The Sigma Tau Delta 2021 Virtual Convention is fast approaching and we are looking forward to seeing everyone after having to cancel last year’s event in Las Vegas. However, many members continue to question why they should attend a virtual convention. What would a virtual convention consist of? What would I get out of it? Do I really want to pay money to spend even more time on Zoom? Today we’d like to answer some of these questions and show you why you should attend convention!
What Will the Convention Include?
- Roundtable Sessions: The heart of the Virtual Convention will be our Roundtable sessions. Roundtable sessions will consist of two parts: a pre-recorded presentation from the roundtable panel and a live Q & A where attendees will be able to engage with the panel much as they would at a face-to-face convention. Roundtable sessions this year span a wide variety of topics, including diversity in the classroom, academia, and literature; pop culture; gender and sexuality; literary classics; and the value of an English degree. Come engage with peers from outside your school on topics both familiar and new.
- Featured Speakers: One of the highlights of any Sigma Tau Delta convention is the opportunity to hear our Featured Speakers talk about their writing. In planning this year’s fully online convention we were determined to retain this key component of our event. Attendees of the 2021 Virtual Convention will have the pleasure of participating in two Featured Speaker presentations.
By now, hopefully many of you are familiar with our 2021 Common Reader author: Karen Auvinen. Auvinen is an award-winning poet, mountain woman, life-long Westerner, writer, and the author of our common reader, the memoir Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living, chosen as a Top 10 Book of June 2018 by The Christian Science Monitor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, LitHub, Real Simple, Westword, as well as numerous literary journals.
Michael Branch is a writer, humorist, environmentalist, father, and desert rat who lives with his wife and two young daughters in the western Great Basin Desert. His work includes nine published books, one of which is the Pulitzer Prize-nominated John Muir’s Last Journey: South to the Amazon and East to Africa.
- Networking: One of the most valuable aspects of attending any convention is the networking opportunities. At the Virtual Convention attendees will have the ability to connect with each other in a number of different ways. In addition to engaging with each other during roundtable Q & A sessions and various social activities, networking sessions for each of our six regions will also take place on Friday afternoon. Regents and Student Representatives will address their region and lead discussions on regional events and opportunities. An alumni networking session led by the Alumni Representative will also take place on Friday afternoon for members to learn about staying engaged with the Society after graduation.
- Social Events: The Student Leadership Committee is hosting two social events during the Virtual Convention. Join us on Thursday evening as we kick off convention with a welcome from Convention Co-Chairs Glen Brewster and Lexey Bartlett followed by breakouts for games and ice-breakers. On Friday evening join us for a virtual literary-themed, pub-style trivia night! Play as a team of up to 6, either by gathering a group of fellow chapter members or making some new friends by playing on a randomly-generated team. The winning team will walk away with amazing prizes!
Advantages of a Virtual Convention
In this time of change and upheaval it’s easy to fixate on how things are different and what we are missing out on. And while we will all miss being able to come together face-to-face in Denver this year as we were supposed to, hosting a virtual convention instead does offer some unique advantages.
- Accessibility: Perhaps your chapter has never been able to travel across country to attend a Sigma Tau Delta convention before. At a time when school budgets are being cut left and right, acquiring funding for a school group to travel can prove difficult. And between traveling to the convention city, lodging expenses, and dining, attending a traditional face-to-face convention can quickly become prohibitively expensive for many. Hosting a virtual event offers many chapters and members the opportunity to attend a Sigma Tau Delta convention for the first time.
- Affordable Registration Fees: While Sigma Tau Delta does everything in our power to keep convention registration reasonable for all of our attendees, without the burden of hotel conference center expenses we are able to offer attendees a drastically reduced registration cost for the virtual convention. Register to attend by March 22.
- Comfort & Convenience: Don a Zoom shirt, your comfiest pajama bottoms, and some fluffy slippers and you are ready to attend the 2021 Convention! A busy school or work schedule won’t necessarily prevent you from enjoying a virtual convention. All session recordings will be available to registered attendees for 90 days following the event, so if you miss a session you really wanted to attend—either because of a work or class conflict or because two sessions you were interested in happened at the same time—you will be able to watch that missed session later at your leisure. A virtual event also allows you to easily attend sessions as you are able around your schedule.
- Shop English Discount: As a final incentive, all registered convention attendees will be eligible for at 15% discount at our merchandise store, Shop English.