The 2015 Conference in Durham & Future Conferences
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2015 13:27:57 -0700 (PDT)
(I figure that subject line will search well in the archives!)

I loved the conference. The best I’ve been to in a long time. Ditto all the 
things Ann said. Good food, good space, nice organization, wonderful 
presentations, a good location with alternative housing and restaurants, close 
to several cohousing communities. 

I liked being in a hotel. It was more lively than being on a deserted college 
campus. The campuses are less expensive but also less lively and comfortable. 
In Denver for example everything closed at 5:00 and you couldn’t get a soda or 
a snack except by going off campus. Without a car, that was no easy for 

The Marriott was directly connected to the Civic Center that was designed for 
meetings — large and small. And for meals. The cost of $125 a night for a 
single is very inexpensive compared to DC, New England, California, etc. 

My suggestion is that find a similar place west of the 
Mississippi, and alternate between it and Durham. it is much easier to plan a 
conference in a familiar hotel and reservations and planning need to happen 2 
years in advance. Conference planning is much easier in a repeat location 
because the staff knows your group won’t trash the rooms or cause trouble in 
the bar. Or smoke where they aren’t supposed to. And the planning committee 
knows the location — what works and what doesn’t.

It’s also much easier to attend a conference in a place you’ve been before. It 
takes time to locate services and learn the in and outs of a location. I paid 
for internet service in the Marriott, for example, only to find that it didn’t 
work right next door in the civic center. Our wireless's at Takoma Village go 
that far! Then I discovered there was free wireless in the Civic Center. And I 
now know where all the meeting rooms are. A big help.

Alternating locations all over the place sounds like it is meeting the needs of 
everyone but a conference spot can never be satisfactory for everyone. Better 
to focus on arranging group travel plans to a good location. Moving the 
conference itself creates a lot of work and you start with inexperience every 

With internet connections the planning work can be spread out so each location 
doesn’t have to be overwhelmed.

Just an idea based on too much experience.

Sharon Villines, Washington DC

"The story of history is the story of organization."

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