conference program and be open to anyone who wishes to attend, regardless of conference registration. However, any attendee will need to have an ASHE login (either current or expired member or guest account) to access the Virtual Conference Platform. We'll send more information about this as the event approaches.
*NOTE: The Virtual Networking Lounge should not be used to sell any products. If an institution/organization is interested in selling or marketing products, they should learn more about opportunities to be an exhibitor.
Day-time Break Events
Throughout the conference, there are 30-minute breaks between each session. During these breaks, institutions/organizations may host 20-minute events. These may include a Q&A with the dean, alumni networking, graduate student meet up, etc. These events are shorter alternatives to a longer evening reception, fairly targeted to audiences (e.g., alumni, students, faculty), and provide a way for attendees to network between sessions (think of meeting someone for coffee or grabbing during a break).Evening Events
These events are aligned with more of the traditional in-person reception: they are recommended to be one-hour in length and in the evening after the end of the day's conference activities on Thursday and Friday.
Below is a template that may assist you as you are considering or planning to host an ASHE Conference virtual reception. Each Reception Host is responsible for planning their own reception and events.
- Welcome (5 Minutes) - Introduction, greeting to attendees, brief overview of activities, and introduction of speaker(s) (e.g., Dean, Provost, Department Chair/Head)
- Encourage folks to introduce themselves through the chat fucntions
- Acknowledgments and Info (20 minutes) - Speaker welcomes reception attendees and provides information about the institution/organization.
- Examples include:
- Introduction of Faculty and/or Staff
- Graduate Student Recognition
- Celebration of Tenure and Promotion for Faculty and Staff Members
- Faculty and Staff Retirement Recognition
- Institutional/Organizational Success and Achievements
- Promotion of New Programs, Partnerships, and/or Initiatives
- Networking (20 minutes) - Transition back to Event Planner/Reception Host to provide information about networking. Attendees will be broken out into breakout rooms at random (this will be done by the event host through Zoom).
- Closing and Thanks (10 minutes) - Event Planner/Reception Host ends reception theme and/or activities, awards winner of prize, and thanks attendees for coming and stakeholders who made the event possible
- Examples include:
Format of Events
Break and evening events will be hosted within the ASHE Virtual Conference platform and utilize a Zoom Meeting. The designated event host will be set up as the Zoom host and have all the controls as such (e.g., controlling who shares their screen, muting/unmuting individuals, removing attendees, creating breakout rooms). The ASHE Staff is available to help you as you understand options as you plan and consider options for your event
Process to Request an Institution/Organization Virtual Lounge & Events
- Select an Organizer who will be the liaison to the ASHE Staff as well as be designated the event host in the Zoom room.
- Decide on events (break event(s) and/or an evening event).
- Complete the ASHE Virtual Networking Lounge Form by October 15 at Noon Pacific (however, we recommend doing this as soon as possible so the ASHE Staff can best support you in your planning)
To complete the form, you will need the following information:
- Group Name (as it will appear on the Networking Lounge)
- Group Logo
- 200-word description of the group
- Event Coordinator Name, Email Address, and Phone Number
- Break Event #1: Title of the session, 50-word description, Ranking of time preference
- Break Event #2: Title of the session, 50-word description, Ranking of time preference
- Evening Event: Title of the session, 50-word description, Ranking of time preference
- Additional Information (open space for comments)