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General Info

What is this conference all about?

The IMPACT Conference is historically the largest gathering in the country focused on the civic engagement of college students in community service, service-learning, community-based research, advocacy and other forms of social action. Building on the rich 27-year tradition of the COOL Conference and the Idealist Campus Conference, IMPACT is the one time during the year when students, administrators, faculty, AmeriCorps members and VISTAs, and nonprofit professionals gather together to share resources and exchange stories.

IMPACT features over 100 workshops each year at all levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced). Visit our Workshops page to learn more.

Why should I be interested?

Recent research shows that college students want to be actively engaged with a wide variety of social issues, but are largely unsure of how to take the first step. This conference is a chance for students to build on one another’s work, for campus administrators to learn more about how to support students at their school, and for nonprofit professionals to give students clear entry points for how to get involved with their work.

Who else will be there?

Over 600 students attended the 2016 IMPACT Conference in Massachusetts at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Students came from nearly every type of institution, from small, private, liberal arts colleges to community colleges and large, public, state universities. There is no doubt you’ll make new connections and learn new things!

How do I connect with other attendees?

If you have a Facebook profile, please consider becoming a fan of the IMPACT Conference there. You can also connect with us on Twitter. We are encouraging conference attendees to connect with one another before, during, and after the conference — this is a primary way we will be doing that!

What nonprofit organizations will be there?

The IMPACT Conference wouldn’t be possible without the help of our generous sponsors. Please click here to learn more about the nonprofit organizations who have participated in the conference in previous years. We will post more information on our sponsors as it becomes available. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please visit our sponsorships page. We will post more information about the sponsors for the 2017 IMPACT Conference as it becomes available–we hope that you will connect with these other changemakers during the conference. Besides sponsors, there are plenty of other organizations who are presenting workshops or otherwise attending the conference in order to be in the same room as you!

Who plans the IMPACT Conference?

Each year, the IMPACT Conference is organized by a national planning committee comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, college administrators, and nonprofit professionals from across the country. Click here to learn more about the team.

Is this event related to the COOL Conference or the Idealist Campus Conference?

Yes. This conference is the next iteration of those conferences, building on the long and rich tradition of student gatherings. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of this event, please see our History page.

Is this event just for college students?

No. This conference is geared toward students, but is not limited to students. For over 30 years, the event has benefited students, campus administrators, nonprofit professionals, and year of service members by fostering collaboration and cooperation among all those involved with campus-based social justice work.

Can I attend the conference if I am not a college student?

Absolutely! Anyone interested in working with/among college students on social justice issues is welcome to attend the event – though a majority of attendees are undergraduates, others such as graduate students, campus administrators, year of service members, and nonprofit professionals often find the conference meaningful. If you are under the age of 18 and would like to attend, contact us at mare@impactconference.org in order to obtain a permission form to be signed by a parent or guardian prior to arrival.


How do I make my hotel reservations for the conference? Will my group’s hotel rooms all be on the same floor? Can I pay for my hotel with a check or purchase order?

All arrangements with hotels should be made directly through the hotel of your choice. The Planning Committee will make arrangements with a few hotels in the area to provide discounts and blocks of reserved rooms, but all responsibility for reservations and arrangements are left to conference attendees. You can view the recommended hotels here.

What if I have special dietary needs?

Please notify us of any special dietary needs by designating those needs on your registration form.

What should I wear?

The conference has a casual atmosphere, and you should be comfortable throughout the weekend. Also keep in mind, however, that the Opportunities Fair is a great chance to meet with representatives from nonprofit organizations and socially-responsible businesses offering volunteer opportunities, internships, and employment.


How do I know what’s going on each day?

Click on schedule so you can learn more about what will be happening throughout the conference. We know we will have a great set of activities to offer, and hope that it provides a platform for students to set, engage in, and lead a national agenda for social change.

What is the Opportunities Fair?

Each year, the most energizing and exciting events of the weekend are the multiple Opportunities Fair sessions. This fair is much like a traditional exhibit hall, but with higher energy and more opportunity for sponsors to talk with students, campus administrators, and nonprofit professionals about their work. The best part of the Opportunities Fair is that the slots scheduled for this conference feature are dedicated times — there are no other events happening during that time, so conference attendees are free to browse the tables without having to choose the fair over other programming elements.


How do I become a sponsor?

Visit our Sponsorship page for more information on sponsoring the 2017 IMPACT Conference.

How do I connect with attendees?

If you or your organization have a Facebook profile, please consider becoming a fan of the IMPACT Conference there. You can also connect with us on Twitter. We are encouraging conference attendees to connect with one another before, during, and after the conference — this is a primary way we will be doing that!

What’s the deal with the Opportunities Fair?

Sponsors are encouraged to bring what you feel best represents your organization. In the past, exhibitors have brought items including full exhibit displays, descriptions of open positions within the organization, handouts, and fun giveaways. Approximately 600 participants are expected at the conference; please keep this in mind when you are considering the quantity of items you will bring/ship to the conference.

When, exactly, IS the Opportunities Fair?

Last year we carved out specific times for participants to visit your table, and we expect to do the same this year. During the Opportunities Fair, the Planning Committee will be prioritizing the Opportunities Fair among participants, to ensure that you get high traffic to your table. This will allow you to maximize your impact.