9 Tips for Attending General Assembly


Victoria Fleming, Region VI SAC & Holly Weller, Region IV-E SAC

October 17, 2017

General Assembly is right around the corner, and right now all the perpare can be a very stressful time for your peer group (as among other things). As SAC representatives, we understand that you may not even know where to start when it comes to General Assembly. So we decided to come up with a list of tips to help wrap your brain around getting out to Colorado in November. And keep in mind, a lot of these tips come from some experience, so don’t take them too lightly.

1. Don’t stay only in your Peer Education group, explore other schools. No comfort zone!

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Exploring a new place can be nerve-wracking, especially since you might already be experiencing a new state. But have no fear, this is the best time to network and make connections. Everyone at this conference is feeling the same way you are, so let’s be awkward together!

2. Make sure to write down ideas you like to bring back to your campus, bring notebooks and pens.

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Sure this isn’t lecture hall, but trust us, you’re gonna wanna take notes. Imagine you meet another peer group, or attend a really awesome program, and then when you get home, pfffft. Brain fart. That really awesome program is a vague memory. Something with exercise… or was it condoms? Wait no that was a different one… (Please don’t let this be you). A notebook, some pens, and maybe a bag to carry it in will do just fine.


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Believe it or not, there is a way to map out your entire conference schedule before you even show up to General Assembly! You can do it through an app! First you’ll need to download the NASPA Mobile App. Once you do that you’ll search for BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA General Assembly 2017. From there you’ll be able to read through all the available sessions, make your own schedule, and even set reminders! You should be able to do this at least a week before the conference. Be sure to check the GA website to know for sure!

4. Take time when you need it. NO. FOMO.

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You want to be engaged at the events that you are attending, and let’s be honest you can’t do that when your stomach is growling like you just had three back to back lectures and forgot snacks. The truth is, you won’t get to see every program. And that’s okay! You just need to figure out what programs are most beneficial to you and your peer group. You guys could even divide and conquer! If you need help prioritizing, please see tip #3. (And for the unaware, FOMO = Fear of Missing Out).

5. Things to Bring:

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Keep in mind you’re coming to Denver Colorado which has a base altitude of 5,280ft (exactly one mile above sea level, they have a cute little chant you’ll hear). It is more crucial than ever that you PLEASE DRINK WATER! Water will be provided of course, but it doesn’t hurt to bring your own refillable bottle. Hydration is everything. Other things you will need include:

    1. Snacks (Something light for while you’re in programs)

    2. Toiletries (Forgot? Hotel can help cover you)

    3. LAYERS (It will be cold, another Colorado thing)

    4. Comfortable Walking Shoes (Foot Pain = Horrible Trip)

    5. Anything else your heart desires (Just make sure it’s in line with Conference Policies)

6. Finish school work and other responsibilities prior to the best of your abilities.

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You won’t have much down time, and you will be very engaged for most of the conference. So don’t try to write your Communications 100 speech on flight there, or think that you wanna wind down in the hotel by working on some math homework. Before General Assembly you’ll be excited, and after General Assembly you will be TIRED. So I’ll give you a peek into your future, it will not get done. And this is coming from experience. So please try to plan accordingly!

7. Remember to network.

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Networking is your greatest tool for bringing things back to campus. Say you find a program at General Assembly you really like, but when you attempt the program at your own you get stuck. Guess who would be the best person to contact? Oh I don’t know, maybe the place you got the idea from would be a good start. And don’t forget, it can never hurt to get your peer group name out there. (Shameless Plug: Networking Blog to be released later this month by SAC Region IV - E Alyssa).

8. What should I wear? What is business casual?

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Business casual is different depending on where you live, so we’ll clear it up for you now. You don’t want to come in those pajamas that you show up to 8am lecture in, but you don’t need a full blown suit either. If your peer group has a shirt, you could wear that with a nice pair of pants and some comfortable shoes. Then for another outfit you could have a nice button down shirt with some clean pants and you’re good to go! And sometimes, it’s just easier to figure out what not to bring. A good rule of thumb? If you wouldn’t wear it to an interview, don’t wear it to General Assembly. Remember you’ll be running around from session to session, so all you fashion forward trendsetters, don’t wear heels unless you’re a professional.

9. Have an open mind, it will be your most important tool.

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Try to use General Assembly as rekindling for your fire to bring some life back into your peer group. As much as we all love our peer groups, face it, we all get tired. Having students constantly on you and continually always having to meet deadlines every week to push programs out, it gets tough. So take this experience as time to remember why you joined your peer group in the first place. And as always, have a fun time. This truly is a unique experience that many students aren’t able attend, so soak it all up!

What are you most excited about for General Assembly? Use the #BACCHUSGA17 on FaceBook or Twitter!

And for any other questions, check out our FAQ!

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