We’ve tried our best to answer your questions by putting loads of information up on the website. But we do realize that sometimes it’s just nice to look for information in one place. Hopefully we’ve answered all your questions in one fell swoop below!
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. Our mission is to strengthen communities through service, action, and advocacy.
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 90 workshops at all levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced) surrounding these themes or categories:
- Building and Sustaining Campus-based Community Service Programs: These workshops will focus on the sharing of best practices and models to create and sustain an infrastructure for community-based service programs, especially those that are student-led. Topics of particular interest include: program structure, recruitment, retention, training, service activity design, evaluation, reflection, funding and campus support.
- Administrators: These workshops are geared toward professionals in the field of civic engagement and will focus on hot topics within student community engagement. Participants will have the opportunity to network with other administrators to discuss issues and develop or refine their skills.
- Alternative Break Programs:(sponsored and managed by BreakAway): Best practices for organizing effective, meaningful, and transformative alternative break programs.
- AmeriCorps/National Service/Year of Service programs: For members and program staff of AmeriCorps or other national service/year of service programs. Ideas for improving the management, performance and impact of AmeriCorps programs.
- Issue and Advocacy: These workshops explore the issues to develop the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to effect social change; they can also include ways in which different campuses have taken action to address these issues. Topics of particular interest include: sustainability, political participation and action, economics, immigration, corporate and consumer responsibility, human trafficking and social entrepreneurship.
- Leadership and Professional Skills/Career Development: These workshops develop the skills needed for socially conscious careers in today’s economic and political times, including topics such as: assessment, grant and proposal writing, intercultural communications, advocacy, leadership, and networking. These workshops may also provide opportunities to explore differing paths into the social justice field, such as non-profit organizations, corporations, social entrepreneurs, grassroots organizations, and policy writing.
- Life after College/Recent Graduate: Gain information about graduate school programs, post-grad service programs, service opportunities for recent grads, things like “how to create a service program at your workplace or in your community”
- Service-Learning: Implementing or enhancing service that is incorporated into academic coursework.
- Spirituality/Faith and Service: For many people spirituality and faith are a cornerstone of their commitment to service and justice. Explore how to deepen, honor, and leverage the spiritual and faith-based roots of service.
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?
We expect about 600 students, administrators, national service participants, and non-profit leaders to attend the 2015 IMPACT Conference. Students, administrators and faculty come from small, private, liberal arts colleges and from 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. 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?
We’re still in the process of inviting sponsors for 2015, so stay tuned! Our site, which is updated frequently, will give you the most updated list of nonprofit sponsors — we hope that you will connect with these other changemakers during the conference. Besides sponsors, there are plenty of other organizations that are presenting workshops or otherwise attending the conference in order to be in the same room as you!
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?
This conference is geared toward students, but is not limited to students. For over 20 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 firstname.lastname@example.org in order to obtain a permission form to be signed by a parent or guardian prior to arrival.
I’d like to register myself and others — how do I do that?
During the registration process, you will be able to select the kinds of registrations (tickets) you would like to purchase. If you are attending with others, just fill in everyone’s names (one per ticket). If you do not know the names of those who will be attending, just put the tickets in your name and the Registration Chair will contact you at a later date to get the names and email addresses of the additional people attending. If you have questions about how the registration system works, please feel free to contact our registration chair – email@example.com.
I’d like to register others, but not myself – how do I do that?
During the registration process, you will be able to select the kinds of registrations (tickets) you would like to purchase. If you are registering others but not actually attending yourself, just fill in everyone’s names (one per ticket). If you do not know the names of those who will be attending, just put the tickets in your name and the Registration Chair will contact you at a later date to get the names and email addresses of the additional people attending. If you have questions about registration, please feel free to contact our registration chair – firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do I do if I’m unsure of who will be attending from our campus, but want to register now?
It IS possible to purchase registrations and later fill in the name for that registration. If you do not know the names of those who will be attending, just put the tickets in your name and the Conference Chair will contact you at a later date to get the names and email addresses of the additional people attending. By finishing an order and getting your order number you can always come back to it to update names or other information.
How will I know if my registration has been confirmed?
You will see a confirmation page at the end of your registration/payment process, thanking you for registering.
Can I pay for the conference by check?
Yes. Please note that credit card payments for registration are highly encouraged, though checks can be processed on-site if absolutely necessary. If you’d like to pay by check email our registration chair – email@example.com and they will get you an invoice and the pay by check information.
What if I pay for someone’s registration, then they can’t make it to the conference. Can I get a refund?
Refunds are available on a limited basis, contact our registration chair firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a refund.
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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.
What is the closest airport to the campus?
Please see our Hotels and Transportation page for options.
I’m interested in carpooling or finding out if there are others from my school and/or area that are attending the conference. Can you connect me with other students?
As we get closer to the conference, we hope to post a forum for communication regarding travel on the site.
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.
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How do I know what’s going on each day?
Click here to see the conference schedule. 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 2012 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. 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 a thousand 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.
How do I connect with campus administrators?
Recognizing the need for a way for campus staff members to meet with the nonprofit organizations that sponsor the event (at the Advocate level or higher), we added a feature to the conference to facilitate that networking process.