Welcome to the Student Technology Conference (STC), where newcomers are soon old friends. The following information is presented in hopes of answering questions you may have. Please feel free to speak with any fellow attendee if you need additional information.
Since its beginnings as the ResNet Symposium in 1994, the STC has annually connected administrators and specialists who plan, purchase, implement, and support student information technologies and manage or supervise student employees at over 150 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and abroad. These technologies include networking (wired and wireless), computing clusters, multimedia, IT service management tools. Associated with these technologies are support issues and information security concerns.
Attendees of the STC come from academic institutions with many different models of support and organization and at many different levels of technology implementation. This mix of experience augments the sharing of information, which occurs through presentations, panel discussions, roundtable conversations, and, most often through the casual social atmosphere of the conference. Several presentation tracks are offered, allowing participants to either focus directly on their own concerns or to get a taste of different ideas and programs.
The STC is the only conference of its kind which deals exclusively with student technologies and the management of student employees within academic institutions. The conference is always held at a college or university, and most participants choose to stay in a residence hall so they get to experience how their customers live for one week a year. The conference is also traditionally casual. We recognize that a lot of the information-sharing occurs during friendly conversations and social events – food is a great way to draw people together. The STC has become an annual event for many of the participants. One favorite tradition at the opening dinner every year is the “stand up, sit down” event which demonstrates just how many people keep coming back to the STC year after year. Beyond the professional connections, the STC provides lasting collegial friendships.
The Program Committee is team of volunteers who are experienced ResNet community members. They solicit the presentation sessions, set the schedule, publish daily newsletters at the conference, moderate sessions, and assist in other ways with the conference programming.
Each conference has a unique website on the sched.org domain; the URL will be posted on the resnetstc.org website. Log into the site to see the agenda, plan your sessions, and see updates. Additionally, it offers a user-friendly mobile application.
Staying in the campus residence halls is a tradition of the conference. While some attendees may opt to stay in a nearby hotel, the majority stay on campus. Those staying in campus housing extend the networking opportunities and collegiality of the conference through the proximity and shared spaces. Whether it’s chatting with suitemates or playing cards or board games with others in the common areas, the conference day does not end after the official events do. Keep in mind that while bed linens, pillows, and towels are provided, other items such as coat hangers and toiletries are often not. Unless you choose a double room, you will always have a private bedroom with a locking door. Based on the campus, the bathrooms may be shared with either the suite or the floor.
Culture and Dress Code
The STC is a relaxed, friendly, casual conference. Think of it as a gathering of old friends who all happen to work in similar jobs. While some attendees opt for business casual attire, many will wear shorts, t-shirts, and other comfortable clothing. Each full-conference attendee will receive a conference t-shirt. Attendees should expect lots of conversation and information sharing to happen over meals, during breaks, and at other informal gatherings throughout the length of the conference.
Professional Development Seminar (PDS)
The PDS consists of extended sessions structured around a specific topic. The format of these sessions provide for longer and more thorough discussions than the program sessions. The PDS sessions are generally offered as a half day session, about 3 hours in length, with a morning and an afternoon session.
Opening Reception and Dinner
The opening reception provides you with an opportunity to meet and mingle with other conference attendees before the opening dinner. During the opening dinner, you’ll be introduced to the Board of Directors and the Program Committee as well as learn more about the exciting things in store at the STC.
Closing Ceremony and Event
The closing ceremony is an opportunity for the hosts to “pass the torch” (or in our case, the clock) to the following year’s hosts. Any outgoing Board members are thanked and new Board members are introduced. The ceremony is followed by the closing dinner and event, which often happens off campus and is a celebration not to be missed. Be sure to book your return travel for the day after the technical sessions end so that you do not miss the closing event.
Birds of a Feather (BOF) Sessions
BOF sessions are small groups who gather to discuss a pre-selected topic. Oftentimes these are written into the schedule, but they can also form at lunch or dinner tables. Be sure to check the program schedule to see if any appeal to you.
The Presenters’ Prep meeting provides important information and tips to those presenting at the STC. Information about the presentation process specific to the STC will be covered, along with tips for a successful presentation. It is crucial that all presenters attend the Presenters’ Prep meeting to see the room where they will be presenting and familiarize themselves with the specific technology in that room.
The Silent Auction is an annual event that takes place at the STC. Attendees and institutions donate goods to help raise money for the organization, primarily to help fund the Senti-Merriman Award. Attendees are encouraged to bid on items, which range from locally produced/procured goods to handmade goods to college-branded goods.
Show off your department’s t-shirts and exchange for someone else’s. Each attendee can bring up to 2 new, unworn shirts from their institution to exchange for a shirt of the same size. Head home with a fun new shirt from your colleagues to show off to your coworkers.
Show off your knowledge of IT, current events, music, and other trivia by participating in Pub Trivia, a friendly game in which teams (seated at tables as though in a restaurant or pub) compete to answer the most questions accurately and quickly.
Town Hall Meeting
The Town Hall is the public meeting of ResNet, Inc., the not-for-profit organization that puts on the STC. During the meeting, the Board of Directors explains the activities and accomplishments of the Board over the past year. The Board also explains any new initiatives and any volunteer opportunities that will arise during the next year.
Resources for New Attendees
During the first full day of the conference, the Program Committee, the Board of Directors, and the hosts all wear specific shirts. They can be used as references to assist with directions to conference locations, questions about the conference, and more. They are resources that welcome questions about both the conference and the ResNet, Inc. organization. Additionally, there is often a newcomers’ event, which may be an optional Bingo-type game that requires participants to speak with various conference attendees. As the game is not limited to newcomers, it provides opportunities for both old and new attendees to get to know each other better.
Each year’s conference contains one day during which the scheduled sessions only occur during the morning hours. This provides the opportunity to network with other attendees by participating in planned activities in the local area. These are typically available for an additional fee and not part of the regular conference program. These activities may or may not include dinner in their additional fee, but dinner is not included this night as part of the conference registration fee. Due to that, some attendees choose to dine together at a local restaurant.
Poster sessions are brief sessions in which the presenters display posters detailing their topics. The presenters are available to answer questions or further explain what is on the poster. These are often held during breaks between longer, more structured presentation sessions.
Popcorn Sessions are impromptu structured discussions. Attendees suggest ideas, a quick poll is taken, and then each person chooses a smaller group to join. The groups discuss the selected topics. Afterward, a brief summary is provided to the entire group. It is an opportunity to collectively resolve problems and share ideas regarding common challenges.