Meeting Planning Checklist

This chronological list includes the stages that go into planning an MAA Seaway Section meeting (spring or fall).

The Committee on Venues determines the host institution, generally more than one year ahead of the meeting. The host institution must agree to support the meeting financially and with the needed personnel before any planning begins. A member of the host institution must agree to serve as local organizer—the main contact person responsible for interactions with the Seaway Chair and Program Chair in matters related to the meeting. Once the host institution is determined, much of the real planning can begin.

At least 1 year before meeting:

  1. The local organizer’s contact information must be forwarded to the Section Chair and Program Chair.
  2. Set Meeting Dates: A Fall meeting generally takes place in mid to late October or early November, while a spring meeting is traditionally late March to mid-April.
    1. Check the University Calendar for possible conflicts, such as major sporting events, conferences, holidays, and University programs (such as Thanksgiving and Easter services, Homecoming, Parents' Weekend, etc.).
    2. Consult with dining services in preparation for the Saturday lunch and breakfast. Consider what rooms on campus would be suitable for lunch, as well as for the Friday evening banquet (this may need to be held at a hotel).
    3. Check with Seaway Chair about proposed dates before making a firm decision.
    4. If using an off-campus hotel for the Friday evening banquet, also confirm that the proposed dates allow sufficient room for guests. Reserve a block of rooms with at least one hotel in the area, securing a variety of room types (1 bed, 2 beds, etc).
    5. Send confirmed dates (and location if an off-campus venue is being used for Friday evening) to Seaway Chair and Program Chair.

At least 9 months before meeting:

  1. Determine Saturday Invited Speakers (not the responsibility of the host institution)
    1. The Randolph (Fall) or Gehman (Spring) Lecture Committee invites a speaker and, once the invitation has been accepted and confirmed for the dates chosen, forwards the basic details of the speaker including name, affiliation, and email address to the Program Chair. The Program Chair will be in contact for information to be used in publicizing the meeting.
    2. The Program Committee invites speakers for the opening and closing talks and once the invitations have been accepted and confirmed for the dates chosen, forwards the basic details of the speakers including names, affiliations, and email addresses to the Program Chair. The Program Chair will be in contact for information to be used in publicizing the meeting.
  2. Determine Friday Evening Speaker (host institution responsibility)
    1. Invite and confirm a speaker for the Friday evening banquet. This speaker is the only speaker chosen by the host institution.
    2. Send basic details of the speaker including name, affiliation, and email address to the Program Chair. Let the speaker know that the Program Chair will be in contact for information to be used in publicizing the meeting.
    3. Assist in any arrangements for travel and lodging for the speaker. The host institution is responsible for all costs associated with the banquet speaker including any honorarium (typically $100 is offered).
    4. Determine any special needs of the speaker for the talk and arrange for any technology.
  3. Reserving Space: The following is a typical list of needed arrangements.
  4. Workshop Friday afternoon (Micro-course or Seaway NExT) from 1- 5pm; actual time needed will be some portion of this. It may need to be a computer lab depending on the workshop but should hold approximately 25-30.
  5. Executive Committee meeting 3-6pm Friday afternoon to comfortably fit 14, preferably around a table.
  6. Friday Evening
    1. Registration area Friday evening before and during the social hour, starting at 5:30pm, near the entrance to the room for the social hour.
    2. Social Hour, Friday 6-7 pm, generally near the location of the banquet or even in the same room with an available cash bar.
    3. Banquet Friday evening 7 – 8:30pm; expect approximately 100 people but the actual number can vary from 75 to 130.
    4. Banquet speaker Friday evening 8:30 – 9:30pm, usually in the same room as the banquet if possible.
    5. After-banquet game or activities Friday evening, 9:30 – 10:30pm, usually in the same room as the banquet and speaker if possible.
  7. Saturday Morning
    1. Registration area to be staffed starting at least 30 minutes before the first talk, near the entrance to the room for the morning talks.
    2. Large lecture hall that can hold 170 (or even 200 if possible) participants comfortably. This is needed from approximately 8:30am to noon.
  8. Saturday Afternoon
    1. 4-6 rooms for contributed talks, each of which can hold 30-40 people, possibly one computer lab depending on the meeting.
    2. 2-3 rooms for student talks, each of which can hold 30-40 people.
    3. Lecture hall for the Closing Keynote at the end of the meeting that can hold 100-150 people.

At least 6 months in advance

  1. Create a Website for the Meeting:
    1. Create or have created for you the basic shell to be used as information is gathered.
    2. Determine how to incorporate online payment, including a PayPal option, that can be tested before registration opens.
    3. The following information should eventually be easily available for participants on the website being created:
      1. Dates of the meeting
      2. Location of the meeting
      3. Directions to the meeting and where to park upon arrival
      4. Maps of campus with important buildings marked for the meeting as well as parking locations
      5. Lodging options including those where blocks of rooms have been reserved and any special codes needed for meeting rates
      6. A Downloadable Poster created by the Program Chair for publicity
      7. Meeting Program as it becomes available
      8. Information about Invited speakers provided by Program Chair
      9. Schedule of Contributed Talks and list of abstracts forwarded by Program Chair
      10. Schedule of Student Talks and list of abstracts forwarded by the Student Program Committee Chair
      11. Registration Form and mechanism for Online payment
      12. Contact for the local organizer
  2. Determine the menu for the banquet Friday evening. Either buffet or sit-down is acceptable, but in either case there must be a vegetarian option (vegan if possible) and the ability to handle dietary restrictions upon request. Be sure the registration form allows for these restrictions to be noted.
  3. Determine a deadline that is required by the catering/dining services to give a final number for Friday evening dinner and/or Saturday lunch and forward that information to the Program Chair to use when announcing the meeting. This will be the pre-registration deadline for the meeting and must be clearly seen on the website and registration form.
  4. Plan for food on Saturday: continental breakfast foods, lunch in a campus dining facility capable of handling the large group, and snacks. Also, again there must be a vegetarian option and the ability to handle dietary restrictions upon request. Be sure the registration form allows for these restrictions to be noted. (Remember that the host institution is responsible for the cost of the light continental breakfast food/beverages, and for snacks in the afternoon.)
  5. Arranging for a person or team from the institution’s technology center to be available to sort out any A/V problems that arise during the meeting related to power, computers, or other issues is highly recommended.
  6. Determine a local leader (e.g., President, Provost, Dean) who will welcome everyone Saturday morning before the first talk.

At least 2-3 months in advance

  1. The initial announcement to the Seaway section is sent out approximately 2 months before the meeting, by the Program Chair, including a call for contributed and student talks.
  2. Confirm that the website is ready for participants to view with all available information including a draft of the basic schedule, information about invited speakers, a downloadable poster, information about available lodging, and a working registration form.
  3. Be ready to process registrations as they arrive, creating a spreadsheet with the relevant information for each registrant, and holding any checks received for transfer to the Treasurer at the meeting.
  4. Confirm the arrangements for the banquet Friday evening and food on Saturday with the catering or dining services being used.
  5. Confirm room reservations to be used for Contributed talks and Student talks and send the list to the Program Chair to use when the list of talks comes in.
  6. Finalize A/V equipment needs with appropriate campus departments this might include microphones, podiums, computer projectors, screens, video players, etc., depending on the speakers and sessions. Remember to set A/V equipment for the Friday evening student game show.
  7. Create signs to direct participants while on campus and to parking, as well as to the rooms for talks.
  8. Organize volunteers to be at a registration table Friday evening as people arrive, and Saturday morning for participants who were not there Friday evening.
  9. Organize volunteers to preside over contributed and student sessions, frequently local faculty, or if needed someone speaking in the session. Communicate with the Program Chair and/or Student Program Committee regarding who will be responsible for this. Their assistance may be requested in making sure presiders are arranged for all talks.
  10. Gather information to include in participant folders, duplicating schedules as they become available.

1 Week in advance

  1. Print a Registration List of participants for use at check-in.
  2. Create/Assemble Name tags for participants.
  3. Put together Individual Folders including:
    1. Program
    2. Contributed talks schedule
    3. Student talks schedule
    4. Abstracts of contributed talks
    5. Abstracts of Student talks
    6. Information about Invited Speakers
    7. Paper
    8. Writing Instrument
    9. Campus Map
    10. Information on host university or local area (if desired)

At the end of the meeting

  1. Settle all finances with the Seaway Section Treasurer.
  2. Send a final count of the number of participants to the Program Chair and Seaway Chair.

PDF version of Checklist