When NASIG began over 20 years ago, the (then) small conference met on college campuses where (most) everyone stayed in dorm rooms, ate meals together, and socialized in the evenings after the sessions ended. Many of the long-time members missed the social aspects of the campus conferences when the organization outgrew that model and moved to hotel conference centers. This is our first year of meeting at a resort hotel, and so far I have heard mostly good things about the location, and many of them saying that it’s like being in the dorms again, albeit nicer dorms than any college campus I know of.
Sure, it’s more expensive to stay here, and in particular, to eat or drink here, and it’s not within walking distance of anywhere else, but on the other hand, there is a good mix of outdoor and indoor gathering spaces where serendipitous networking and conversations can occur. The weather has been cooperative, staying at a tolerable 90-100° F.
I think I’ve seen and talked to a wider variety of people this year than I have in the past several years. I’m not caught up in running around with my friends at every break. Attendees pass each other along the walkways, stop for a chat by the pool, and gather outside to warm up between sessions in the air conditioned rooms. The sense of community that I felt at my first NASIG conference on the William & Mary campus has been revived a little.
Oh, and it goes without saying that the sessions this year have been excellent.