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How does the NESUG Annual Conference compare to SAS Global Forum?
The NESUG conference is both different from and similar to SAS Global Forum. SAS Global Forum usually has 10-15 concurrent presentation sessions whereas NESUG features 4-6 concurrent presentation sessions. The quality of NESUG and SAS Global Forum presentations is on the same level. Because attendance at NESUG is much smaller than that of SAS Global Forum, however, the conference has a much more personal feel. It’s much easier to meet people and to talk with presenters after their sessions.
How can I convince my boss to send me to NESUG?
Tell your boss that the NESUG Annual conference is the best value in SAS education available. In just a couple of days, you’ll learn SAS tips and techniques you’ll put to work your first day back on the job. Remind your boss that the NESUG Annual Conference costs much less than a formal three-day training class, and the investment will more than pay for itself by increasing your productivity and value to the organization.
I’ve never been to a NESUG conference. How easy is it to meet people?
It’s easy to meet people! The various social events are ideal opportunities to meet people in a relaxed setting. We also recommend that newcomers attend the “NESUG for Newbies” Session on Sunday afternoon. Not only is it a good place to meet other first-timers, you’ll learn how to get the most out of the conference. Volunteering is another great way to meet people and quickly feel like you’re part of the group.
What do volunteers do at the conference?
Since the NESUG conference is run completely by volunteers, many types of jobs are available. We need Session Coordinators, people to staff the registration desk, people to help set up and prepare for the conference on Saturday and Sunday, and more. If you’re interested in volunteering, answer “YES” to the volunteer question during the registration process and someone will contact you.
How much time do I have to commit if I volunteer?
Most volunteer jobs require two to four hours of time. You can work out a convenient schedule with the volunteer coordinator. Whatever you choose to do, we appreciate your help! In fact, we couldn’t put the conference on each year without our wonderful volunteers.
How will I know what to do if I volunteer?
We’ll give you instructions, so don’t be afraid to volunteer just because you don’t know what to do. Most volunteer jobs aren’t complicated. In fact, most volunteers tell us it’s fun to be involved, and it’s a great way to meet new people.
Can I serve as a volunteer without registering for the conference?
Because NESUG is an all-volunteer organization, and because the cost of the conference is so reasonable, all attendees must register, including volunteers. Volunteering at the conference is fun and provides great opportunities to get to know other people, so please consider signing up!
How can I become a Session Coordinator?
Like most of our volunteers, Session Coordinators express their interest in volunteering during the registration process. They may ask for a particular section or just volunteer wherever the need is greatest. Section Chairs accept volunteers based on their needs for assistance in their section. New people are always welcome!
How can I become a Section Chair?
The Conference Chairs, with the advice of the Executive Committee and feedback from previous Section Chairs, select Section Chairs from those who have expressed an interest in the position and have done a good job as a volunteer at prior conferences.
How can I become a Conference Chair?
NESUG Conference Chairs are selected based on their extensive contributions of time, effort, and ideas to make past NESUG conferences and non-conference activities a success. They have also assumed increasing levels of responsibility within the organization and have accomplished those assignments well.
There isn’t any one path, but the Executive Committee considers the following things when selecting future Conference Chairs:
- Has the candidate presented at NESUG? Was the presentation well prepared and well received?
- Has the candidate volunteered to help with conference and/or non-conference activities?
- Has the candidate been a Session Coordinator? Did he/she do a good job?
- Has he/she been a Section Chair? Did he/she do a good job?
- Is he/she reliable?
- Is he/she a leader?
- Can he/she make the commitment?
How can I become a presenter?
A Call for Presentations is announced every year, usually in February. The process for submitting an abstract will be detailed on our web site, so check often for details. The Section Chairs may also solicit presentations on popular topics.
What is all the NESUG conference income spent on? Do you make a profit?
Conference income is used to pay for graphic design, rental of audio-visual equipment used at the conference, signage, conference materials, the opening session dinner, refreshment breaks, and many other items that make the conference a pleasant, worthwhile event. The conference breaks even or generates a small surplus that is applied to the next conference. No one receives a salary, and all income is used to support conferences and the operation of the NESUG organization.
How are conference sites selected?
NESUG holds its annual conference in cities in the northeast U.S. that have suitable conference and transportation facilities. The location moves around the northeast so that it will be near a variety of SAS user communities in the region. Conference hotels are selected on the basis of price, conference facilities, accessibility, and their proximity to local SAS users groups, restaurants, local attractions and overflow hotels.
What is the purpose of the Opening Session?
The Conference Chairs welcome the attendees and announce the major themes and events of their conference at the Opening Session. They also introduce the team of volunteers who help organize and run the conference. The Opening Session’s most salient feature, however, is the keynote address that is usually given by a major figure from SAS Institute.
Why does the conference start on Sunday and end on Wednesday?
The conference opening and closing sessions are scheduled for the greater convenience of those who travel longer distances and who stay overnight in the hotel. Traveling to the conference on a weekend offers the advantages of less time away from work, training opportunities, and sightseeing options. The time of the Closing Session allows attendees to check out of their rooms in the morning, enjoy half a day of activities, and to arrive home at a reasonable hour.
Why is the conference always in the fall?
The NESUG conference is held in the fall to minimize conflicts with holidays, weddings, graduations, vacations, and especially the SAS Global Forum conference which is held in the spring. In addition, hotel rates are usually at their lowest in the fall.
What kind of food is provided at the conference?
The conference opens with a dinner at Opening Session, the cost of which is included in the registration fee. We usually have a continental breakfast each morning, and an afternoon break with some sweets and drinks around mid-afternoon. If there is a Monday night event, we will have some snacks and there is food at the Tuesday night party.
How should I dress at the conference?
The conference is business casual. Remember that room temperatures vary, so it is a good idea to dress in layers.
Is the conference survey really that important?
Yes! It is vital to our process of continually improving the conference. A week or two after the conference, it is emailed to all attendees. The survey results reviewed by the Executive Committee. All suggestions are evaluated and, if approved, implemented as rapidly as possible.
Can I get a refund if I don’t attend the conference?
Generally speaking, if you cancel your registration more than four to six weeks prior to the conference you will receive a refund. The exact date is set by the conference chairs and is noted in the conference registration materials. After that date, refunds will not be issued. NESUG uses the number of registrants on that date to determine the number of conference materials to order. These expenses are incurred whether you attend the conference or not.
Does NESUG provide a guest program or a daycare program?
For a nominal fee, guests may register and have access to the Opening Session (including dinner), continental breakfast, daytime breaks, and evening events. This feature is designed to allow family members and friends the opportunity to be part of the social aspects of the conference.
No daycare programs have been provided by NESUG in the past, and there are no current plans to initiate these programs.
Why can’t there be more papers on a specific topic/product?
There are so many interesting topics about the SAS system! We try to cover a wide range of topics that we think will be most useful to the majority of the conference attendees. Consequently, we can’t cover every interesting topic or give a great deal of coverage to any one topic. The number of papers on any given topic also depends on the willingness of people like you to research, write, and deliver papers. In spite of these limitations, we feel that the presentations we offer and the opportunity we provide to talk one-on-one with the presenters, other users, and SAS staff can satisfy the technical curiosity of every attendee.
Can presentations be repeated so I won’t miss all that I want to hear?
In addition to the extra burden that this would place on the speakers (who want to attend talks, too), this would entail a reduction in the number of unique papers that are accepted for presentation at the conference. We want to accept as many speakers as we can and turn down as few as possible. Repeating presentations would reduce the number of speakers we could accept.
Can presentations be recorded?
To record each talk (video or audio) would be cost prohibitive. It would require audio-visual equipment as well as personnel to operate the equipment. The extra cost to provide this service would raise the registration fee, which NESUG attempts to keep as low as possible.
If I attend a presentation and find that I don’t like the paper or it is not what I expected, is it acceptable to leave?
It is perfectly acceptable to leave a session if the paper is not what you expected, as long as you don’t distract the speaker or the attendees in the process. Avoid making a disturbance when you leave your seat and close the door quietly behind you when you leave the room.
What are the Pre-Conference Training Classes?
Formal training classes occasionally are held at the conference hotel in conjunction with the NESUG conference. These courses are taught by a variety of vendors (independent consultants, training companies) and cover a wide range of subjects. These classes are not part of the conference per se, but are offered before the conference to allow attendees to maximize the value of travel expenses. Anyone may take a training class, whether or not they attend the conference.
Can I buy extra bags, tee-shirts, or other souvenirs?
If there are extra items at the end of the conference, they may be made available for purchase. Check at the Registration desk at the conference or contact a member of the Executive Committee.
How can I let the Executive Committee know about a suggestion, idea, or complaint I have about the conference?
During the conference, the best way to make your suggestion known is to come to the NESUG planning meeting, usually held at the Collaboration Cafe in the Solutions Center. There you will be able to explain your idea to the future Conference Chairs and many of the other people who will help put together the next conference. You can also make your suggestion on the conference survey or speak to any of the members of the NESUG Executive Committee (purple ribbon) you meet during the conference.
How do I make a general announcement at the conference?
The conference has set up a Twitter wall which will allow you to tweet a message to all attendees. (Use the hashtag #nesug00, where 00 is the conference year.) Attendees following the hashtag will see the message, if not they can still check the wall to see all the messages.
How do I report a problem in a section?
You should notify one of the Session Coordinators (white ribbon) or the Section Chairs (maroon ribbon) of the session you are attending.
How can I find out timely information about the next NESUG conference?
The most up-to-date information can be found on our website, www.nesug.org. Announcements are also emailed to past NESUG attendees and registered SAS users who have opted in to such mailings. NESUG announcements are also posted to the SAS-L mailing list several times per year. Information on the next NESUG conference is also published in various SAS publications and by affiliated user groups.