Here are some practical tips to help make your conference be a smooth and positive experience:
1. Checking In: Checking in on Thursday morning can be overwhelming when there are several thousand people around. Here are some bits of advice to avoid missing the opening keynote session – and you don’t want to miss Sir Ken Robinson!:
- If you come into Detroit Wednesday prior to 5pm, go to registration then instead of waiting until Thursday morning
- If you come into Detroit Thursday morning, registration opens at 7 am…getting there earlier avoids the last minute rush right before the keynote
- Again this year there will be “self-check” registration where you check in at a computer, then proceed to where your badge is printed out
2. Getting Help: There are over 100 volunteers (including myself!) available to help you if you have questions during the conference. If you are unsure of anything, please ask. Ways you can identify people that can help:
- People carrying around “Ask Me” signs
- People wearing shirts that have the MACUL logo on them – on Thursday most of the MACUL leadership team will even be wearing blue MACUL shirts
- People with lots of ribbons attached to their name badges (not all of these people are official volunteers – but they probably have the experience to direct you to the right place)
3. Staying Hydrated: make sure you stay hydrated! There are several fountains and water coolers provided throughout the venue to get water – bring along a refillable cup/mug and keep filling it all day instead of purchasing expensive bottles of water
4. Getting Around Town: There are three ways most people attending the conference use to get around town –
Walking: Many people walk between their hotels and COBO. If you are attending by yourself, you should easily be able to find a group to join between popular locations – just let them know you are heading in the same direction and I am sure they will welcome you. You might do some of your best networking during these walks!
Detroit People Mover: There is a stop to the People Mover right within COBO (there are signs – it is on an upper floor at the tip of the “L” furthest from the river). Using the People Mover can get you directly to the Courtyard Marriott or RenCen, and very close to the Holiday Inn and Atheneum. It also can get you to locations with great food if you are looking for dinner – Greektown & Bricktown for some unique dining experiences, or Broadway for more of the “sporting event” eateries. Rides are 75¢ each. (Note: Grand Circus which is near the stadiums is currently closed for renovations.)
Shuttles: Some of the local hotels also offer shuttle service (the Atheneum and Holiday Inn being two). Be sure to ask at the front desk when checking in about their hours of operation if this is a service you plan on using.
5. Food Nearby: do the lines look pretty long, or do you need dietary options not offered within COBO? There are many nearby restaurants and bars within a few blocks walk of Cobo – many of these are used to handling a large lunch crowd and move people through quickly, but do require you leaving Cobo.
Would you like more information on preparing for the conference? Check out my #MACUL17 tipsheets:
- Tipsheet #1 contains information about hydration, food considerations and special happenings at the conference.
- Tipsheet #2 contains information about planning for your conference – the conference app, speakers, session information.
- Tipsheet #3 contains information about registration, getting help, networking, and wearing comfortable shoes!
- Tipsheet #4 contains information about getting around COBO and getting around downtown Detroit, along with the special events going on at the conference